For any debutant, the jumper presentation is always a special moment and for Fremantle pair Joel Western and Brandon Walker, theirs was no exception.
The Fremantle playing group joined coaches and staff on Friday morning, gathering together to witness Walker and Western receive the playing guernseys they will wear at Optus Stadium on Saturday afternoon against Gold Coast.
Former coach of Freo’s Next Generation Academy Tendai Mzungu, spoke candidly about the debutants as he presented them with the guernseys.
Mzungu said he could see the right attributes in Western from the moment he first entered the Next Generation Academy program in 2017.
“It’s been a great journey…and it’s been about more than just your football,” Mzungu said.
“The way you approached the program, you asked a lot of questions and were very diligent and always sought feedback.
“You developed over time and then forced an opportunity for yourself through hard work and consistent form at (WAFL club) Claremont… you came to Freo and really haven’t missed a beat.
“It’s certainly a great sign of your upbringing and your incredible family.”
Mzungu said the excitement will come as he watches Western run out with his teammates.
“You have got to this level now where you have all your brothers behind you, the staff, your family and your colleagues are behind you,” Mzungu said.
“It will be really exciting to see you run out and all we ask from you is to bring your weapons.
“You are lightning quick, really clean over the ball and hard at the contest, so just enjoy the day.”
Mzungu spoke on Walker’s football development and credited his strong character traits for putting himself in a position to debut at the top level.
“As everyone here knows, you always have a smile on your face and you have always been looking to get better,” Mzungu said.
“Your footy journey probably took a little bit longer with your game education, but the way that you have come in and been able to execute your role on game day is a real credit to you.
“Well done to you mate and to the family and the way you’ve been brought up.
“You’re a warm, friendly character and on game day I just want you to be a beast and bring your strengths.
“You are quick, and you are a good team man and we can’t wait to see you play your role on the weekend.”