Docker Cam McCarthy to wing it in AFL

Justin Chadwick
Cam McCarthy has accepted the challenge to reinvent himself as a wingman at the Fremantle Dockers

Cam McCarthy will get a chance to reinvent himself when he steps out as a wingman in Fremantle's clash with Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

McCarthy was touted as a future star forward when he was taken by GWS in the first round of the 2013 national draft.

The 194cm spearhead showed his potential with 35 goals in 20 games in 2015, and hopes were high he could reach even greater heights when he joined Fremantle in 2017 after a year out of the game.

But McCarthy has struggled as a forward in the last three seasons, booting just 63 goals in 48 games for the Dockers.

New Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir told McCarthy to train up as a wingman during the pre-season, and the 24-year-old will get the chance to showcase his talents in round one.

McCarthy's emergence in the new role is important as Fremantle attempt to fill the hole left by departed wingmen Brad Hill and Ed Langdon.

"It is a good story," Longmuir said.

"The thing that's allowed him to do it is that he's been open to the challenge.

"It doesn't mean he won't play forward for us at any stage. But he's really applied himself to the (wing) role.

"He's done all he can from an upskilling point of view with his coaches. He deserves his opportunity."

New recruit James Aish and Brett Bewley are others who will play significant game time on the wing.

Longmuir confirmed that forward Sam Sturt would make his AFL debut, while Alex Pearce (ankle), David Mundy (leg), and Nathan Wilson (toe) are closing in on full fitness.

Defender Stephen Hill will miss at least several weeks with a quad injury, while Blake Acres (hamstring) and Joel Hamling (ankle) are longer-term injuries.

A return date on Jesse Hogan (personal leave) remains up in the air while he focuses on his mental health.

Fremantle players were due to get the rock star treatment on Thursday in their mission to escape the coronavirus during their trip from Perth to Melbourne.

"It looks like at this stage we'll meet in the car park and walk through the airport as a group and try and distance ourselves a little bit from the general public," Longmuir said.

"We've got a chartered flight that Virgin have provided us, so we'll be on a plane by ourselves. We've obviously got the hand sanitisers and face masks and that sort of thing as well."