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First Year Reflections: Cerra

Adam Cerra chats about his debut game, Monday night dinners and his relationship with Ross Lyon. Adam Cerra reflects on his first season at the club

After a stand out first season in the AFL, which saw him receive a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination and play all but one game Adam Cerra chats about his debut game, Monday night dinners and his relationship with Ross Lyon. 

Take us back to your debut game, how was the lead up?
Round two was our first game at Optus Stadium and we were playing the Bombers. I debuted with Mitch Crowden, and I remember we both found out on the Wednesday. There was a big build up to the game as it was out first game and my nerves were very high I just wanted to get into it. I don’t remember much of the game, it goes by pretty quickly. I just remember little flashes. To get the win was amazing and the boys were awesome, they really got around us young guys and helped settle our nerves. Being able to sing the song after the game was a moment I won’t forget.

What about your first goal?
I remember I was free on the open 50 and Ballantyne kicked it to me. Ballas still reminds me of that, that I owe him a couple of goals. I’ll always remember my first goal.

In the first few minutes of the game I had an opportunity but missed a shot on goal. I was probably going back and soaking it all in and looking around. I hadn’t played in front of a crowd that big before and there was so much noise. I was a bit timid going back and was hoping I wouldn’t spray it and embarrass myself. 

It would have been cool to kick my first goal with my first kick but for another opportunity to come around not too soon after was pretty good.

Tell us about your relationship with Ross
Ross has been massive, he has really embraced the young group that we have, he understands that it will take time. He has used the phrase ‘not yet’ a lot recently. We aren’t quite where we want to be at the moment but not yet means we will get there. There’s a lot of work and development to do. Ross has been really patient with us young guys if we’re not performing he will keep giving us a crack and stand by our side. He has taken players out to dinner and breakfast and is really committed to building those relationships.

What about Monday night dinners at Alex Pearce’s house?
At the start of the year I lived with Alex Pearce for a couple of weeks, then I moved out with a host family but for the majority of the season I went to Alex’s once a week on a Monday night for dinner. He gave me a few tips on how to cook, and I have started to take a bit more responsibility at dinner. Last time I went there Alex cooked the entrée and Hugh Dixon and I were on the mains. They aren’t bad feeds.

How important has it been to have Alex initiating those dinners?
I have my friends back in Melbourne that I still keep in touch with but to have that group of guys you can still hang out with away from the football club is really important. Alex is from Tasmania so he’s away from home so is Andy Brayshaw and Hugh Dixon. We spend a lot of time together, we have almost made our own little friendship group away from the footy field. We try and help each other out a lot. 

What are your plans for the off-season?
I’m planning on going to Japan for 10 days at the end of September.  I haven’t been over there before so it should be a bit of an experience. I’ll go home and spend some time with family and friends then I’ll be back in November and be ready go to for pre-season.

What’s been one of the biggest learnings you have taken out of your first AFL season?
Probably the big focus you have on recovery and treatment during the season. In the second half of the year I played a lot of footy and my body started to get fatigued. That’s when I realised the importance of doing all the little things, getting in the ice baths, treatment from physios, just doing everything you can to get your body right so you can perform to the best of your ability on the weekend.

This has been the first full season of footy you have played for a few years, how pleasing has that been for you?
Two years ago I only played half a season of footy due to a knee injury and then last year I had a shoulder operation in the back half of the year. This year I was really pleased to get a full season in and not get injured, it’s something I haven’t done for a few years so to see my body get through it all and still be able to produce some good footy was really pleasing.

What’s your focus for pre-season 2019?
I know the young players will keep developing every week. I hope to get bigger and fitter to be able to run out games better. I’m really looking forward to getting through a big pre-season and heading into 2019 bigger and stronger.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs