Fremantle's young gun Caleb Serong has credited his rapid development and success in the AFL to the unwavering support and guidance from his teammates, particularly close mate and midfield partner Andrew Brayshaw.

Reflecting on his whirlwind introduction to AFL football, Serong acknowledged the challenges he faced early on, including the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during his debut season.

However, he quickly learned the value of professionalism from dual Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe and Club legend David Mundy, setting the tone for his own approach to the game.

Serong credits great mate Brayshaw for breaking down the mental barriers he had imposed on himself, reflecting on the influence the 24-year-old has had on him during their relatively short time spent together on the field.

"I think I spoke about it at the Doig Medal last year, the stuff Andy did the year before as a fifth-year player (winning the Doig Medal in 2022) gave a lot of confidence to me that from a young age you don't need to wait to have an impact at AFL level." Serong said on the Better Down Back podcast.

“That gave me a lot of confidence going into the offseason and preseason about what I wanted to achieve going forward, not just in three or four years but now.

“I wasn’t putting any ceiling on what that was, and credit to Andy because he kind of broke those barriers in my own head and gave me that confidence that we can do that as young players.”



Serong’s start to the 2024 season has been nothing short of sensational, with the 23-year-old ranked as elite by champion data in over eight key stats metrics and leading the league in several major stat standings.

The young star admitted on the podcast that he was still developing his game, revealing one of the key areas of growth has been his mental approach to the game.

“I think something I’ve worked on the most is the mental side of the game and what that brings,” Serong said.

“There are so many challenges, and they change week on week, year on year and everything.

“It kind of develops and what not and I’ve done a lot of work with a sport psychologist in that space and working out both in preparation and out on the field what it looks like.”

Jordan Clark, Caleb Serong and Emma O'Driscoll on Better Down Back

Serong has also focused on backing himself more on the field, holding onto the ball longer, and embracing mistakes as part of the process of becoming a more damaging player.

Under the guidance of the coaching staff and the support of teammates, he has learned to trust his instincts and scan for options rather than rushing his disposal.

“I think early in my career I could find the footy, but I would kind of butcher it a little bit or rush myself and bang the ball forward as far as I can,” Serong said.

"That's been a big growth area and through talking a lot with JL (Justin Longmuir) and Joel Corey around just trusting myself a bit more and embracing those mistakes.

“That’s something that I’ve tried to grow in training and trying to embrace that if was to get caught holding the ball or make a mistake it’s okay because I’m doing it in the search of being a more damaging player and understanding what that looks like rather than just taking the easy option all the time.”

While acknowledging that he may not possess the blistering speed of teammate and Better Down Back podcast host Jordan Clark, Serong aims to compensate by holding onto the ball longer in traffic, testing the opposition, and creating opportunities for his teammates to exploit space.

As Serong continues to evolve and refine his game, the belief and support from his peers have proven invaluable, propelling his rapid ascent in the AFL ranks and positioning him as a key figure in Fremantle's future.