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AFL draft 2018: Fremantle’s recruitment of VFL pair a ‘smart move’

Mature-aged Fremantle recruits Brett Bewley and Lachlan Schultz have shown ability to play well against AFL-listed opponents in the VFL each week, meaning they are ideally placed to step up to the next level, according to Williamstown football manager Stephen Soulsby.

The Dockers drafted Schultz and Bewley at picks 57 and 59 during the national draft on Friday.

Schultz produced his most telling contribution in his team’s 25-point qualifying final win over Richmond last season. The small forward booted three goals during the second quarter when the game was on the line.

“He turned into a match-winner for us … won us the game,” Soulsby said.

“He’s a tough small forward and those are the games where guys really stand up.

“At that time of the year where there are a lot of people watching on free-to-air TV, that shows traits that Fremantle would have been looking for.”

VideoFremantle recruit Sam Sturt talks about his excitement to be heading to the Dockers.

Bewley was also prominent against AFL-listed opponents.

He collected 39, 36, 26 and 32 disposals in a four-week period against players from Carlton, Geelong, Melbourne and Richmond. The 23-year-old played on the wing, across half-forward and in the centre square throughout the season.

Soulsby said entering the AFL after playing for a standalone VFL club gave his players a head start, given the challenges they confronted during the season.

“We’re playing against AFL reserves teams so we’re up against AFL-listed players,” he said.

“They know they’re up against it every week because our opponents usually average 15 or 16 AFL players. If you go to a team as a top-up, there might be six blokes who are just playing a role for the day.”

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