Ethan Hughes’ friends and family were the first to tell the athletic defender that he had been drafted to Fremantle back in 2014.

On a flight back from Bali, Hughes was in the air when Fremantle called out his name in the 2014 Rookie Draft, only to find out upon landing hours later.

Hughes took his bag and headed straight to the football club from Perth Airport.

“I missed the national draft and then flew to Bali that night,” Hughes said.

“I was planning to come back on the rookie draft day anyway and by the time I flew back in (to Perth), I turned my phone off flight mode and found out I was coming to Freo.

“I wheeled the suitcase straight in (to the club) and got to work.

“It’s something I will never take for granted and the experience of going straight from the airport to the club is something I’ll never forget.”

While they may not all be Freo supporters, the Hughes family share a tight-knit bond.

But there’s one family member the Freo defender has saved a soft spot for.

“The whole family are West Coast supporters, but I’ve converted the nephew over which is great,” Hughes said.

“He’s got the number 15 on his back running around at Auskick, and he went out and bought the same footy boots that I wear so that’s a little special connection that we’ve got.”

Hughes is relishing the opportunity to be a role model as an AFL player, and believes it will hold him in good stead when he eventually transitions to life after football.

“It’s something I’m looking forward to after football,” Hughes said.

“I’m planning to be a school teacher, so working with kids like my nephew is a good way to build my skills.

“Hopefully, I can translate those skills into my life after football.” 

Hughes is enjoying a consistent 2019 season and has played 18 games for Fremantle this year.

“I’m just trying to build myself each week and continue to develop,” Hughes said.

“I’ve had a process all year which I believe in myself and I’ve got belief in my ability.

“If I just stick to my process and my individual preparation each week, it’s going to keep me in good stead.”