After being drafted with pick No.59 in the 2018 AFL Draft, Fremantle’s Brett Bewley uprooted his life and moved from Victoria to Western Australia to fulfil his AFL dream. The 24-year-old midfielder took the opportunity to reflect on his debut in the Dockers’ thrilling one-point victory over Brisbane.
When I was told I would be making my AFL debut, I was pretty happy. Actually, happy is an understatement – I was ecstatic!
Two minutes before our final team meeting on Friday I chatted with the match committee and they told me they weren’t too sure which way they were going to go with the extended squad but that my name was in the mix.
I walked down the hallway and into the meeting room to see Peter Bell standing in front of the room, where he then told the playing group I’d be making my debut. The coaching staff had done a great job keeping the secret from me but it was a pleasant surprise.
Knowing that I was going to make the debut also came with a level of relief. I didn’t get my chance at AFL level when I was 18 and came through a different pathway with the VFL.
It was quite the spectacle running onto the ground in front of a Fremantle home crowd.
You’re coming onto the field from the race, which is the section of the stadium where the members are located, to the sound of drums and pyrotechnics surrounding the field – it’s a pretty crazy experience.
Getting my first touch early on helped settle my nerves. Andy Brayshaw fed one out to me from a stoppage, which allowed me to get on the stats sheet.
In the first quarter I spent a fair bit of time on the ground which helped me to get my hands on the footy and allow me to focus on my work rate and getting to the contests.
The whole experience was a bit of a blur but the final moments are clear in my memory. When ‘Sonny’ Walters marked the ball I looked up at the scoreboard to see where we were positioned heading into the final minutes.
I had no idea what the score was and was surprised to see it was a draw!
When the siren went at 25 minutes with the ball in Sonny’s hands, I felt comfortable he was going to score.
In those moments Sonny and ‘Barra’ (David Mundy) are the players you want to have the ball in their hands.
When the ball hit the post, my emotions were flowing and I was pretty overwhelmed. Being Sir Doug Nicholls Round the game ending couldn’t have gone any more to script.
I was fortunate to lead my teammates off the ground after such an emphatic win and walk into the rooms to see my parents and family there supporting me. I was holding back the emotions as I saw mum in tears and dad with a big grin on his face.
For the boys to support me in the way they did in the lead up to, and after, the game was unbelievable.
I still feel like I’m washing Gatorade off me after singing the song!
The past few months have been a whirlwind and it was a big move from Victoria to WA, but Fremantle was incredibly supportive in facilitating the move for my partner, Sarah, and I.
I moved in with Lachie Schultz, who was also drafted from Williamstown, which made life a little bit easier. Having a familiar face here from the start has gone a long way in making me feel comfortable from my first day.
At 24, there was a level of self-doubt in my mind but to finally get my chance was overwhelming.
For my first two seasons at Williamstown, I was plodding away in the Development League (which is no longer operational) and not really sure what direction my football was going to take me in or if I was even good enough to play VFL seniors, let alone make it onto an AFL list.
I stuck to my guns, building my relationships with the senior players and coaches, particularly coach Andy Collins, and got to work to give myself the best opportunity to fulfil my dream of making it to the AFL.
To be here now and have the opportunity to be in the position I am with Fremantle means the world.
It’s a privileged position to be on an AFL list and I want to make sure I give myself the best chance to play as many games as possible and contribute to a successful team.