In 2011 Docherty played 16 games for the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup playing. Docherty used his run and carry skills for the Power off half back averaging 22 disposals a game plus ranked second in the entire competition in mark from opposition kicks and rebound 50s in the TAC Cup. Sam only played 1 game for Phillip Island in which he was named second best for the Bulldogs and his brother Josh was named best. Despite his from for Gippsland, Docherty missed out on the initial Vic Country squad for the 2011 AFL Under 18 Championships; however, he was brought in for the fourth game of the carnival with an eye-catching display across half-back against WA in Geelong with 21 possessions and five rebound 50s. He then remained in the Vic Country team that faced Vic Metro in the last round of the championships. A hip injury while playing for the Power Docherty could not perform at the AFL draft camp. At the Gippsland Power awards he won the Most Disciplined and Trainers Awards plus was named in the 2011 TAC Cup Team of the Year. Despite the injury and being relatively unknown to AFL recruiters at the start of the year, Docherty was expected to be a first-round pick in the 2011 AFL draft. He was ultimately selected by the Brisbane Lions with their second selection (pick No. 12 overall) at the 2011 AFL National Draft. He became the first player from Phillip Island to be drafted into the AFL.