FREMANTLE legend Matthew Pavlich will captain the club for a ninth season but the veteran has revealed he was prepared to step down from the leadership if necessary. 

The Dockers have elevated Nat Fyfe into their leadership group at the expense of Matt de Boer. 

Coach Ross Lyon flagged significant changes to the group at last season's best and fairest awards but de Boer's replacement is the only change with Fyfe joining Pavlich, David Mundy, Aaron Sandilands, Luke McPharlin and Lee Spurr in leading the club.

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The Dockers leadership group is chosen on the basis of a player vote where each player in the squad gives a 5-4-3-2-1 vote.

Pavlich said he had serious discussions with his wife Lauren, the coach and Dockers football manager Chris Bond about the captaincy during the off-season.

"I was focused on what was best for the football club and I was very open to the idea about the possibility about moving on," Pavlich said. 

"But clearly we have a stringent process. It's a pure vote, it's democratic and we needed to go through that process first to really play itself out. 

"That was the advice of both Ross and Chris, and there was no real review or need to make a call on it. 

"We went about our pre-season like that, and yesterday we had the vote. 

"I feel very honoured and privileged that the player group has the trust in me and the broader leadership group again."

Pavlich said that while there weren't broad changes to the leadership group, the vote showed the Dockers have a strong core of leaders beyond those officially named. 

"Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer, Michael Johnson and Hayden Ballantyne all received a number of votes," Pavlich said.

"Whilst there was a split and a clear delineation between the top six and the next group of guys, we would be very, very happy and content if they stepped up into the role or were needed to.

"It's fantastic that there is a large spread in the group and that goes to show the strength of leadership in our whole team."

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Fyfe's elevation suggests he is on track to become the next captain, although Pavlich maintained that the player group would continue to vote each year and that no assumptions could be made. 

The skipper was still happy to praise the qualities Fyfe has displayed.

"Clearly on the field he's shown he's becoming an elite player of the competition," Pavlich said. 

"The players have certainly seen that. But his level of influence and his ability to give feedback to his teammates are certainly some areas that he's improved in and grown in. I think he's got a fantastic understanding of the modern game and how our game plan exists and how to execute that."

Pavlich also said that de Boer's exit from a formal leadership role was not a demotion.

"From the outside view it's a demotion but clearly he's still rated extremely highly internally by the amount of votes he received," Pavlich said.

"His character is absolutely rock solid. He's one of those guys you absolutely love running down the race with.

"But last year he had some challenges with injury and form. So I guess the players have seen that. But they absolutely know that he's come back in ripping nick and is absolutely tearing up the track."