Blake Acres went from being a first round draft pick to a sweetener in the Bradley Hill trade in his first six seasons at St Kilda, joining Fremantle in a trade alongside the pick Freo used to draft Caleb Serong.
Now in his eighth season, Acres is realising the potential that saw him drafted among the AFL’s best talents back in 2013, and the 26-year-old has credited Fremantle’s coaching and a hard summer of extras on him delivering his best season to date.
Speaking in the Old Bull, Young Buck podcast, Acres admitted he felt disappointment at things not working out at St Kilda, but quickly embraced life in purple.
“I was always hoping to be a one-club player and I had a lot of really close relationships with the Saints. I always wanted to have success there,” Acres said.
“When you get to a club, you learn about the history and you meet a lot of people, you meet Saints people - as you do at Freo, you meet all the Freo family and that passion really grows.”
As well as having the opportunity to play in front of his friends and family, Acres has relished the opportunities to embed himself on the wing after playing a mix of defence and midfield at St Kilda.
“It was a really good opportunity for me to come home and cement a spot, hopefully, on the wing here and build my career in front of my family and friends,” Acres said.
“I couldn't really turn that down and I've loved the move ever since, it's been something that I've really appreciated...playing on the wing, I'm loving it.”
Acres strong season to date is highlighted by his efforts in Fremantle’s win against Geelong, where he was awarded nine coaches’ votes for his 27 disposals and a goal.
He feels his hard work on his running in the off-season has paid off.
“I had a really good focus in the offseason of just building that tank to another level,” Acres said.
“We had a group of four of us, me, Darcy Tucker, Lachie Schultz and big Sean (Darcy). We'll always get down and do our running sessions together and we try to group up with guys like Andy Brayshaw and Caleb Serong at times when we try to get a bigger group.
“I like to run a lot in games, but I felt like I was fatiguing a little bit when I was getting to contests. I wanted to make that a standout of mine and something I could really lean on throughout games, my running my fitness.
“That was a big focus and JL (Senior Coach Justin Longmuir) made a clear role for me, what I needed to do each week.
“Some weeks I'm going to have a bit of the footy other weeks it might just look like a smaller game stats wise, but I know what I have to do to help the team and I've been trying to do that each game.”