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Superstar Fyfe named new Dockers skipper

Captain Nat, Pendles holds firm Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson with the latest news
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 13: Nat Fyfe poses for a photograph during the Fremantle Dockers 2017 official team photo day at Fremantle Oval in Perth, Australia on December 13, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Nat Fyfe is Fremantle's new captain
It's an exciting time for the footy club and we have an exciting group to lead the club for the next four or five years
Nat Fyfe

SUPERSTAR midfielder Nat Fyfe will lead Fremantle into a new era this season after succeeding David Mundy as captain.

After a summer of speculation, Fyfe was unveiled as the ninth skipper in the Dockers' 23-year history on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old has been voted into the top job by his teammates a year after being overlooked for the role when club great Matthew Pavlich stepped down.

Fyfe, Mundy, Aaron Sandilands and Lee Spurr have been joined in the 2017 leadership group by star forward Michael Walters and reigning Doig medallist Lachie Neale.

Veteran defender Michael Johnson has been left out after a controversial off-season incident, which saw him charged with assault in a kebab shop.

"It hasn't really sunk in fully yet," Fyfe said after taking the captaincy reins.

"But it's just fantastic to get the support of the players, and to also have two new members of the leadership group.

"It's an exciting time for the footy club and we have an exciting group to lead the club for the next four or five years.

"We've got fresh new talent through he door. We've got great coaching staff and people in administration roles.

"The club's in really good hands and the future looks exciting."

Mundy steps aside as skipper after a challenging solitary season in charge, when injuries and failure to adapt to a new gamestyle saw the Dockers slide to a disastrous four-win campaign.

"It was a difficult year last year for David, taking over from Matthew Pavlich. He led us well under difficult circumstances," coach Ross Lyon said.

"But as Nathan said when he spoke to the players, it is a transitioning list.

"We're aiming high and in a different situation to the year before. We had a more mature list and were coming off a strong year in 2015.

"We're transitioning, and it talks to an emerging leader who can be with the group for a long period."

Fyfe will skipper Fremantle for the first time when he makes his much-anticipated comeback from a broken leg during the JLT Community Series.

The 2015 Brownlow medallist will attempt to lead the Dockers back up the ladder this year following an off-season of upheaval at Fremantle and with his long-term future still up in the air.

Fyfe would become the hottest free agent on the market if he is still out of contract season's end, and it remains to be seen whether being installed as skipper influences his playing future.

The Lake Grace product has played 117 games for the Dockers since being drafted at pick 20 in 2009, and is a two-time All Australian and Doig medallist in 2014 and '15.

By being elected captain, Fyfe follows in the footsteps of previous Freo skippers Ben Allan, Peter Mann, Chris Bond, Shaun McManus, Adrian Fletcher, Peter Bell, Pavlich and Mundy.

Under the Dockers' voting system, overseen by Leading Teams, each player casts 5-4-3-2-1 votes to elect the leadership group and explains their choices in front of the entire squad.

Neale, who captained Glenelg's under-18 side, was honoured to be elected by his teammates after breaking the AFL record with 737 disposals during the home-and-away season.

"To be here is fantastic and it’s a privilege," he said.

Three-time leading goalkicker Walters declared he won't change his leadership style after joining the official group.

"I’m just going to stick with being me," Walters said.

"I want to stick to the way I’ve been playing and the way I’ve been training.

"I feel like my leadership on and off the field has been one of my strong focal points over the last couple of years, so there’s nothing I want to change - I’m just going to keep being me and focus on that."