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Fremantle legend Matthew Pavlich said it was time to see the no.29 back on the Fremantle list and was delighted to hand the jumper to fellow South Australian Luke Valente.
Pavlich was at the club on Wednesday to present Fremantle jumpers to Freo’s 2018 draft class, including Valente, Sam Sturt, Lachie Schultz, Brett Bewley, Tobe Watson and Jason Carter.
Valente, who was selected with pick no.32 in the 2018 NAB AFL National Draft, shares a similar background to Pavlich as a fellow captain of the South Australian U18 team.
“I’m thrilled that the jumper’s back out there,” Pavlich said.
“Luke has a tremendous character from what I can hear. State under 18 captain like I was, he was school captain, vice captain of the All Australian team and had a fabulous U18 championships.
“He seems like a really great character and an appropriate person to continue that tradition.”
Pavlich stressed that the only expectations on someone carrying on the legacy of the no.29 was to put in their best effort.
“The most important thing is that he gives it his all and he tries his utmost to be a really good player and a really good person as well,” Pavlich said.
“I think the things that I valued during my career, both on and off the field, hopefully, permeated throughout the club. When you leave, all you can do is leave a legacy.
“However long Luke’s journey is, and however that goes, all he can do is give it his utmost and that’s all you can ask of anyone.”
Pavich was one of the proponents of bringing back the no.29 despite calls for the jumper to be retired in his honour.
“The club, out of respect at the end of 2016, said that they were going to rest the jumper for 12 months, which was a really nice touch and it’s something that I valued a lot,” Pavlich said.
“I don’t own the jumper, it’s not mine, it’s the club’s and we’re all just passing through the doors.
“I was adamant in our discussions that it was time to get it back out there. It’s not mine and Luke’s a very worthy person to wear it.”
Velente said he felt privileged to wear the jumper and would work hard to make it his own.
“I’m very honoured. Obviously, ‘Pav’ being a champion of this club and being a South Australian and a champion of the AFL, he’s someone that I’ve looked up to a fair bit,” Valente said.
“I think what he’s been able to achieve at the club and in the AFL as a whole, it’s an absolute honour to pull on the jumper.
“Maybe there’s pressure from the outside but I think I’ll be keen to put my own mark on the number as well and take what Pav’s done and, hopefully, create my own legacy.”