IF CARLTON youngster Adam Cerra wants some advice ahead of his return to Optus Stadium to meet his former side Fremantle on Saturday night, he has a couple of pretty good mentors to provide some words of wisdom.
The club's assistant coach, Aaron Hamill, spent the first six seasons and 92 games of his career with the Blues before making a high-profile switch to the Saints in 2000. He spent his next seven years and 98 games at Moorabbin.
While with St Kilda, Hamill played seven games against Carlton including two at the club's old home base at Princes Park. The heated contests at his former stomping ground taught him a thing or two about dealing with high-pressure situations.
"The only thing is, the more you're booed the more you've got the ball," Hamill laughed.
"That's what I learnt, but it was quite a hostile environment coming back here. There's been lots of changes since then, but he'll be alright. He's such a professional in what he does, he'll handle the occasion well."
Another assistant coach at Carlton, Ash Hansen, also has plenty of inside knowledge on Fremantle crowds. He spent his entire nine-year and 78-game playing career at West Coast, the club's fierce local rivals.
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Hansen played in seven Western Derbies, losing his final five consecutive matches playing against the Dockers, and believes the 22-year-old Cerra will need to prepare himself for a battle.
"Playing over there for 10 years myself, it's probably not going to be a warm reception … unless the weather is hot," Hansen said earlier this week.
"But that's understandable. He's such a mature, level-headed young man. He'll take it in his stride and he'll probably take it as a compliment if they're booing him, because it means he's missed."
Cerra spent his first four seasons and 76 games at Fremantle, but requested a move back to Victoria – and to Carlton – late last year. A trade was negotiated that saw the Blues part with pick No.6, among other assets, to secure his services.
He has made an impressive start to life at Ikon Park, winning 30 disposals to complement six clearances, six tackles and a goal on his Carlton debut against Richmond. Last week, in a victory over Port Adelaide, he finished with 32 touches and four clearances.
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But this week, up against his ex-Dockers team – who, like the Blues, have also made an impressive 4-1 start to the season – Cerra will deal with a different set of circumstances and will meet a host of familiar faces.
"Not much flusters Adam," Hamill said.
"He's your typical professional and he'll get to work and prepare the right way. He's really considered in his approach to the fanfare as well. I'm sure there's a lot of interest, but he'll attack that in the right way.
"He'll prepare well and do what he has to in order to perform for us."