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Fremantly Football Club

New Dockers want to make instant impact

Follow our draftees' journey to Perth Starting from the moment their names were called out to touching down in Perth and having dinner at Aaron Sandilands' house. See everything the boys have done with Freo this weekend.

Fremantle’s 2018 draft class have set the sky as the limit for their debut season at their new club, with the group of six all targeting a debut in their first year in the AFL system.

Freo unveiled new draftees Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachie Schultz, Brett Bewley, Tobe Watson and Jason Carter to the media during their first day at the club on Monday.

Sturt, who was Fremantle’s first selection at no.17, may have the most work to do to get ready to compete at AFL level, but the talented forward isn’t fazed by the road ahead. 

“If you go into a season not thinking you’ll play, you’re not going to put in the effort that’s required,” Sturt said.

“If I’m ready by round one, hopefully, I can play.

“I’ll be working on my endurance and building my body. I have a bit of a lighter frame so I’m going to have to put a bit of muscle on.”

Valente, Fremantle’s pick at no.32, has been touted as a player more likely to be able to step into the lineup thanks to his 82kg frame.

The midfielder remains hopeful of his 2019 prospects despite a potential restricted start to his preparations.

“I had a knee injury in the back half of last year, so we’ll see how we go to start pre-season,” Valente said.

“My goal now is to work hard so, hopefully, I can put in a good pre-season and I think anything is possible after that.”

Fremantle’s trio of mature age recruits in Schultz, Bewley and Watson are all hoping to push for a spot come the start of the 2019 season.

At 23, Bewley is the oldest of the draft class and hopes he will have the chance to show what he can do early in the season.

“I think my body’s ready to go,” Bewley said.

“I believe that I have the ability to step up to the next level and I hope Fremantle think that as well, they wouldn’t have picked me if they didn’t think I could make the next step.”

Schultz, 20, hopes his versatility will help him break into the team.

“At the moment, my best position is a forward but at the same time I can develop myself into what I need to be for Fremantle,” Schultz said.

“I have also played a bit of midfield and I pride myself on that game as well.

“I want to break straight into the side, just as all of these boys do. I’ll take whatever spot is available.”

Watson is confident he can transition quickly to the AFL after a full year at league level in the WAFL for Swan Districts.

“I’ve been told growing up that I needed to put a bit of meat onto my body to make it to the next level and I think that’s what I’ve done and it’s why I’m at Fremantle at the moment,” Watson said. 

“In the last year, I’ve put a high emphasis on the gym and putting a bit of size.

“I’m around 84kg now which I’m happy with, but I still realise there’s a long way to go.

“I was mid-seventies twelve months ago. I’ve been eating a lot of food and spending a lot of time in the gym.

“I want to get to a size where I feel really confident running out and playing good football.”

The rookie-listed Watson said he had taken inspiration from Bailey Banfield, who played 20 games in his debut season at Fremantle from the rookie list.

“(Rookie-listed players) have the same opportunities now, it’s not like the old days where you had to get elevated,” Watson said. 

“I think I’ve got the same chance as everyone else here so I’m going to put in just as much work as everyone else to get a game.”

As a category B rookie, Carter will require a teammate to be moved to the long-term injury list to be eligible for selection.

This pre-season, he hopes to learn from Fremantle’s running midfielders as he looks to build on his athletic abilities.

“I’d say I’ll have to work on my craftwork and ball handling as the athletic side just comes naturally to me,” Carter said. 

“It’s more around my position that I play in the field. 

“Guys like Bradley Hill and Ed Langdon, I’d like to pick their brains on how they move around the field and getting able to watch them train today was really exciting. I can’t wait to get out there.”

See all of Fremantle's new draftees and new recruits - including Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb - at the club's Annual Members' Meeting on Tuesday 27 November at Optus Stadium.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs