Starlight Ambassador Bailey Banfield has timed his return from injury to perfection, with the forward excited to once again play in the Starlight Purple Haze Game, proudly presented by South32.
The 23-year-old played his first AFL game of the season last week, kicking a career-high three goals in Freo’s 62-point win against Hawthorn in Launceston.
Now he and Freo have returned home to face Geelong at Optus Stadium on Thursdaynight in a clash that will shape Freo’s season.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity and to do it at home in front of our fans and give them that experience as well as us is awesome,” he said.
“For the Starlight game as well it’s an important opportunity for us to spread that message across the country as well. It’s an exciting opportunity for the footy club and everyone involved.”
Fremantle will pay tribute to superfan Milli Lucas at the game, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 14 following a long battle with cancer.
The theme of the night is Forever 14, with Fremantle wearing a specially designed jumper by Milli’s brother Joel and sister Tess.
Banfield helped make Joel and Tess feel welcome at the Club yesterday, where the Lucas family came down to watch the boys train in the jumper and let Joel take part in the warm-up.
“To wear the jumper they designed is pretty special,” Banfield said.
“It’s probably my favourite game of the year.
“Having the kids come through the Club and then on game day as well is always special and you get to meet some awesome people, families and kids. To be able to help them as well is awesome.”
Banfield said Freo have business to take care of on the field, needing a win against the third-placed Geelong to ensure they stay in the top eight.
“We know they’re a physical team. We’re expecting them to come out and take the game to us but we’re prepared for that,” Banfield said.
“We’ve just got to bring our best footy. If we can control that and do what we know we can do best, the result will take control of itself.
“We’re in the eight at the moment and that’s exciting for Fremantle fans and for us but we’ve got to look after what we can control, keep winning and that will take care of itself.
“We know that our best footy is capable of matching it with the best so we need to bring that every week.”
Make every goal count for sick kids!
Pledge a donation for every goal Freo kick in our Starlight Purple Haze game against Geelong and help brighten the lives of sick kids.PLEDGE
This year is the 19th annual Starlight Purple Haze, with Fremantle fans, players and staff raising more than $1.8 million for Starlight since 2003.
The fundraising drive for this year’s game will be through the “Fans Pledge” platform, where fans pledge a donation for every goal Freo kick in the game. South32 will match the donations dollar for dollar (up to $50k).