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There’s no doubting that football in WA is on the cusp of a new era.
From Fremantle’s new training facility to the new Perth Stadium, the game in WA is in good hands.
The last remaining piece of the puzzle is talent on the field, and the current squad of Freo players have been playing their part in ensuring WA’s talent pool never runs dry.
In the middle of Freo heartland, Shane Kersten joined Joel Hamling, Zac Clarke, Danyle Pearce and Josh Deluca on a visit to Emmanuel College as a part of the AFL’s Metro Community Camps.
There they took training for a year nine team and Kersten, a fellow product of the South Fremantle district, was impressed with the talent on show.
“We’re out visiting a few schools and running the kids through their paces,” Kersten said.
“We enjoy these types of things, it’s good fun.
“(The future of) footy looks pretty bright in Western Australia, and it’s important to get back here to share a bit of knowledge with these young kids.”
With Emmanuel’s year nine side boasting sixteen players in South Fremantle’s development side and another six in East Fremantle’s development side, it’s no surprise that Kersten was impressed.
To Ryan Henley, Emmanuel’s director of sport, the clinics played an important role in building kid’s confidence in their own abilities.
“It’s extremely beneficial,” Henley said.
“They were raving about it after and they thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s been sensational.”
"Just knowing that they’ve seen the players week in, week out in the AFL is a big thing for the boys.
“They said that it’s funny that the drills they did with the Freo players are similar to the ones we already do in school, which is great as it reinforces what they’re already doing.
“It shows that if they continue that way, the door’s definitely open to them as long as they work hard.”
In the 2016 NAB AFL Trade Period, Fremantle made recruiting young West Australian talent their number one goal, with Kersten one of four players aged 23 or younger to return home from the eastern states.
After three JLT Community Series games, Kersten said he can already see these new faces settling in well.
“There’s been some promising signs,” Kersten said.
“Bradley Hill’s been pretty unbelievable with some of the leadership qualities he’s brought.
“Cam McCarthy had an outstanding game on the weekend and it’s good to get some chemistry going with him up forward.
“And Joel Hamling with his knowledge down back after winning the premiership (with the Western Bulldogs) last year, he’s been invaluable to the team.