From the opening bounce to the final siren, both Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne found little to celebrate in a 32-point loss to Essendon at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

But the evening was saved by an incredible reception from the home fans as the Fremantle legends bid farewell to the Purple Army.

The clash is very likely to be their final game for Fremantle. Sandilands is set to retire after 18 years at the club, and the duo have been teammates since Ballantyne joined the club 11 seasons ago.

Michael Walters’ 150th game also added to the occasion, however Fremantle failed to deliver on the night.

Both Sandilands and Ballantyne felt mixed feelings after a rousing reception during a lap of honour.

“It’s a really weird feeling at the moment,” Sandilands said.

“I can’t thank our supporters enough. They made it a really special moment, being able to walk out on the oval with the girls and have a bit of closure.

“They’ve ridden every bump along the way. Being there tonight, to be able to wave goodbye and to hear the roar from them, it’s still puts hairs up on the back of the neck.

“They’re the ones who really made the night for us.”

Ballantyne said that he was feeling the hurt from the loss.

“It’s bitterly disappointing that we didn’t get the result because there is no next week really,” Ballantyne said.

“That was a really special moment. It was great that they got around me, Aaron, ‘Sonny’ and the whole team for a big night.

“It’s thanks for the 11 years of love and support. They really sent us off with a huge standing ovation.

“It was really special so thanks to all of them, family friends, everyone who has had some involvement in my career and helped along the way.”