Three weeks ago, Nathan Freeman bought a 1990’s white Jeep.
Many of his teammates have ridden shotgun in the manual car, which is an example of Freeman forging happy memories and establishing connections – an area he shines at.
Being exposed to the AFL level straight out of high-school, going through the difficulties of persistent injuries and his work with Connors Sports means he understands the importance of creating an inclusive culture.
“I’ve got a natural inclination to gravitate towards the younger blokes and make sure that they transition into VFL football as quickly as possible,” Freeman said.
“The big thing is instilling belief in the boys that we can make some waves in the competition now and we’ve got the talent, we’ve just to put a lot of hard work in and have the belief in ourselves that we can win games.
“It’s just the blokes we’ve got at the club are keen and hungry to learn and the buy in from the boys we’ve got here now is so high and I feed off it.
At training, you will scarcely find a player who laughs, buzzes and is as animated as Freeman.
Part of what he loves is working with younger midfielders- a factor he sees as crucial to improving Frankston’s depth.
“I like one on one style leadership, like taking a young bloke aside and having a one-on-one conversation or on the track pulling a bloke aside, give him some encouragement with what they’re doing really well.
“It’s just about being personal and upbeat and not overcomplicating things, just letting them play their footy and play to their strengths as much as I can.
Wingman Connor Riley says Freeman has been instrumental in teaching running patterns.
“He’s got good insight into this level and what to expect which has given me a lot of confidence to go about my business, by getting in my ear when I’m going well and telling me to move on when I’m not,” Riley said.
“It’s really reassuring to hear that from a senior figure.”
By Jonty Ralphsmith