Fremantle have added a fourth debutant to their ranks with Mitch Crowden getting the call up to play in Freo’s first AFL game at Optus Stadium against Essendon on Saturday night.
The no.59 pick at the 2017 NAB AFL National Draft will run out alongside no.5 pick Adam Cerra as Freo’s round two debutants, joining no.2 pick Andrew Brayshaw and rookie Bailey Banfield as the club’s four debutants so far this season.
Crowden was informed on Thursday morning by general manager of football operations Chris Bond.
It was a call that the 18-year-old had been hoping for after senior coach Ross Lyon said on Channel 7 News on Tuesday that Fremantle would play Cerra, and potentially another debutant, against Essendon.
“It feels amazing! I got the call this morning and kept it together on the phone. Once I got off the phone I must admit I was pretty excited,” Crowden said.
“We (Fremantle’s first-year players) were talking a little bit about what Ross said on Tuesday.
“The whole Wednesday, no-one got a phone call, so I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen. I woke up this morning and got the call so I’m pretty thrilled.”
After watching Brayshaw and Banfield make their debuts in round one against Port Adelaide, Cerra says he can’t wait to join them at Optus Stadium.
“We all came to Freo in the same year so seeing their dreams come true last week was unreal. I can’t wait for Mitch and I to do the same this weekend,” Cerra said.
“It’s going to be unreal. Pumping noise at Optus Stadium and everyone cheering. Hopefully there’ll be a full crowd.
“I can’t wait to get out there with my teammates. It’s been a good pre-season together.”
After a taste of the action in the AFLX, Crowden says his main goal on Saturday is to apply pressure on the Bombers.
The stocky South Australian earned comparisons to teammate Lachie Neale in his draft year, standing at 175cm and weighing 87kg.
“I played in the AFLX, that gave me a good idea, just to show me what the bodies are going to be like at AFL level,” Crowden said.
“My expectations are just to tackle hard and put the pressure on. It’s going to be a fast, hard contest. Essendon looked really good last week with their new recruits.
“They’ve got a bit of pace about them, so we’re expecting a high-speed game and it’s at Optus Stadium so it should be good fun.”
Crowden says he’ll seek out members of Fremantle’s leadership group for advice.
“I’ll go and have a chat to Nat Fyfe or Lachie Neale. They seem like pretty calm heads and they’ve done it all, so they’re two good people to talk to,” Crowden said.
“On game day, I’ll take the more relaxed route. I’m a pretty relaxed sort of guy when it comes to footy, so I’ll keep calm and just get ready to play.”
Crowden is also expecting his parents to make the trip from the family farm in Meadows, 50km south east of Adelaide, as well as his siblings, girlfriend and uncles.
The family’s prized cattle will hold the fort.
“Yeah they’ll be fine, the cows will be alright,” Crowden said.