Emerging defender Tobe Watson was thrilled to sign a rookie contract for the 2021 season as he looks to grow as a part of Freo’s exciting defensive group.
Drafted by Fremantle in the 2018 Rookie Draft, Watson played three games in 2020 after breaking through for his debut against Geelong in round eight.
He described the experience of playing AFL for the first time as the best moment of his life and the 22-year-old is hungry to gain more experience at the top level.
“To get this contract signed for next year means the world to me,” Watson said.
“I’m really positive about the future and I think next year is going to be a huge step up. I’m hoping that we’ll be playing a bit of finals footy and to be a part of that is really exciting.”
Watson feels he’s developed a close relationship with the backline group, which has made fitting in easy both on and off the field.
He’s especially close with fellow defender Griffin Logue, who was his teammate when they played school football together at Guildford Grammar and in the WAFL with Swan Districts.
“Obviously being really close with Griffin and being school mates, I can just go and see him and have a chat about things,” Watson said.
“Even if it’s on field or off field, we’re always really close-knit mates and I’m loving the fact that he’s at the club with me.
“We’ve also got some good experienced guys down back like Luke Ryan and Nathan Wilson. They’re really good at directing us and just letting young guys like myself know where to go out there.
“It makes my life a whole lot easier because I’m not always worried about where I’m going, they’re always helping me out. It helps me to play my natural game of footy and play off instinct.”
Watson said the biggest influence on his AFL career to date has been senior coach Justin Longmuir.
“I seem to get along with him really well. We have similar personalities, we seem to click and I’m just going to him and trying to be like a sponge and ask him questions all the time,” Watson said.
“He was a backline coach at Collingwood and he’s got a lot of experience, so I’m just trying to use him as much as possible.”
Fremantle head of player personnel David Walls said Watson had grown significantly since he was drafted in 2018.
“Tobe has agreed to go onto the rookie list for a one-year extension,” Walls said.
“He played three games this season and showed that he is comfortable at AFL level. He’s worked really hard and he’s been one of our most improved players since Justin Longmuir came in as senior coach.
“His improvement is a by-product of his attitude and his desire to get better. He can play on talls and smalls, which also gives us some flexibility.”