Adam Cerra goes against the grain.
In an age where players spend less and less time thinking, watching and consuming all things Australian Rules, so they’re able to switch off when they’re away from their club environments, the young Docker was the complete opposite.
“Cez is actually probably a little bit different to me,” close friend and former Eastern Ranges teammate Sam Hayes told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“He’s so driven, focussed and footy, footy, footy 24/7. I consider myself a footy person but he’s more full on, 24 hours a day. That’s just Adam. I love my footy and obviously take it very seriously but it was always in his mind.
“You hear that a lot of players today aren’t ‘footy-heads’ so to speak but Cez has always been all about footy. He’s the ultimate professional, even when he was a kid coming up.”
Hayes, now at Port Adelaide, spent a lot of time alongside Cerra at the Eastern Ranges and Vic Metro, with the pair forming a supreme ruckman/midfielder combination – a true football connection.
The duo even knew of each other pre-TAC Cup days, with Hayes representing Ferntree Gully and Cerra with Norwood in the EFL junior ranks.
Hayes was always certain Cerra would make it to the big time, even when they were playing under-15s against each other.
He was the classy midfielder or half-back, who used the footy well and, despite being a teenager, was professional in everything he did but that’s not all Cerra possessed.
“He’s a competitor and is focussed and serious,” Hayes said.
“He’s a beast but he communicates well and his leadership is first class. He leads with his actions first and foremost.”
Through traveling interstate and their football commitments, Hayes and Cerra got to know each other well.
But even outside the football environment, Hayes believes the Round 16 Rising Star nominee doesn’t stray too far from his usual character.
“He’s a bit quieter, Cez, he’s a bit reserved but he’s a smart guy, especially when it comes to his knowledge of the game. But he definitely is quiet,” Hayes added.
“He’s good for a laugh, though. We’ve had some good laughs together over the journey. He’s not laid-back or anything like that but he’s a quieter person.
“My favourite times were just laughing and joking around with him. Things like joking around in the warm up to relax before running out. When the game was set to begin, we were ready to go but those moments in the warm up at the ground were the best times.”
It hasn’t taken Cerra long to make an impact, with the 18-year-old playing 14 games so far in his debut season.
For a young person, he seems like he has it all sorted out but there’s one thing that the Victorian-born youngster hasn’t quite mastered.
“He takes banter well but I don’t know if delivering it is his strong point, though. He’s not that chirpy out on the field, either. He just goes about his business.”
Despite this, the Dockers have definitely found a young man who’ll completely immerse himself and give everything to make himself a serious player.