While last Sunday marked James Aish’s first RAC Derby, the Fremantle defender is no stranger to a big clash against West Coast.
On Collingwood’s list for four seasons prior to joining Fremantle, Aish has faced off in big games against the Eagles, none bigger than the 2018 grand final.
Aish relished his first experience in front of a 30,000 strong home Freo crowd at Optus Stadium.
The 24-year-old showed his experience in Freo’s back-half finishing the game with 18 disposals, including nine kicks at 88.9 per cent kicking efficiency.
“It was really good, it was great to have it as a home game for us and have lot of the Freo fans there,” Aish told 6PR's Sportsday.
“I’ve played in a lot of big games against the Eagles now and they’ve been on top in most of them which is annoying but hopefully we can even it up soon.”
Aish acknowledged differences in preparation as they near the end of a two-week quarantine period upon re-entering WA after the Gold Coast hub.
“The way it is at the moment you’re largely in small groups during the week,” Aish said.
“You can sometimes get to the game and not have seen a lot of your teammates, so it’s a bit of a funny time.
“Going to the beach and going for a swim… being able to hang out with teammates a bit more…all those little things will be good.”
Aish said he was ‘excited’ about the prospect of playing on Monday night against Geelong, who have been in a WA hub for the past two weeks.
The clash will mark Freo’s first Monday night timeslot since 2011.
“They’ve been a really consistent team for a number of years now,” Aish said.
“You probably know what you’re going to get when you come up against them so it’s going to be a tough game.
“They’re a really well drilled team so it’s going to be good test for everyone, in the midfield they’ve obviously got some great players still.
“It’s very exciting…the Monday night fixture will be a good timeslot for us.”
In the absence of key Fremantle defenders Alex Pearce, Joel Hamling and Griffin Logue, Aish said the team had adopted a team focus in their defensive structure.
“We are somewhat undersized down there, but we’ve actually been handling it pretty well,” Aish said.
“We’re really looking at what we can do as a team…we’ve played a team defence structure and I think we’ve been holding up really well.
“There are challenges, but we’ll push through and try and get it done.”