Fremantle have signed Luke Valente for a further two years as the untried midfielder pushes to make his debut at AFL level.

The 20-year-old has struggled to break into the team since he was drafted at no.32 in the 2018 NAB AFL National Draft. He battled a groin injury in 2019 and was kept out of the team in 2020 due to the form of Freo’s deep midfield, which includes fellow young midfielders Adam Cerra, Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong.

Valente shone in his draft year, captaining South Australia to the NAB AFL U18 Championship, winning SA’s MVP award and being named vice captain of the All Australian side.

Despite a tough season with only a handful of scratch matches to get game minutes in, Valente feels he’s steadily building to what he hopes will be a debut in 2021.

“I’m very excited and just grateful for the opportunity the club’s given me,” Valente said. 

“I’ve loved my first couple of years at Fremantle and I’m really excited to be on board for another couple as well.”

02:17 Mins
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'I'm very excited and just grateful for the opportunity' | Valente

Fremantle have signed Luke Valente for a further two years as the untried midfielder pushes to make his debut at AFL level.

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 Most importantly, Valente feels his injury troubles are behind him as he looks ahead to what he hopes will be his first full pre-season.

“I feel like I’ve definitely come a long way from this time last year,” Valente said.

“I haven’t been able to crack the side yet as the boys have been playing some really good footy but I think it’s heading in the right direction.

“I think I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my body over the last couple of years. I’m really looking forward to this pre-season, which is going to be massive for me as I haven’t really had one at the club yet.”

While Valente is yet to run out alongside his teammates at AFL level, he feels he’s growing within the midfield group at training.

“All the boys get along really well because we’re such a young group, everyone is pretty tight,” Valente said.  

“When we came back from the Covid shutdown, Nat Fyfe was huge for me, just to be able to play on him and learn off him with his approach on field in the contests and also off the field.  

“I live with Andy Brayshaw and get along well with Cez (Cerra) and those guys, we’re always trying to work on our game together.”

Fremantle head of player personnel David Walls can see Valente growing rapidly in the coming years. 

“Luke’s probably had as hard of an introduction to AFL life as anyone, he’s had a wretched run with injury and getting his body right,” Walls said. 

“He’s worked incredibly hard, he’s impressed enormously with his attitude and his leadership around the group and he was close to selection this year.

“He hasn’t had a full pre-season yet and that’s what he really needs to grow. 

“We’re really excited about what Luke can bring to the team with his ball use, his composure. He’s a big body and he’s tough. 

“After a big pre-season we hope to see a lot of Luke next year and the years to come.”

00:39 Mins
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House Footy Challenge | Luke Valente

Luke Valente accepts his nomination and takes on a staircase trickshot in the latest House Footy Challenge. Adam Cerra, you're up next!

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