Sam Sturt celebrates a goal with McCarthy in the first match of the Marsh Community Series. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE forward Sam Sturt has rediscovered what could be his biggest strength in 2020 as he pushes to make his debut playing a new role leading out of the Dockers' goalsquare.

Used at both ends of the ground with WAFL club Peel Thunder last year, Sturt has unlocked his speed this pre-season and found his role in the team as a deep forward under new coach Justin Longmuir.

It is a role that has the 19-year-old feeling "100 per cent" more prepared than he was 12 months ago as a draft bolter and ready to play if he is called on for an early-season debut.

Longmuir recently compared Sturt to Collingwood forward and 2018 NAB AFL Rising Star Jaidyn Stephenson in an interview with The West Australian.

Sturt said he watched the Magpies' star live at the MCG last year and had been given confidence to play a similar role, starting deep and leading up at the ball-carrier to utilise his speed.

"I actually had a look at Jaidyn Stephenson last year," Sturt told this week.

Sam Sturt paid close attention to Jaidyn Stephenson when he played against Freo last year. Picture: AFL Photos

"'Belly' (Peter Bell) sat me down and took me through the game style that he plays and thought I was quite similar, so I've adopted that this year and tried to play a bit like him.

"Obviously he's really quick and good on the lead and his defensive intent is really good.

"He plays a similar position for Collingwood so Justin coming across from Collingwood has adopted a few of their principles."


Sturt travelled with the Dockers for last year's clash against Collingwood in round 11, watching Stephenson from the stands as his teammates pulled off a brilliant four-point win at the MCG.

The young Docker spoke to Longmuir about his role when the new coach arrived, telling him his strengths were his defensive pressure and leading.

He's since been given the freedom to train and then play in the opening Marsh Community Series match as a deep forward, with Longmuir encouraging him to play on instincts as much as he can.

"It is very exciting," Sturt said of the role, which saw him regularly line up in the goalsquare for centre bounces against the Blues.


"It means I can hopefully kick a few more goals, which will be good, (and) it's great for the team, just lengthening a little bit more and providing another option up forward.

"Last year I was playing a bit higher, so playing out of the goalsquare allowed me to get on the end of a few leads and realise I had a bit of pace.

"He (Longmuir) has given me heaps of confidence throughout the pre-season telling me what my position will entail and trying to execute as well as I can."