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No backing down for Fyfe as injury toll mounts

Travis King  March 1, 2016 11:40 AM

AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - Fremantle v Adelaide

Nat Fyfe celebrates a goal against Adelaide

NAT FYFE still has to "respect" his back after suffering a bulging disc in pre-season, but the Fremantle superstar is confident he'll be "in prime condition" for round one.

Fyfe's strong NAB Challenge performances have eased concerns that his preparation for the premiership season could have been hampered by the back injury he sustained in December.

The reigning Brownlow medallist had 26 touches and booted two goals in a two-point win over Adelaide in Mount Barker on Sunday and might yet play in the Dockers' final pre-season hit-out against Geelong on March 12.

"I will just check out for a couple of days, then I will have a conversation with the strength and conditioning guys and they will plan my minutes which will have me in prime condition for round one against the Bulldogs," Fyfe told The West Australian.

"At the moment I am not too bad. I won't really know how I am feeling until the next couple of days, but at the moment I am pretty good.

"I was pretty confident that when the footies came out and the game was going to be played that I would be fine.

"The back is something I am going to have to have respect for, particularly this year but also for the rest of my career, but no more so than the plate in my leg or the surgeries on my shoulder or the rest of the things that are slowly mounting as I go through and play more games."

Fyfe appeared in some discomfort when he reached for his lower back after taking a strong mark on the lead in the third quarter against the Crows.

However, the 24-year-old had no problems drilling the tough set shot from 50m on a tight angle, and he looms as a trump card this season as coach Ross Lyon tinkers with a more attacking and flexible game-plan.

Fyfe booted 17 goals from 20 games playing predominantly through midfield last year and is set to become more of a marking target inside 50 in 2016.

"There is no focus on me playing out of the cage and kicking 50 goals," he said.

"But ideally if we can get more people through the midfield and I can spend more time forward then I will, but that process will organically unfold as the season starts."