The season has begun, and the good news is, at least one club that wears the purple appears to be on track for a massive 2018.
The Fremantle Phantoms got their new season campaign officially underway on Sunday at Anniversary Park down Rockingham way.
And despite some serious questions hanging over the Fremantle lads after an indifferent preparation, lack of pre-season game practice and a raft of new debutants, the Phantoms sent a clear and defined message to the entire competition – We're back baby!
Having prepared well for our encounter in Rocko, acclimatising ourselves to the local customs with our Bogan Bingo season launch the previous week, our newly abridged two team club took to the grass like pigs to crap.
First up the senior lads took on the home ground hosts, ably coached by club stalwart Peter “Wilko” Wilkinson again in 2018, and looked every bit of a well oiled machine leaving Wilko not much to do.
The newly promoted “seniors” of the side slotted into their new category like we drop to cans on a Wednesday night, effortlessly fitting into the team and boosting the side in several key areas.
Former master Dean “Romma” Romaniello did his best impression of a Gary Ablett Geelong return, seemingly racking up enough touches to give the locals at The Swinging Pig something to aim for next Friday night.
The wily centreman having to make a visit to Fiona Stanley on the return trip home to be treated for leather poisoning.
Up front, it was a memorable return to everyone's favourite D, Grant “Nello” Nelson, after spending 2017 on the sidelines through injury, the big man spent most of round one kicking majors.
It was a tough standard set from the senior boys, a high bar for the supers to follow especially with a new look supers side choc full of AFL Masters debutants, and under the guidance of newly appointed coach Burke Austin - they had much to live up too.
No less than seven new Phantoms took the to field to take on Rossmoyne, along with several “new” supers who migrated from masters ranks.
An unmissable performance from Matt “Yet to be nicknamed” Hobley running out of half back, and a veteran like game from Frank “Silver Fox” Mofflin at full back, set up what will surely be two steller AFL Masters careers.
And game busting performances from Brett “Bretto” Duke, and David “JC” Tempest were sights to see, Bretto seemingly the everywhere man throughout the contest filling holes and plugging gaps as the side's foundation across half back.
Almin “Big Al” Fulurja, Jamie “Jimmy” Connelly and Mark “Azza” Azzopardi joined their new supers teammates for the win, while a special mention also must go to the return of our effervescent ruckman.
While the West Coast lauded the return of their big man for round one, it was slightly more sweeter for the Phantoms, with the return to the park of Chris “Stringer/Wilko” Wilkinson. Our big ruckman taking to the field after a 42 week absence and a successful campaign against the big C.
So round one done, and two solid non-offical wins on the non-existent scoreboard. The extreamly successful debut of new seniors, supers and a raft of AFL Masters first gamers.