Highly sought-after former Fremantle key defender Sam Collins has opted to sign with the Werribee Tigers.

The 23-year-old wants to reignite his career with the stand-alone VFL club after the disappointment of being delisted by the Dockers.

Collins was talked up as a chance to be selected in the AFL rookie draft, but that never happened, despite training with St Kilda in the weeks leading up to the draft period.

After getting a taste of the big time in 14 AFL games with Fremantle, Collins is not ready to pull the curtain down on his football career and sees his arrival at Werribee as a chance to re-launch.

Collins is looking forward to being a part of the Tigers’ return to Avalon Airport Oval and working under coach John Lamont.

“I’m really excited to play under John,” he said. “It’s a really unique and exciting opportunity here. I think he’s really trying to build a strong culture and build a strong list, and I hope we can do something special.

“I still definitely have that desire to get back on an AFL list and I think this is a great environment to do that.”

Lamont is hopeful Collins will do enough in his time at the Tigers to press for a position at an AFL club in 12 months time.

“Sam is exactly what we need,” Lamont said. “He’s experienced, he shows leadership, he has the size to play on the big blokes, and he plays with aggression and courage, so he’s going to be a really good role model for our younger defenders.

“He wants another opportunity at AFL level, and we’d love that for him.”