Debutant Nathan O’Driscoll has found overwhelming support in his teammates, with Andy Brayshaw saying he is a person that ‘everyone loves to see succeed.’
Named as the medical sub for Fremantle’s round two match against St Kilda, O’Driscoll’s opportunity came when ruckman Sean Darcy was taken out of the game at three-quarter-time with a suspected ankle injury.
O’Driscoll attended three out of a possible four centre bounces in the final quarter and made an immediate impact with his first kick in AFL football.
Deep in the pocket, O’Driscoll received a handball from Heath Chapman before streaming forward to kick his maiden goal on debut.
Brayshaw said the much-loved character at the Club was deserving of his opportunity.
“Everyone at the Club loves him,” Brayshaw said.
“He works really hard and he’s just a bubbly character who everyone loves to see succeed.
“I think when he kicked that goal everyone was quite up and about.”
“It was a really tough decision to debut as the (medical) emergency, and I wasn’t sure if he was going to play.
“His family were able to come out onto the ground when he was presented his jumper and he waited for his time (to debut), I thought he delivered really well under pressure.”
Brayshaw said the decision to make O’Driscoll a regular feature at the centre bounce in the final term was a testament to the faith shown in him by the Fremantle coaching group.
He said that O’Driscoll had put in the hard yards both on the track and in the weights room since joining the Club at the end of 2020.
“The coaches back him in, he’s done a lot of work with (development coach) Joel Corey putting on a bit of size in the gym, and working on his kicking,” Brayshaw said.
“He’s a really dangerous player when he breaks the lines.
“The coaches have full faith in him, and I think he showed glimpses of that in the last quarter.”
Brayshaw also praised stand-in skipper Alex Pearce, who led from the front in the absence of Nat Fyfe and the experienced David Mundy.
Pearce was important in Freo’s back half, with 16 disposals (11 kicks) at 87.5 per cent disposal efficiency, to go along with 10 intercepts and seven marks.
“Moose captained us in a couple of the JLT games without ‘Fyfey’ and Dave,” Brayshaw said.
“He’s a guy that leads from the front, especially through that backline and everyone looks up to him.
“He didn’t disappoint today, and he is someone who gives it everything every week.
“You know what you’re going to get from him and he’ll be, just like myself, really disappointed with the loss.”