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United by Purple

Conca brings Tiger perspective to Freo

Reece Conca addressed the media on Tuesday. Reece Conca talks to the media for the first time in purple.

Reece Conca believes he can stamp some of Richmond's vaunted culture on Fremantle next season, after being part of the Tigers' transformation from pretenders to contenders. 

Conca spent eight years at Punt Road and relished the turnaround in the success-starved club's fortunes over the past two seasons.

After frustrating September failures under Damien Hardwick, the Tigers placed an emphasis on building deeper emotional connections at the club and clinched a drought-breaking flag in 2017 before finishing top of the ladder this year.

Conca missed out on the premiership triumph due to injury but saw first-hand the difference a strong culture made. 

The 26-year-old was unveiled in purple alongside fellow recruit Travis Colyer for the first time on Tuesday after his free agency switch back to WA, and was keen to import part of Richmond's recipe for success to Freo. 

"At Richmond, we put a lot of emphasis on that the last two years and developed a really good culture," Conca said.

"That's something that all footy clubs need to have in place. It's one thing I want to really develop.

"I'm excited to bring some new things and work with this playing group, coaches and footy club as a whole.

"(At Richmond) we brought in some really quality players, some really quality people in the football department area and it was just a whole buy-in from the playing group, a lot of positivity.

"You could ramble on about a whole host of things, but it's just bringing that all together and then just reverting that onto the footy field as well.

"There's definitely a lot of learnings I've taken from even the eight years at Richmond, and I'm just super excited to come here and stamp me into this club, on and off the field." 

While Conca has left a club squarely in premiership contention, Colyer made the difficult decision to depart Essendon ahead of a 2019 campaign when the Bombers are expected to challenge for the top four.

The speedy wingman/forward was on holiday in Hawaii for most of the NAB AFL Trade Period and made the bittersweet call to come home to Perth two days before the deadline.

"Now the dust has settled, there's that element of emotion leaving a club that has gone through a lot and we've been through a lot, particularly with the playing group and where they're transitioning into now," he said.

"But to come home and have that support network of family and friends and to come to a club such as Fremantle in terms of the position it's in moving forward, that's something that was too good to say no to."

Both Conca and Colyer, 27 have signed three-year deals at Freo, with both insistent they haven't hit their peaks yet.

Conca made 104 appearances in eight years for the Tigers after battling myriad injury woes – including a dislocated ankle this season. 

Colyer has been restricted to 87 games, partly due to issues with both feet.

"I firmly believe my best football is still ahead of myself," he said.

"I've obviously had a year off, a few injuries on the back side of those years and the age I'm at now where my body is physically, I'm really ready to play consistent AFL football.

"For me I think it's just consistency, and it's playing week-in, week-out. It's putting my body in a position that will allow me to do that. I'm feeling really confident, where I'm at. 

"You push yourself now and you give it everything, you don't want to be walking out (at the end of your career) going 'what if?'."

Conca, who is likely to play roles across half-back and midfield in Lachie Neale's absence, said his body felt "fantastic" and he hopes to help push Freo back to finals after three years outside the top eight.

"People probably forget that Fremantle played in a Grand Final not so many years ago and there's still a lot of core players from that," he said. 

"I'm just really excited, especially with the guys we've brought in as well – Trav, Jesse (Hogan) and Rory (Lobb). 

"I can speak for all of us that we just want to come here and play our role and get back to finals and some good success."

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