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Home » » Roar talent: Freo debutants Cerra and Crowden once Tiger fans

Roar talent: Freo debutants Cerra and Crowden once Tiger fans

Fremantle’s two debutants for Saturday night’s clash with Essendon at Optus Stadium grew up as Richmond supporters, but that is where the similarity ends.

One, Adam Cerra, is a top end draft pick from Victoria who describes himself as level-headed.

The other, Mitch Crowden, is a fourth round pick from SANFL Club Sturt, built like the proverbial brick shipyard who welcomes the tag of being like a “bull”.

The pair were two of the four changes the Dockers made to their team to face the Bombers.

Stephen Hill and Joel Hamling are also welcomed back, while Danyle Pearce, Cam Sutcliffe, Shane Kersten and Darcy Tucker have all been omitted.

Cerra, who Eastern Ranges talent manager Len Villani labelled a “class act” who created time and space for himself and others on the field, has been playing catch-up in match fitness since a slow start to pre-season due to a shoulder injury delayed his start to full training.

“Going into the pre-season we were still managing that and trying to get me fully back into training. Post-Christmas I was fully back into the swing of things and the past month has been just trying to get that match fitness back and that is all good now,” he said.

He wasn’t helped by being flattened and concussed in a collision with captain Nathan Fyfe in match simulation which knocked him out of the AFLX series.

But his past fortnight at Peel has been strong, kicking three goals with 21 and 24 possession performances in the past fortnight.

“Over the past few weeks Ross and the development coaches have been helping me with my game at Peel. He has pointed out what I needed to work on and I have gone away and focussed on those things at training and in games and it is good to get a bit of reward for the improvements I have made,” he said.

“Having the delayed pre-season I was probably a couple of weeks behind the group going into the season. I was just focused on getting my GPS and match fitness numbers to the level it needs to be to play AFL. I have pretty much caught up now.”

He said it was pointless trying to hide nerves, but he backed his calm nature to hold him in good stead in front of a big crowd on Saturday.

“Everyone is going to be a bit nervous for their first game, but once you get out there it is just a game of footy. I can’t wait to get amongst it and play with the boys,” he said.

“I am a level-headed player who takes pride in his handball and his kick – good skills. Level-headed and I can stand up in high pressure situations.”

“I will back myself in. It is one of the traits people say about me on and off field.”

Crowden admitted being surprised by a phone call from football manager Chris Bond this morning but said Ross Lyon had told the youngsters at the Dockers that hard work would be rewarded.

“Expectation coming to the season was just bond with the boys and get pre-season under my belt because it is a long pre-season and if you can’t get that right you are no chance of playing in round one,” he said.

“I just looked forward to bonding with the boys and listening to the coaches and learning.

‘My last month at Peel has been quite strong. Ross said that if you are doing the work on and off the field you will get the rewards.”

Crowden gained senior experience at Sturt last year and did not shy away from the description of him as a bull because of his 87kg physique.

“A few people have said that. I don’t mind being described as a bull, Dusty Martin has been described as a bit of a bull. It is a nice trait to have in the game, being a fierce tackler and putting the pressure on,” he said.

“Last year my focus was a lot on pressure going into the AFL and hoping to get drafted I knew it was a big thing to have. This year I have continued to develop it to give myself the best possible chance to play AFL.”


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