While feeling ‘incredibly proud’ to play his 150th AFL game on Saturday when Fremantle take on the Gold Coast Suns, Reece Conca is happy to have two debutants to share the limelight with on his milestone day.
Both Brandon Walker and Joel Western will play their first AFL game, which has given Conca a chance to reflect on his career to date, playing 104 games for Richmond and 45 so far for Fremantle.
“I’ve been stuck on 149 for a few weeks but it’s great to be back in the side,” Conca said.
“It’s just a number and another game but it’s nice to reflect on the journey I’ve had and where I am now.
“I don’t like too much attention on me, I like to slip under the radar. It’s a really exciting time for Brandon and Joel so I’ll try to deflect as much attention onto those guys! A debut is just as special a moment and I’m really grateful to be a part of their journey as well.”
Conca said he’d treasured making his debut for both Richmond and Fremantle.
“I’ve had a lot of messages and video calls from players back at Richmond and family and friends. It is really nice. Some of the highlights of my career are my debut in round one against Carlton with 85,000 people there, I played in a prelim final, which was an incredible experience and I was a part of the 2017 grand final squad but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to play, but I still feel very much a part of that,” Conca said.
“My debut for Fremantle was almost like a second debut, that was great and my family and friends came to that. There’s a lot of really great experiences and for me, I’m a real people person and love building relationships and connections with guys and that’s what I will cherish most at the end of my career.”
Alongside fellow leader Alex Pearce, Conca will help guide a backline that has seen significant change with Brennan Cox, Griffin Logue and Nathan Wilson coming out and he, Pearce and Walker coming in.
“At the moment our depth is getting tested but it’s a great opportunity for guys to come in,” Conca said.
“Walks (Walker) will play down back with us and it’s really great that I’ve got the opportunity to come back and Alex Pearce will be back as well.
“It’s great to have ‘Moose’ (Pearce) back after everything he’s had to endure. I think it will be really important for myself and Alex to bring really strong leadership.
“We’ll get around Walks and all the other guys down there and I have no doubt that we’ll all play our role and we’ll collectively buy into the game plan.”