Caleb Serong says Fremantle have the belief to challenge the top teams that await in Freo’s run home in 2021.
After a resounding 62-point win against Hawthorn on Saturday at UTAS Stadium, Fremantle currently sit seventh on the ladder, however West Coast, GWS and Richmond both have a game in hand to move up if they win tomorrow.
All of Fremantle’s remaining opponents are either in the eight or within reach of finals with games against Geelong (home), Sydney (away), Richmond (home), Brisbane (home), West Coast (home) and St Kilda (away) to wrap up the season.
Freo have navigated a three-game run interstate with wins against the Hawks and Collingwood, and Serong said the playing group had the belief to keep their good form going.
“I think all the boys are really excited to go back to their families and loved ones,” Serong said.
“I think it’s been a really good two weeks, obviously last week (against Carlton) wasn’t the result we wanted but I think we played some really good footy.
“It just shows that with some disruptions, we still prepared really well and performed on the weekend.”
The next test comes after a five-day break with Freo taking on Geelong at Optus Stadium for the Starlight Purple Haze Game, proudly presented by South32.
Serong earned a NAB Rising Star nomination in the previous meeting between the two sides but the Cats dominated in a 32-point win in the wet.
The 20-year-old believes that Fremantle are a better team this time around and can challenge their highly-ranked opponents.
“It was quite disappointing last year, obviously the weather in Perth at the moment, it might be a bit wet, similar kind of conditions to what we played them in last year,” Serong said.
“I’ve got no doubt we’ll be a lot more prepared than we were last year and hopefully play a lot better brand of footy.
“I think the boys are in a lot better shape at the moment than we were at least year. I think we’re really excited to get on the five-day break, get back home and play some good footy in front of our fans on Thursday night.”
Serong had a career-high 10 clearances to go with his 30 disposals against Hawthorn as he banks another impressive performance in just his 30th AFL game.
He was full of praise for the efforts of the whole midfield, led by Nat Fyfe (31 disposals, one goal) in his 200th game.
“It was nice to get the hands on the footy, it’s nice to be around the ball a bit more,” Serong said.
“I was really happy and all the midfield boys played really well. We were really strong around the stoppage and I think we showed some positive signs.
“Nat was fantastic, he’s always a bull inside and for him to go forward and take a few marks and stand on a couple of heads was great. It was vintage Nat Fyfe. To see him playing his best footy is great and he makes our team a better team.
“Sean (Darcy) was great. He’s just gone from strength to strength. He’s playing some really good footy at the moment. David Mundy keeps getting better. All the rest of the midfielders were great, Andy (Brayshaw), Cez (Adam Cerra) – then we had the guys up forward, Switta (Sam Switkowski) made the most of his opportunities, it was great to have Banners (Bailey Banfield) back in the side and obviously Rory Lobb kicking a few goals, he was great up there as well.”
Serong added it was important to deliver for the captain’s milestone game.
“Nat’s one of, if not the best Fremantle Dockers player of all time,” Serong said.
“What he’s done for the club and the AFL has been unbelievable and what he’s done for us young boys especially the midfielders who have come through in the past couple years.
“I’ve learnt so much from him and I’ve no doubt that I’ll continue to learn from him. He’s a great role model for all the Freo players, especially the young guys.”