It’s rare to captain an AFL side, even in a pre-season game, so defender Reece Conca was sure to make the most of the experience when he led Freo to a Marsh Community Series win against Carlton on Saturday.
While it was with tongue-in-cheek when he called on his teammates to harness their ‘purple energies’ in his pre-game speech, Conca took his leadership role seriously as the only available member of Freo’s six-man leadership group to run out at David Greys Arena.
“It was obviously a great experience to captain the side. It’s something that I’ve never really had an opportunity to do before but I’m incredibly grateful for that,” Conca said.
“It was a different build-up for me individually but once we were out there, it was good to just play some football again and I thought the boys played really well.
“It was really intense early, like most pre-season games and then it became a bit more free flowing.”
While Conca feels he gained a lot from the experience, he was looking forward to having Nat Fyfe back for their second Marsh series game against West Coast this Saturday at HBF Arena.
“Nat’s an incredible captain and he got voted in for a reason but it was a nice little snippet of what it’s like to be a captain,” Conca said.
“It was a new opportunity for me and it was a great experience and it’s good to be a part of the leadership group and be one of the guys next to Nat to help him through.”
While Conca was pleased with the efforts of Freo’s younger players, he thought Rory Lobb stood out for the day.
Lobb played the first half as a key forward and then moved into the ruck for the second half, collecting 23 disposals, 18 hitouts, 11 contested possessions, six inside 50s, five contested marks and a goal.
“I thought Rory was really exceptional,” Conca said.
“It was the best game I’ve seen him play, definitely as a Docker. That’s really encouraging for him and the team.
“It was a great game for our young guys to really show their strengths and really take their opportunities.
“I thought Michael Frederick off the bench was unbelievable and Mitch Crowden the same.
“Our young guys had extra minutes through the midfield, Adam Cerra and Andy Brayshaw were both great and Lachie Schultz up forward was spectacular.”