Pocket Profile

2024 Hostplus Sturt Pocket Profile

Sturt coach Marty Mattner addresses his charges at training. Picture - Ash Rayson

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SANFL’s ZAC MILBANK breaks down all you need to know about the Double Blues heading into the 2024 Hostplus SANFL League season.

2023 Snapshot

Finished – 2nd (Lost Grand Final to Glenelg)

Record –  14 wins, 4 losses (Minor Round); 2 wins, 2 losses (Finals)

P. T Morton Medal – Best and Fairest

1) James Battersby – 176 votes

2) Casey Voss – 171

3) Luke Edmonds – 170

Len Fitzgerald Award – Senior Men’s Best Emerging Talent
Charlie Fryer

Bob Marshall Award – Senior Men’s Best Team Man
Luke Edmonds

James Thredgold Most Valuable Player
James Battersby

The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year – James Battersby (Ruck Rover), Tom Lewis (Centre), Connor McFadyen (Centre Half-Back), Josh Hone (Forward Pocket)

2023 P. T Morton Medallist James Battersby with Sturt president Jason Kilic.

Player Movement

Will Snelling (Essendon), Flynn Perez (North Melbourne), Sam Conforti (Essendon VFL/Bendigo Pioneers), Morgan Ferres (returned/Gold Coast VFL/Bond University)

Patrick Wilson (West Adelaide), Marty Frederick (Claremont, WAFL), Josh Rentsch (Penshurst, Victoria), Loch Rawlinson (West Coast), Will Crane (Imperials Murray Bridge)

Star recruit Will Snelling will be looking to make an impact after his delisting from Essendon.

2024 Trial Matches

Friday March 8
Glenelg v Sturt at Thebarton Oval from 7.30pm

Saturday March 16
Sturt v Adelaide at Thebarton Oval from 10am


Sturt’s Tom Lewis swings on to his right foot at training.

Star Signing - Will Snelling

Sturt made a surprise splash leading into summer when it sealed the signature of delisted Essendon player Will Snelling.

Earning a SANFL League premiership medal with West Adelaide in 2015, Snelling opted to join the Double Blues instead of returning to the Bloods.

Boasting 65 AFL games of experience, the 26-year-old looms as the most influential recruit this off-season given his penchant for finding the footy with ease through the middle while also being able to hit the scoreboard.

Suddenly, a midfield group featuring Snelling, James Battersby and Tom Lewis looks to be a formidable one on paper for coach Marty Mattner.

Off the field, he is already playing a valuable role with the club’s promising youngsters while being quick to find himself in the senior leadership group.

Powerade Breakthrough Player Candidate - Luca Slade

The departure of former Power-listed speedster Marty Frederick has left a gaping hole on one of the wings for Sturt in 2024.

And Luca Slade will be determined to fill the void.

The polished midfielder, the son of Central District premiership rover Matt Slade, looms as a leading candidate considering his exceptional blend of aerobic capacity and pace.

A graduate of the Double Blues’ U18 program, the 18-year-old has impressed coach Marty Mattner with his application to training and performance in match simulation.

Watch out for Slade to be pushing for a League debut in Round 1.

Luca Slade will be eyeing off a spot on the wing in Sturt’s League team for 2024.

2024 State Talent Academy Members

SA U18 coach Tony Bamford profiles the Double Blues’ players in 2024

Sam Waltham
Sam will be in Sturt’s football program full-time this year after finishing Year 12 at Prince Alfred College last year. This should provide Sam with a consistent environment to accelerate the development of his all-round game. In past seasons, he has had a big impact in games playing as a ruckman, with some time ahead of the ball as a forward. At national level, Sam would be considered an “undersized” ruck, so this year we have challenged Sam to continue to learn and build his game from a key-position perspective. This is his best chance to find a role in the U18 State team. Sam is a natural competitor who gets after the ball in the contest and can take impressive marks. He is working on improving his agility and fast feet to help him get set earlier before disposing of the ball.

Cam Kelly
Cam missed a large chunk of season 2023 with a hamstring injury and also had an interrupted preseason due to a groin problem that required us to reduce his training load significantly. We expect him to be ready for the season but he will likely be a bit behind for overall fitness base. When Cam is back playing and close to his full fitness, we expect he will be playing as a general defender in a similar role he has played before. He is a very hard player to win a one-on-one contest against and has shown composure and an ability to make good decisions with the ball in hand.

Harley Barker
Harley is one of our bottom age players. He is a damaging, run-and-carry player with an athletics background. Harley played on the wing in our U16 state team last year and has spent this preseason training in the same role with some exposure to high defender roles. His highlights last year came mostly while attacking, when he would gain possession and penetrate the opposition’s defence with his running ability and long kicking. He is committed to improving his ball-handling skills in close to enable him to use his weapons more often to impact the game.

Alex Dodson (Add on player)
Alex is a multi-sport athlete having had exposure to both football and basketball talent pathways over the past two years. Last year, he focused more on his basketball development both at school and with the Adelaide 36ers’ program. This year, Alex is shifting his focus to football and will likely start the year with Sturt’s U18s. He played in our U16 State team two years ago as a ruck and key forward and showed above average endurance, mobility, skill level and game understanding for a developing tall player. We expect Alex will continue to refine his ruck craft and keep working to regain his fitness level to perform on a footy oval as opposed to a basketball court.

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