Jeremy Sharp celebrates a goal during Fremantle's clash against Richmond in round eight, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WALYALUP recruit Jeremy Sharp was making his debut for Gold Coast at a near empty People First Stadium in 2020 when an experienced wingman he looked up to taught him a lesson as an 18-year-old about the role he wanted to excel in. 

Euro-Yroke star and premiership wingman Bradley Hill made an impression on Sharp, who four years later has been one of the recruits of the season since crossing from the Suns at no cost as a pre-season supplemental selection.

Having played every game this season as a valuable, hard-running wingman himself, Sharp still remembers the lessons he learned from Hill, with Saturday night's clash against Euro-Yroke presenting him the chance to "get one back" on the slick Saint he has admired from afar.

"These are the opportunities you love to take, and to be up against him this weekend is going to be good fun," Sharp told this week.

"He's obviously a quality player and someone I've really looked up to. I played on him in my debut match and he really showed me up, so I'd love to get one back on him this weekend.

"I just remember him being super quick across the floor, and he just tested me both ways as well, so I'll certainly have to be on my toes this week. I can't wait to play against him.

"His repeat efforts, his speed across the ground and his ball use are something you look at from afar and think 'wow', so I'd love to be half the player he is and a lot of what he does is what I'm trying to do."

Jeremy Sharp in action during the match between West Coast and Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

A feature of Sharp's season has been the powerful running up and down the wing that has persisted regardless of whether it is being rewarded with possessions, with the wingman averaging 18.4 disposals amid big fluctuations week-to-week.

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In round seven against the Western Bulldogs, for example, he ran a game-high 16km for just nine disposals as the ball constantly bypassed him, while last Saturday night his 14.3km was rewarded with 28 touches and two goals.


The former Gold Coast wingman is playing a role that is highly valued at Walyalup, however, and he has learned quickly not to judge his games on possessions or goals. 

"It's a demanding position on the body, and some weeks you'll have 30 and then some weeks you'll have 10," Sharp said. 

"So I think I've sort of accepted that and the coaches know that I'll be doing my reps out there and be staying disciplined within my role. 

"It's a hard role to play and JL (coach Justin Longmuir) is really backing me in and giving me a lot of confidence to perform and do my thing. I'm building a lot of trust in the group, and I think I'm executing my role well."

A wingman like Sharp who holds his width in the Dockers' structure can be at the mercy of conditions, style of play, opposition tactics, and how much respect an opponent pays to him. 

Being alert and ready to take his chances is therefore a focus for Sharp, and Saturday night's clash against Sydney provided two opportunities late as the wingman slotted impressive long-range goals.


"I think it's just important that whatever game gets thrown at you to just stay disciplined within your role, then when that opportunity does come you just take that moment and you own it," Sharp said.

"It was really nice to get that reward late in the game. I was lucky that the ball spat out to me, and I took both my chances, so it was nice they went through on a night we couldn't kick many.

"A winger that can kick goals is really valuable these days, so I think each week I've got to keep pushing hard forward and try to take my opportunity and kick some goals, but also realise that I've got to keep defending as well."

Jeremy Sharp handpasses the ball from Jed McEntee during the match between Port Adelaide and Fremantle at Adelaide Oval in round three, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Sharp's running strength has provided Walyalup with flexibility on the wings this year, with the 22-year-old able to run out long minutes and swap wings when required, while an extra inside midfielder like Matt Johnson or Jaeger O'Meara fills the other.

The East Fremantle product said his body was holding up well under the demands of his role, playing an average of 87.3 per cent game time, after suffering some early-season knee issues that he was able to play through.

Walyalup's director of football performance and innovation Adam Beard has encouraged Sharp to work hard on the recovery aspects of his game and consider how he can improve when he is away from the club. 

"I think I've picked up a lot more professionalism since coming over here and really focused on my body a lot more, and I think that's helped me game day," he said. 

"I've found a really good routine for myself that's working and I'm really sticking to it and staying pretty diligent to it, because in the past I probably haven't been too professional and it's such an important part of the game.

"It's something I'm really diving into, and I think game day I'm really benefiting from it, because I'm running out games really well and covering the ground really well."

Jeremy Sharp celebrates Fremantle's win over Brisbane at Optus Stadium in round one, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Sharp's diligence and performances since joining the Dockers have quickly earned him the respect of his new teammates and allowed him to speak up at his second club and become a valued contributor off-field. 

His growing confidence has helped him on-field, regardless of whether the ball is coming his way or not. 

"I've certainly found my voice a bit and I do think I'm a leader. But coming into a new environment you want to build your trust through actions, and I think I've been doing that," Sharp said. 

"I think the boys are really respecting what I'm saying and how I'm going about it, which means a lot.

"The playing group's been awesome for me, and the coaching staff as well are embedding a lot of confidence and trust into me. 

"Confidence is such a big thing in our game now and I think I'm riding a pretty cool wave at the moment."