New Fremantle rookie Lee Spurr’s story is one of genuine persistence.

Spurr was on the verge of leaving SANFL powerhouse Central District four years ago to return home to Brisbane, but opted to stay and work on several key aspects of his game that the coaches had identified as areas needing improvement.

They included increasing his speed and adding intensity to his attack on the ball.

The result was a key role in Central’s continued dominance of the SANFL and, eventually, a shot at the big time after Fremantle selected Spurr with pick eight in Tuesday’s rookie draft.

“He’s just very committed and very focused on what he wants to do,” seven-times Central premiership coach Roy Laird said.

“About four years ago he was looking to leave our footy club and go back to Brisbane and at the time we had identified some areas he needed to improve.

“He embraced all of that and went away and worked as hard as anyone in our footy club.”

Laird described Spurr as a versatile and courageous defender who is a strong overhead mark for his 185cm.

He said the 24-year-old dual premiership player had been a “critical” part of the Bulldogs team that won four consecutive flags from 2007-10 before losing to Woodville-West Torrens in this year’s grand final.

Able to move forward and have an impact on the scoreboard, Spurr has also shone more recently in the midfield at critical times.

“When we’ve got into trouble, we’ve been able to move him around and invariably when we’ve sent him forward, he kicks a goal,” Laird said.

Laird said Spurr was more than capable of following in the footsteps of Nick Duigan (Carlton), Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn) and new Fremantle teammate Nick Lower to have an immediate impact at the top level after being plucked from the SANFL as a mature-age player.

“He’d more than hold his own,” Laird said. “He’s an exceptional mark for his size and that would be his real strength.”

Dockers defender Nick Suban yesterday agreed to a two-year contract extension.

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