Fremantle’s round one NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Sam Sturt said he really felt the support of the Freo fans this week after an outstanding three-goal performance on debut.
The 19-year-old was one of Fremantle’s best as he helped drive Freo in a final quarter push that fell six-points short against Essendon at Marvel Stadium.
The AFL had held off on announcing a nominee on Monday, when it usually reveals the honour, as it and its clubs underwent significant structural change as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Sturt said he was aware of the Freo fans campaigning for his nomination in that time.
“I definitely did notice that! They’re a big support and everything they do does get noticed,” Sturt said.
“It’s an honour. It’s amazing. I really appreciate it.
“It’s not something that I was immediately thinking about (post-game) but it’s something that I thought would have been nice.
“It’s nice to get and it’s a good reward. I’ve had a quick reflection on the day and I was fairly happy with the performance, but overall, it’s still a bit disappointing that the we didn’t get over the line.”Sturt was told of the nomination via a phone call from a delighted Justin Longmuir.
“He was thrilled for me,” Sturt said.
“He said to continue with the work you put in and take this break as an opportunity to come back as a better player, to just work hard and that he’d see me soon."
Sturt is back with family in Victoria and has already commenced his training program for the leave period.
“I did a session today, did some Pilates in the morning and had a kick on the oval working with a mate from back home.
“Everything is going as planned.
“It’s a huge opportunity to get the most out of this horrible situation and I’m really trying to get a competitive advantage over this break.
“I feel like if I work hard and do everything that I can, I’ll get back playing.
“(The nomination) is a great motivation. I want to come back and put in a similar performance and show that this wasn’t just a one-time thing.”