Fremantle have put their top draft pick from the 2018 national draft in cotton wool after two early concussions raised alarm bells about his future.
Sam Sturt, chosen with pick 17 in the national draft, has not played since Peel’s WAFL round three match against East Fremantle and will not play for at least another month, coach Ross Lyon said this morning.
Sturt, an outstanding cricketer who rocketed up the draft order after starring in TAC Cup games late in 2018, is a fast, high leaping 189cm forward but came to the club weighing just 72kg and received head knocks in a pre-season game against West Coast’s WAFL team and the Sharks.
“He is not going to play for four weeks. We are on the conservative path with all of this so I think it will be 60 days,” Lyon said.
“We went through all of the steps. We got the scan. Take all of the advice and how long to mitigate any of the risk. He is a really important young player who has shown some really good signs. It is the first time he has played against men.
“He gets an opportunity to work on his conditioning and build his body up and eradicate as best we can any risk with concussion for where he is at because this was his second one in a year.
“We will fly him with the team and he will get back to Melbourne. We are doing a lot right in that space with him.”
Meanwhile Lyon was circumspect about the return of Harley Bennell to the WAFL, declaring it was likely to happen in two weeks but he was “staying in the moment” because of Bennell’s long history of calf muscle injuries.
“I am circumspect and Harley is circumspect and we all should be. But he trained really well on the weekend and he is progressing,” he said.
“We keep our fingers crossed.”
Lyon said he would have “flicked the bails” and quit some time ago if he had Bennell’s run with injury.
“He is committed. Any significant event there is shock denial and anger and then you give it meaning and you move on. Different personalities process that at a different pace and he has certainly been able to do that and get back on the horse and go,” he said.
“I have often said that if it was me I would have flicked the bails and been elsewhere by now. But persistence and perseverance has made him a stronger football character. We have just got to hold our breath a little bit.”