St Kilda has been crying out for another tall forward to take some weight off Max King and Tim Membrey’s shoulders – and they may have found one through the mid-season draft. in Cooper Sharman.
Cooper Sharman had been playing for Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL before the Saints picked him up with pick #20 in the mid-season draft.
Sharman had impressed at both reserves and seniors level for the Eagles, averaging over two goals a game for the reserves whilst picking up 14 touches, nine marks, and a goal at senior level.
Hailing from Leeton, New South Wales, Sharman has also spent some time at the GWS academy before moving to Melbourne to study at Deakin University.
Originally, the 194cm key forward was meant to link up with the club after the bye as St Kilda were in a hub in Sydney due to Victoria’s fourth lockdown, but due to an extensive injury list, Sharman joined the Saints earlier than expected and was in contention to make an earlier-than-expected debut with the club only have 28 available players for their clash against Adelaide.
Sharman was not selected for that match but he only had to wait for a little over a month to get his first taste in the big time.
He made his debut as the medical substitute against West Coast Eagles in Round 19 but unfortunately did not get a run on the ground.
However, an injury to Dougal Howard in the midst of the Saints round 20 clash against Carlton saw Sharman get his first minutes of AFL footy – and has taken the opportunity with both hands.
Sharman kicked two goals and had four marks in the second half, – A shining light on what was otherwise a disappointing night for St Kilda in their bid to make a late finals push.
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Fast-forward to the next week, and he played a crucial role in what was a massive win to keep the Saints’ slim finals chances alive. Sharman played the full game as the third key tall in the saints forward line, kicking two important goals whilst also tallying five marks and five score involvements in the win.
After the big win, coach Brett Ratten was impressed and full of praise for the ‘developing’ Sharman.
“He’s that forward that we’ve been scouting for, he moves the ball really well, and uses it well,” Ratten said post-game after the win against Sydney.
“He hasn’t even done an AFL pre-season and 12-13 weeks ago he was playing in the SANFL Reserves, he’s going to be a player for the future I think.”
The 21-year-old will be hoping to continue his fine form in a do-or-die clash this weekend against Geelong as the saints aim to keep their slim finals hopes alive.
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