Main content

'Jealous' Fyfe inspired by Eagles' flag triumph

Pre-season slog heats up across Australia A Footy Feed update with Matt Thompson

FREMANTLE captain Nat Fyfe admits he felt tinged with jealously watching crosstown rivals West Coast celebrate the premiership.

But he says the Eagles' against-the-odds triumph has fuelled his desire for the Dockers to return to finals next season.

Fyfe couldn't bring himself to support Freo's bitter enemy in a classic Grand Final against Collingwood, but revealed he was pleased for his Eagles counterpart Shannon Hurn and Norm Smith medallist Luke Shuey.

WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor

"It's a difficult space to be in (as Fremantle skipper). I watched on with envy with the way they prepared and played, particularly in that finals series," Fyfe said.

"I sent a few messages to Luke Shuey and Shannon Hurn after the game congratulating them, because I've had a bit of stuff to do with them.

"Full credit to them, but as a cross-town rival, you do look on with a bit of jealousy, and now it's our job as the underdogs to really try to improve as a team and get to finals next year."

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

Fyfe was part of the Freo line-up which came agonisingly close to the ultimate glory in the 2013 decider, however the superstar midfielder has had to be patient during lean years recently while the club has rebuilt.

The Dockers have missed finals for the past three seasons but Fyfe is cautiously optimistic about 2019 after they secured crucial marking targets Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb, plus Reece Conca and Travis Colyer, in an impressive NAB AFL Trade Period.

 

"Absolutely. Always temper that optimism with the fact we've got to get to know each other, put in a lot of hard work over the next couple of months and really get ready for round one," he said.
Fyfe had input into the decision for the entire Fremantle squad to travel to the Gold Coast next month for a training camp aimed a drilling in Ross Lyon's game plan.

The Brownlow medallist wasn't sure what tweaks Lyon would make, but after lamenting the Dockers' lack of a clear identity last season Fyfe wants to re-establish "a winning culture".

"That's what all teams want. I think we've had the shopping list out the last few years with drafts and trading, and we've brought in an eclectic group of players from across the country," Fyfe said.

"Now we've established a group, and the idea is to try to build around a Ross Lyon game plan that's going to set us up to win some games of footy next year."

MUST-WATCH GAMES The 22 you won't want to miss

While the Dockers have bolstered their forward line, Fyfe conceded there could be more pressure on his shoulders in midfield following the departure of two-time Doig medallist Lachie Neale to Brisbane.

However, he tipped Connor Blakely and veteran Stephen Hill to pitch in to fill the void, with natural progression expected from second-year onballers Andy Brayshaw, Adam Cerra and yet-to-debut Tom North.

"I think that jostling for spots is open now, and whoever has the best pre-season (will play)," Fyfe said.

"Obviously, Bailey Banfield is another guy that wants to evolve from just being a tagger, and David Mundy and I can mentor and lead them through it."

 

Fyfe will build into pre-season after a minor knee clean-up, but the 27-year-old looked in tremendous nick and completed a two-hour session as the entire Dockers squad gathered for the first time on Monday. 

Lobb, Conca and Colyer were on deck for their first training session at Cockburn, while Hogan completed rehabilitation for his navicular problem on the sidelines.

Injury-plagued Harley Bennell looked fit and joined in the majority of drills before running laps ahead of a make or break campaign.