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Dockers trade up to grab draft slider

'It was a long night' for new Docker Although Luke Valente had to wait an extra day to be selected, he's stoked to be heading west

FREMANTLE has pounced on draft slider Luke Valente after moving up in the second round of the NAB AFL Draft.

Entering with picks 34 and 41 on Friday, the Dockers swapped both selections with the Western Bulldogs for pick 30 and 57.

They then wasted no time in selecting Valente, the South Australian NAB under-18 National Championship-winning captain, with pick 30.

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Tipped to fall at pick 21 in AFL.com.au draft expert Callum Twomey's Phantom Draft, the 186cm midfielder joins close friend Stefan Giro at the club.

The 18-year-old is seen as one of the best leaders in this year's draft crop, having led a state side including top-five stars Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Connor Rozee.

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"He's a school captain, he was captain of South Australia and the MVP (SA) at the carnival this year and we know that was a star-studded line-up," Dockers head of football Peter Bell said.

"(He's an) outstanding character, we think he's got a lot to offer, he's got really good neat disposal by foot, we can't to bring him in and hopefully he's ready to go.

"We think there's some midfield minutes there with Lachie Neale not at the club, hopefully Luke can put himself up for that."

The Dockers later continued their love affair with mature-age recruits, landing Williamstown VFL pair Lachlan Schultz (pick 57) and Brett Bewley (pick 59).

Schultz's competitiveness as a small forward impressed the Dockers, after he overcame an ankle injury in the back half of 2018.

Standing 180cm, he has strong overhead marking for his size and an ability to roll through the midfield.

Bewley, 23, was one of the strongest performers at the NAB AFL Victorian State Draft Combine, recording a 2.99-second 20m sprint before showcasing his running capacity with a 22.4 YoYo endurance test – the best result across the country including the National Combine.

A carpenter by trade, the rangy 186cm midfielder had been close to finding a home in a number of previous NAB AFL Drafts before his stellar 2018 season.

"Character's a big part of why we selected them, they look like they're going to work hard," Bell said.

"There's no reason from a body perspective why they couldn't stake their claim early next year."

The duo join Luke Ryan (Coburg), Sam Switkowski (Box Hill) and Lloyd Meek (North Ballarat) from the VFL on the Dockers' list.

In Thursday night's first round, the Dockers claimed draft bolter and highly-rated cricket prospect Sam Sturt at pick 17.

Having only started his TAC Cup campaign with Dandenong Stingrays in round 14 this year, the 189cm agile forward had previously centred his thoughts on the Cricket Victoria pathway.

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"It's amazing. It's the best experience and the best feeling of my life," Sturt said.

"It was emotional, I think Mum was pretty upset but that's just out of pure excitement and being happy for me. It was a good moment.

"I just want a new experience and with WA being close to the beach and being nice and hot, it's just an ideal place for me at the moment."

Sturt will be given the first opportunity to wear Matthew Pavlich's famous No.29 guernsey, previously put on hold following the champion's retirement at the end of 2016.