While sitting on the sidelines is far from ideal for Fremantle’s Caleb Serong, the midfielder was afforded the opportunity to gain a greater insight into the work of his coaches during Freo’s 55-point win over West Coast in Sunday’s RAC Derby.
Serong had not missed a game since making his debut in round four of 2020, but missed the recent RAC Derby clash with knee soreness.
Although envious about not running out onto Optus Stadium with his teammates, it opened up an opportunity for Serong to sit in the coaches’ box on Sunday.
With stand-in coach Jaymie Graham at the helm, in the absence of Senior Coach Justin Longmuir, Serong found a greater appreciation for the level of work that goes unseen.
“Being in the coaches’ box was awesome, the coaches give you a greater appreciation for how much does actually go on behind the scenes,” Serong told SportFM Breakfast.
“There’s a lot of little things, be it structure or trends of the game that you don’t see as much when you are out there playing the game.
“It was amazing to see how much they analyse everything in the coaches’ box.
“I’m not a great watcher of my own team when I want to be out there, I struggled watching them on the weekend, especially at the start watching them run out, I just wanted to be involved.”
Serong also had the perfect vantage point as his teammate Lachie Schultz put together a 23-disposal and two-goal performance that led to his maiden Glendinning-Allan medal as best afield.
The Freo mid believed that Schultz’s external praise didn’t always match how highly the playing group rated his efforts internally.
“It’s the way he brings his best self everyday, he does all the selfless things,” Serong said.
“He chases and tackles and does these things that don’t always get noticed externally, but internally we absolutely love him.
“He is always on the top of our list as a trademark player and a role player of the week and for him to get some reward was great.
“He just epitomises what we want to be about, he is a selfless player that will always give off to a mate in a better spot. It was a great game for him and very well deserved.”
Also impressive to Serong were young pair Neil Erasmus and Nathan O’Driscoll.
Erasmus (18 disposals, seven score involvements) made his debut in the RAC Derby, while O’Driscoll (12 disposals and a goal) played his first full AFL game after being named as the medical sub a week prior.
“It was great to see them come in on the weekend and execute their roles,” Serong said.
“They have been working really hard to understand their role, it’s pretty different playing in a structure like ours compared to school or WAFL footy.
“They have been awesome in terms of embracing that, doing what is best for the team and I think we saw on the weekend that fitted in seamlessly to the team.
“The most exciting thing was that this was their first and second games respectively, so they are building week on week and getting more confident which is exciting.”