Emerging Fremantle forward Sam Sturt appears on track for a return from injury early this season after impressing senior coach Justin Longmuir at training on Saturday.

The session at Optus Stadium was Sturt’s return to the main group after injuring his ankle at training during half way through the 2020 season.

Longmuir expects the 20-year-old to be an important addition to the starting 22 when fully fit.

“Sturty joined full training (on Saturday) for the first time and ran out most of the session,” Longmuir told 6PR.

“He’s probably one that people have forgotten about a little bit but I see him as being a vital part of the forward line through the years to come.

“He can play out of the goal square and also up high. He gives us a marking target and is really good at ground level as well for someone his size.

“The ankle injury hung around for a lot longer than we anticipated and he seems to be on top of it.

“He trained really well and he looks really fit. Fingers crossed he can get a good run at it.”

Longmuir said that ruck Sean Darcy (knee) could still be available in round one against Melbourne on Saturday while forward Michael Walters (hamstring) could be back as early as round two against GWS.

“(Sean’s) not ruled out. He trained really well (on Saturday) and he’s moving very well,” Longmuir said.

“If it’s not round one it will be round two, so that’s pretty pleasing as well.

“I’m pretty confident (Walters will return in) round two. He’s had these injuries in the past and he’s got over them pretty quickly.

“He’s a pretty good judge of his body so to see him out there already running around and kicking is really positive. We expect him to only miss the one game at this stage.”

Longmuir said even if Darcy plays round one fellow ruck Lloyd Meek was still a chance to debut.

“I can see (Fremantle playing two rucks), we’ve got to just make sure that we get the balance of the team right,” Longmuir said.

“They’ll have to play forward and ruck … we feel like they’ve done a lot of work in both those areas. Sean actually played a fair bit of forward time last year for us with the flips he does with Rory Lobb and we’re really pleased with his ability to hit the scoreboard at times.

“We’ll look at all options and sit down as a match committee and finally sort it all out and give Melbourne all we’ve got.”