There was little for Fremantle fans to cheer about in a 32-point loss against Geelong on a wet Monday at Optus Stadium, however Caleb Serong did his best to give the Purple Army hope for the future.
The 19-year-old was given the tough task of lining up on seven-time All Australian Patrick Dangerfield.
In his fifth AFL game, Serong had 22 disposals, seven tackles and a goal for the night while Dangerfield had 18 touches and three tackles.
Senior coach Justin Longmuir said post-game he believed the stocky midfielder had the ability to play on one of the AFL’s star players.
“Clearly we wanted to take Dangerfield out of the game to some degree and put some attention into him,” Longmuir said.
“I threw up Caleb. I know he’s a young man making his way in AFL footy but his body size and his strength isn’t that of a first year player.
“We were really comfortable with him going into the game on Dangerfield. I thought he limited his impact and found some possessions himself.
“He’s clearly going to be a good player for is in the future and the more experiences we can give him like this the better. I was really pleased with his effort.”
Serong said he learnt a lot from playing on Dangerfield.
“He’s an extremely powerful and big unit and he’s a great player,” Serong said.
“He’s been one of the best, players in the competition in the past few years. I learnt a lot, it was a great challenge.
“He’s very smart with the positions he gets to and he always stays in the contest and involved.
“For me, if I lapsed for a second or two, he was out and he was getting the ball. It was just that 100 per cent concentration the whole time that I learnt that he’s really good at.”
Serong kicked one of Fremantle’s two goals on the night, coming from general play on his non-preferred foot from a tight angle.
‘It was just one where you kind of get it and naturally throw it on the boot and lucky enough it sailed through,” Serong said.
“I don’t know if there was much skill to it or just a bit of luck, but I’ll take it, that’s for sure.”
Fremantle face Collingwood next Sunday at Optus Stadium and Serong said Freo would need to work hard to turn their disappointing result around.
“Obviously we knew coming into the game, the weather was going to be pretty wet. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t hold up as well as we would have liked,” Serong said.
“We have another game in six days time against a really good opposition in Collingwood so we have to front up pretty quickly and move on to them.”