Adam Cerra’s debut against Essendon in 2018 came at the start of a new era for Fremantle.
In one sense, it was Freo’s first game at their new home ground at Optus Stadium.
In another, he followed the debut of fellow top-five pick Andrew Brayshaw a week prior as Fremantle started to bring through their next crop of midfielders.
Cerra is now on the cusp of his 50th game, to be played against Collingwood at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
The 20-year-old has missed just two games on the way to 50 and credited the likes of David Mundy for leading the way when it came to playing regular football.
Mundy started his career with 124 consecutive AFL games and will play his 324th game on the same day Cerra plays his 50th.
“To be able to hit 50 games in such a short period of time, it’s been good fun and I can’t wait for the many more to come,” Cerra said.
“The most important part of that is just being durable in my first three years. I haven’t missed many games of footy to injury, touch wood.
“The goal is to continue that and get as many games as possible, continue to improve my game and win more games along the way.
“I’ve been following the leaders in the group who really set the standard. David Mundy’s been able to run out for 300-plus games, he’s someone that you really look up to, to see how they recover and get up for the next week.
“I’ve been able to learn off a few different players and how they get their body through and take bits from that.
“Being in the midfield group, with new players like Caleb Serong, Luke Valente and even myself and Andy Brayshaw. Having people like Nathan (Fyfe), Sonny (Michael Walters) and David is really important.”
Cerra’s role on game day has been one of the narratives surrounding his career to date, with the 20-year-old now enjoying more midfield responsibility after spending most of his first two seasons at half back.
He said it was important for a player to expand their skillsets early in their career.
“One position players aren’t as common anymore,” Cerra said.
“I’ve played a bit of wing this year, a bit of on ball and half back at different times.
“For a group with so many midfielders, having that versatility adds a bit of gel to the team and makes it a bit easier to get your mids playing.”
It’s those young midfielders, that include Cerra and fellow top 10 draft picks Serong and Brayshaw, that have the potential to develop into a formidable engine room in the years to come.
“It’s super exciting. I guess you look at the midfield at the moment, we’ve got experience in Sonny, Dave and Nath but after that there’s Sean Darcy, Blake Acres, James Aish and guys like Luke Valente, Mitch Crowden, Andrew, myself and Tucks (Darcy Tucker),” Cerra said.
“In five years time we’ll be even more experienced, we’ll have built our bodies even more and I think we’re really set up really strongly for the future.”
Cerra said he considered Freo’s comeback win against St Kilda in round six to be among his career highlights so far.
“My debut game obviously stands out quite a bit, not just for being my first game but also the first game at Optus,” Cerra said.
“We got a really good win against Essendon and the Purple Army came out that night an I was amazed by that.
“We’ve had a couple of good wins on the road, we beat the Giants last year in Canberra, that was one of my favourite wins, and then the comeback this year against St Kilda was pretty special, especially a good way to finish the hub in the Gold Coast.”