After one of the more talked about AFL debuts in recent memory, St Kilda midfielder Nathan Freeman is looking forward to just being normal.
The No.10 draft pick at the 2013 draft (selected by Collingwood) put years of hamstring-related heartache behind him when he ran out for the Saints at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
The evening didn't go to script - the Western Bulldogs scored a come-from-behind 35-point win - but the 23-year-old gathered 19 possessions off a wing and got through unscathed.
"I've been reminded of a lot of different things during the week that I've gone through but it's good just to get out there," Freeman told reporters after the match.
"I'm just a normal footballer now going out (to play) then trying to back it up every week.
"It was good to get my hands on it and get a few kicks ... hopefully I didn't stuff it up too much."
Freeman admitted to more than a few nerves ahead of his first AFL match, which took place 1718 days after he was first drafted.
"I was probably a little bit more nervous than usual but I tried to stay as calm as I could and the boys were good getting around me," he said.
"They let me keep it simple and just go out there and play.
"I always knew that I had the ability but I think when it's your first game of AFL anyone would be pretty nervous wether you've waited five years or six months.
"I think it was a normal thing to experience and I just went with it."
Coach Alan Richardson stopped short of guaranteeing Freeman a spot in Friday night's side to play Essendon, but he was pleased with what he saw.
"It was a massive week for him, we told him as late as possible so it wasn't too big, but you can imagine the build-up after five years," Richardson said.
"It was a real step up - he hasn't played AFL footy - so there were times when things were zipping around him but I was really pleased he was able to get up and play."