Career : 2020
Games : Nil
Goals : Nil
Guernsey No. 48
Height : 189 cm (6 ft. 2½ in.)
Weight : 82 kg (12 stone, 13 lbs.)
DOB : 16 November, 2001
One of the four players invited to train with Carlton during the preseason for Carlton's final rookie spot on their 2020 list. Worn number 50 in the practise match against Collingwood at Ikon Park, Princes Park on February 20 and then wore number 48 in the Marsh Series game against Fremantle at Mandurah, WA on February 29. The other three players were Lukas Webb, Jordan Cunico and Callum Moore (with Moore winning the final spot on Carlton's list). With all Sturgess, Webb and Cunico signing to play with the Northern Blues in 2020.
Born and raised in the northern suburbs, Sturgess started off his junior football career as a six-year-old with St Mary’s Football Club which is located in Greensborough and competed in the Yarra Junior Football League. A talented youngster, one of the highlights of Sturgess’s junior career came as a 12-year-old in 2013 when he made the Victorian state schoolboys’ team and competed at the SSA Australian Football Championships which was hosted in Darwin. Victoria went through the entire tournament unbeaten, defeating the Northern Territory in the Grand Final. Sturgess continued to play at St Mary’s for the remainder of his junior career but after a decade and well over 100 games for the club, it was time for a new challenge and to progress his football career following the completion of his U17's campaign. Sturgess’s football journey saw him represent the Northern Knights in the NAB League throughout 2018 and 2019. As a bottom-age footballer, Sturgess played 13 games in his maiden season at the club and was a member of the leadership group while the following year after a strong form in the NAB League, he was chosen to represent Vic Metro in the National Under 18s Championship. Although it was an unsuccessful campaign for Metro, Sturgess continued to display the form that saw him selected, playing all four games which were alongside eventual AFL footballers in Gold Coast’s Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, Collingwood’s Trent Bianco and Hawthorn’s Finn Maginness. Following the National Championships, Sturgess returned to the Knights line up where he helped them reach an elimination final but they fell short against the Western Jets by eight points where Sturgess was named the sides best player. Unfortunately for Sturgess in the final minutes of the game he snapped two ligaments in his left ankle, requiring him to undergo an ankle reconstruction, which made him unable to test at the AFL Draft Combine later that year.
Playing his football for the Northern Knights and Vic Metro in 2019, Sturgess plays primarily as a defender but showed in his underage career that he can play multiple roles. The best friend (and former teammate) of Carlton draftee Sam Philp, Sturgess’ strength is his aerial work and athleticism. He turned 18 last November and while you’re more likely to see him stationed in defence, he also kicked nine goals from 13 NAB League games last year. Composed medium defender with an excellent intercept mark. He is courageous in taking on the game and his kicking is a key a feature of his play. He played all four games for Vic Metro in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, averaging 14.8 disposals.
Sturgess’s next opportunity would come in the shape of the Carlton Football Club, who following the rookie draft had got in touch with his management and invited him to train with the club as a train-on player throughout their preseason with the potential to recruit him to the AFL list in the Supplementary Selection Period. Sturgess put his best foot forward, impressing the coaching group during training and was duly rewarded for his efforts as he was chosen to play in a practice match against Collingwood and a Marsh Community Series game against Fremantle. ‘The whole experience in itself was amazing, obviously training with those guys and then being fortunate to play a couple of practice matches against some AFL listed guys and some big names like Scott Pendlebury was pretty special,’ Sturgess said. ‘It was unreal and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to spend a couple of months with the Carlton Football Club.’ ‘I couldn’t believe it; I was pinching myself every day I was going there. I was fortunate enough my best mate in Sam Philp; who got drafted there, helped make me a lot more comfortable (in the AFL environment).’ ‘When I was trying out there, I was down in the backline so I spent time with players like Liam Jones and Jacob Weitering, I was trying to sort of latch on to them a little bit and gain as much experience and knowledge of them, seeing as they were the senior defenders down there.’ Despite Sturgess displaying many promising signs, Carlton decided to use its final list spot on Moore, citing list requirements as the main reason for the decision and that it wasn’t through a fault of his own. Sturgess took on the feedback in a positive way, stating that he was grateful for the opportunity given to him which helped further develop his football.
‘It didn’t work out for me getting on the list but the time that I did have there I’ll be forever grateful for and I’ll definitely cherish the time because it was very good fun,’ he said. Although unsuccessful in making Carlton’s AFL list, the club was still keen to keep Sturgess in its system and offered him a position with their VFL affiliate in the Northern Blues. Unfortunately for Sturgess, he and many footballers in 2020, never got the chance to make their way onto the field with the arrival of the coronavirus and due to financial constraints caused by the virus, Carlton had to end their alignment with the Northern Blues. With the news that the Blues would cease to exist, Sturgess was on the search once again to advance his football career. Sturgess would eventually sign a contract with the Coburg Football Club in June, hoping to be a part of the revised 2020 VFL Season but this was brought to a resounding halt as Victoria entered a stage three lockdown in early July last year following another outbreak of the virus. Sturgess considered his options once again but come the years end, he once again put pen to paper at the Coburg Football Club, stating that he couldn’t see any other club he was going to play for and that he was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to test himself against state level competition in 2021.
Previous Clubs: Northern Knights U18s/St Mary’s/Loyola College.
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