By ZAC MILBANK
Tom Lewis has been described as a ”virtual recruit” for Sturt’s 2020 Statewide Super League campaign.
The strong-bodied midfielder was primed to make his mark at senior level in 2019 after missing out on being selected during the AFL Draft period at the end of 2018.
But a torn ACL stemming from an incident in a League trial match put his ambitions on hold for 12 months much to his initial frustration.
After making excellent progress during his recovery process last year, the 20-year-old is looming as an ideal replacement for retired dual premiership midfielder Aidan Riley in the centre square.
”As expected, Tommy was first-class in his rehab,” Sturt coach Nathan Grima said.
”As such, he returned to training the first night of preseason in great shape and has been the clear stand out within the group in all our running throughout preseason.
”Tommy integrated into full training post Christmas and played well in our first trial match. With the retirement of Aidan Riley an opportunity will present for one of our younger midfielders to get an opportunity.
”We are also trying to develop Tommy’s game so he can play a second position which will be half-forward as we feel with his workrate and tackle pressure, he could add this into his game.
”We are looking forward to what he can add to our group as he is a great competitor, well-liked and respected by everyone at the club. He is going to be a future leader at Sturt.”
A leadership group member of the victorious SA U18 team at the 2018 AFL National Championships, Lewis is a regular at the front of the Double Blues’ 2km time-trials such is elite aerobic capacity.
Originally from the Meningie Football Club in the River Murray League, the long-kicking left-footer has also been working on his right-foot kick during his absence from playing matches.
Lewis is eligible for the Powerade Breakthrough Player award this season as he has played 10 League matches or less and is aged 23 or under.
Sturt coach Nathan Grima
''We are looking forward to what he can add to our group as he is a great competitor, well-liked and respected by everyone at the club. He is going to be a future leader at Sturt.''
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