Gun Freo midfielder Will Brodie has described what it was like growing up as a Fremantle fan in his hometown of Shepparton in Victoria, as well as being at Gold Coast alongside fellow Shepparton product Michael Barlow after idolising him as a junior.
A guest in the latest episode of Old Bull, Young Buck with David Mundy and Griffin Logue, Brodie was asked about what drew him to be an east coast Freo fan.
“It was Mick. I don't know how old I was, I was really young when he started but I jumped on the bandwagon,” Brodie said.
“I liked being a bit different and being a Freo supporter in Shep, everyone's asking 'why you going for them, why are you wearing purple?'.
“It was just something different and he (Barlow) was good to watch.”
When he was drafted by Gold Coast at no.9 in the 2016 National Draft, Brodie said his admiration for Barlow suddenly felt awkward, especially when he had a poster and framed jumper of the midfielder on his wall back home.
“I had his jersey and he signed it when I was playing the under 12s, when we were in Perth,” Brodie said.
“Because he's from Shep, someone got in contact asking him to sign my jersey and I got it framed.
“When I was drafted I moved out of home, so the first time I got back to Shep I was like 'gee I better take this down, it's a bit weird sleeping with this bloke on my wall!'”
Even being a part of the Purple Army didn’t prepare Brodie for what it would be like to play his home games at Optus Stadium.
He and Mundy recalled a conversation earlier in the season after Fremantle’s round two clash with St Kilda that had a 50 per cent cap on attendance.
“I remember it was after one of those games earlier in the season and we were in the showers and Will was talking about the crowd and how noisy it is and how hard it is to communicate, how great the energy was and how much pop you get from it,” Mundy said.
“I think we had like 28,000 at that game. I remember actually saying, ‘if we get on a run and we have an ok season then you wait, it'll get crazier and crazier than it was that night’.”
Brodie said he wasn’t prepared for how difficult it would be to communicate with his teammates.
“It's pretty surreal to be honest, it took me a little while to take it all in and process it all,” Brodie said.
“The first few games, you're trying to talk to blokes this close and you're yelling and you can't hear them.
“It’s pretty impressive, I think it was the North Melbourne game we were humming and I'm sitting on the bench and the Mexican Wave was going around the stadium and I was just sitting on the bench going wow, this is incredible.
“I'd never seen anything like it really, it was pretty special.”
Ahead of Fremantle’s clash with Carlton on Saturday at Marvel Stadium, Mundy said the players also noticed the love from their interstate supporters.
“It's not just Optus Stadium, like when we played Melbourne at the MCG, there was a big Fremantle contingent there and I was actually surprised at how many,” Mundy said.
“After the game the Melbourne fans had obviously filed out but the Fremantle faithful were still there and we got around to different parts of the ground and it was pretty heavy.
“This week we head to Marvel, playing Carlton. We want our Victorian based Purple Army to get behind us, Will in particular, as he is absolutely dominating.”