Exciting Fremantle pair Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson are striving to help steer Freo towards success.
The duo joined Brandon Walker this week in signing fresh contract extensions to secure the next few seasons playing for Fremantle.
Making his debut against West Coast last weekend, Erasmus got his first taste at AFL level and impressed enough to retain his spot in the side for this Saturday’s Starlight Purple Haze Game, proudly presented by South32.
The 18-year-old credited Nat Fyfe, Caleb Serong, Andy Brayshaw and Alex Pearce as some of the teammates who have helped him over the pre-season to drive the standards required at AFL level.
“Being in the midfield there have been a few influences on my game, Andy and Caleb are really good leaders,” Erasmus said.
“Nat has been out with his injuries, but he is a great leader and I look up to ‘Moose’ (Pearce) as a leader too.
“The Club is amazing, all the staff and the facilities are really good, I’ve been really impressed.
“I couldn’t ask for better teammates and mates on and off the field. They are really serious footballers and off the field they are really good blokes.”
Johnson’s pre-season period was vastly different to that of Erasmus, struck down by an ankle injury that has seen the classy midfielder in rehab for the past few months.
Living with Heath Chapman, Hayden Young and Liam Henry, Johnson said he had drawn upon their own experiences with injury to help him through the rehab process.
“I’m pretty lucky that the boys I live with in Liam, Heath and Hayden have all sort of had leg injuries in the past,” Johnson said.
“I sort of turn to them a little bit and see how they got through, having those boys to look after me around the house and around the Club has made it a lot easier.
“I’ve been really fortunate in that regard.”
Despite being sidelined, Johnson has used the opportunity to take a closer look at the game of Fremantle leader and ball-winning midfielder Andy Brayshaw, to try and improve upon his own game.
Johnson also acknowledged that watching Erasmus make his debut at the weekend, helped install some faith that his own AFL berth may not be too far away.
“I do a lot for work with Andy and looking at his footage,” Johnson said.
“While I can’t play, I can watch some of his games. All the boys have been super supportive, and the midfield group as a whole really pushes me along.
“Seeing Neil get an opportunity this early in the season, he did a really good job and played his role really well.
“It gave me a little bit of faith that once I’m fit, I can put my name up for selection and, hopefully, get a game too.”