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Tobe Watson commits to Swan Districts' return

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 4:30 PM

While it was somewhat a surprise to see Tobe Watson's time in the AFL with Fremantle end in 2021, that will be to the benefit of Swan Districts in 2022 with the impressive defender committing to return to Steel Blue Oval.

Watson had a terrific 2018 season in the Swan Districts' back-line which led to him being selected by the Fremantle Dockers in the rookie draft later that year, and he has been in the AFL system since.

He would go on to play three AFL matches for the Dockers in 2020 and another 11 in 2021, appearing to many to be settling in the line-up and looking to have a bright future.

However, the Dockers disagreed and would delist him at the end of the season after he had played 14 AFL matches in the three years on top of adding another 23 WAFL games with Peel Thunder.

The 24-year-old looked settled and composed at AFL level, but at this stage hasn’t been signed to another club and should that not happen over summer, he has committed to return to Swan Districts in the WAFL.

Watson is originally from Donnybrook but moved to Perth to attend Guildford Grammar and went on to come through the ranks at Swan Districts before making his league debut in 2017.

He played another 18 games with Swans in 2018 with his standout form leading to his AFL career.

Now he will return to Swan Districts in 2022 and while Alex Howard has retired, a back-line with him playing alongside Tony Notte, Chris Jones, Brandon Erceg and Anthony Stephens should be comforting for all Swans supporters.

For Swan Districts coach Adam Pickering, he would still like to think there is hope for Watson to get another crack in the AFL, but he is excited to have him at his disposal should it not eventuate for him in the coming weeks or months.

"Tobe's one of those guys that hopefully is going to get an opportunity to train on with an AFL list over this summer period," Pickering said.

"Hopefully he gets another crack at league level, but we always felt we had an advantage to bring him back with his brother playing in the league team and one of the boys in the reserves dates his sister.

"We felt we had a leg up there and while we would still like to think he might get another crack in the AFL, but should that not happen we are delighted to welcome him back here to Swan Districts for next year and beyond."

Watson himself had every reason to think as the 2021 AFL season unfolded that he was becoming a regular and important part of the Fremantle line-up.

He was understandably surprised when he received the news that he wouldn’t be offered a contract renewal, but he remains confident his AFL days aren’t over and will give his all to Swan Districts in the meantime.

"It’s tough to hear. I believe I am definitely good enough to be playing AFL football. I’ve got the inner belief that I can still play at the level," Watson said at the time.

"They said there were a lot of guys in a similar position who were coming back from injury like Heath Chapman, Joel Hamling, Brennan Cox and guys like that. They thought they had too many guys in a similar position to me so I got squeezed out."