Five new recruits dock at Freo
The Fremantle Dockers have continued the club’s youth policy by adding five teenagers to its list at tonight’s NAB AFL National Draft at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
Fremantle was one of only three clubs with three picks under 30, including two in the first round, which were used to secure Victorians Thomas Sheridan (pick 16) and Hayden Crozier (pick 20).
They were followed by South Australian trio Alex Forster (pick 29), Lachie Neale (pick 58) and Cam Sutcliffe (pick 71).
Sheridan, an 18-year-old midfielder, has had a very consistent year, coming second in the Calder Cannons best and fairest despite missing games for his Vic Metro championship commitments.
The 185cm youngster plays as a running midfielder/wingman. His main strength is his endurance.
He is a very smart footballer with extremely clean and quick hands. Sheridan averaged 24.4 touches a game, 4.7 tackles, 3.8 clearances and four marks per game at TAC level.
Fremantle general manager of player management Brad Lloyd said Sheridan would take time to develop but would eventually fit well into Freo’s midfield group.
“Tom comes in as an elite endurance runner,” Lloyd said.
“He’s really clean, uses the ball well and has good composure.”
Crozier, who turns 18 next month, was a standout at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, recording the second best result in the running vertical jump test at 91cm.
He represented Vic Metro at the NAB AFL U18 Championships, playing in all five games. The 185cm midfielder can take a great mark, which was highlighted at Patersons Stadium when he took a spectacular grab against WA.
Crozier kicked eight goals during the championships. He is very well balanced and a beautiful kick of the footy on his preferred left side. He averaged 18.7 disposals for the Ranges this year at 67.4 per cent efficiency.
“Hayden has outstanding speed and a very good jump,” Lloyd said.
“He’ll come in as a half-forward/midfielder. He’s a really nice size at 185cm and he’s still growing.”
Forster has had a good year playing eight reserves and five League games for Norwood. He was vice captain of the SA state U18s team this year, where he played all five championship games and won All-Australian selection.
The 189cm 18-year-old is played mainly as a third tall defender and freed up as often as possible to use his elite kicking skills and ability to read the play very well.
“Alex is a tall defender who has got an elite kicking ability,” Lloyd said.
“He was all Australian in the under 18 championships and he’ll come in with really good leadership skills as well.”
Neale, 18, has had an outstanding season. He dominated U18 footy for Glenelg and played the last seven games in the League side, where he had a real impact.
The 177cm youngster is an inside midfielder who can play forward and apply terrific pressure. He is tough and wins contested footy, has an enormous work rate and a desire to get the footy.
His clean hands and quick handballs are elite. The South Australian averaged 31.3 disposals, 5.6 marks, 5.1 inside 50s and 6.4 clearances per game at U18 level.
“Lachie’s a small midfielder and a really good stoppage player,” Lloyd said.
“He played a fair bit of senior footy last year and held himself really well at that level.”
Sutcliffe, 17, has been playing for Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL. He played nine League and 12 reserves games this year.
He is a balanced running midfielder with an exceptional work rate. The 187cm South Australian reads the game very well and is good at the stoppages with his hands.
He averaged 19.6 disposals a game at SANFL Reserves level and tested exceptionally across the board at the state combine.
“Cam is a tall midfielder who has really good running ability,” he said.
Lloyd said Fremantle was delighted with the five players it had secured in the Draft.
“We’ve continued with our list manegement strategy of recruiting the best available talent via the National Draft,” he said.
“All five of our draftees have really good endurance and they’re all nice sizes. They all have really strong character, so they will fit in well at Fremantle.
“We are really happy with how things panned out.”
Arrangements are already in place for the five new Freo Dockers to be at the club next week.