Fremantle have significantly boosted their list profile by adding six new players through the NAB AFL Draft period, according to general manager of football Peter Bell.
Freo addressed their needs at the National Draft by adding medium forward Sam Sturt at no.17, inside midfielder Luke Valente at no.32, pressure forward Luke Schultz at no.57 and running midfielder Brett Bewley at no.59.
Fremantle also secured running defender Tobe Watson from Swan Districts with pick no.22 in the Rookie Draft and added Jason Carter as a category B rookie.
Additionally, Ethan Hughes and Ryan Nyhuis were re-selected by Fremantle in the rookie draft.
“We’ve selected a variety of players in the National Draft,” Bell said.
“We have Sam’s athleticism, he can be that third tall forward who has a lot of power behind him.
“We have a mature age midfielder in Bewley, who’s an elite runner, a general forward/midfielder in Lachlan Schultz and a quality midfielder with terrific leadership qualities in Luke Valente.
"Overall, we’re very pleased.”
After taking Sturt on Thursday night in the draft's opening round, Fremantle started Friday with picks 31, 43 and 59.
Bell said Valente was also on Freo’s radar for that first round pick - so when the midfielder remained available well into the second round - Bell said the recruiting team made a move to ensure the talented midfielder also headed to Freo.
The result was a pick swap with the Western Bulldogs that moved Fremantle up four places in the second-round while swapping third-round picks.
“When we realised that Luke was still available, we wanted to get as far up the order as we possibly could,” Bell said.
“With the third-round pick that we had, swapping 41 for something back in the fifties, we thought that we would still get the players we wanted with that pick.
“So our priority was to go further up the order in the second round and that ultimately resulted in selecting Luke.”
Bell said it was a coincidence that Fremantle selected two players from Williamstown with picks 57 and 59, but was delighted to add mature aged talent to the list.
Fremantle will head into the 2019 season with only four players aged 28 or older, with Schultz and Bewley adding some important experience against senior footballers to Fremantle’s younger ranks.
“Williamstown were a very successful team this season, they lost by a point in the preliminary final," Bell said.
“Lachie’s a small forward with a good set of hands. He puts on really good defensive pressure but we also think he can run up and pinch hit in the midfield as well. He’s creative around stoppages and is a real goer.
“Brett has been playing a lot of senior footy in the midfield. He’s an elite runner who broke Andrew Brayshaw’s yo-yo record at the combine.
"He’s got good speed as well, sub three seconds for the 20 metres, and is a long kick of the football. We think he’ll be really suited to our midfield.
“From an age perspective, we’ve added a bit more experience. We are very young, and that’s all about our plan that we went into in 2016.
"We’re hoping that the guys really develop their games and we’re very confident that they all have something to offer.”
Bell added that he was happy with Fremantle’s selections in the rookie draft.
“We’re really pleased to be able to add Tobe Watson,” Bell said.
“He’s a mature aged pick at 20-years-old, he’s played a lot of senior footy for Swan Districts across halfback, he’s a good runner and we like his competitiveness.
“We’re also pleased we were able to redraft Ethan Hughes and Ryan Nyhuis.
“They’re players that our fans will know well, they’re outstanding people and were thrilled to be able to deliver with our commitment to redraft them onto our list.”
In Carter, Fremantle have secured their first product from their Next Generation Academy.
“Our NGA coach Tendai Mzungu has done a great job and Jason will get his opportunities to prove himself,” Bell said.
“He’s exceptionally quick and he’s really developed. We’re very confident, that with continued hard work, Jason can make an impression at the club.”
In total, Fremantle have brought in 10 new players this off-season, combined with 12 new players in 2017 and 10 new players in 2016.
There are only 14 players on Fremantle’s 2019 list that were at the club in 2016, the fewest of any in the AFL
“It’s an enormous amount of players to turnover in three years,” Bell said.
“That’s what we set out to do, to really revamp the list and get in some youth through the draft and bring in some targeted recruits.
“I think we’ve been able to deliver on that strategy but there’s a lot of work to be done from here.”