FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir is confident that Nat Fyfe's commitment to improving his goalkicking will pay off soon after the champion midfielder booted 0.6 in an otherwise "dominant" performance against Hawthorn.
Fyfe returned to Optus Stadium post-match on Sunday to practice his goalkicking with former teammate and now development coach Tendai Mzungu, having missed several gettable opportunities in the Dockers' 15-point win against the Hawks.
Longmuir was full of praise for the dual Brownlow medallist, who mostly played midfield and finished with 31 disposals and six clearances to jockey with veteran teammate David Mundy for best afield honours.
"Clearly he would have liked to execute better in front of goal, but the opportunities he created for himself were great," Longmuir said.
"That's probably the most important thing, the process. He got the process right and we can work on the execution.
"There were a couple of snaps, some on the run, and a couple of set shots today. He’s putting plenty of work in behind the scenes and he does extra goalkicking.
"I think it’s going to be one of those things that just clicks for him, I really do. I think his technique is pretty sound, and once he gets one away he’ll be right."
In his return from a concussion suffered in round two when he played almost exclusively forward against Greater Western Sydney, Fyfe was used in the majority of centre bounces against the Hawks.
Longmuir said the three-time All Australian found the right balance of splitting his time midfield and forward and using his licence to move where he was most needed.
"He's one of the best mids in the comp and when we're trying to get supply and start the game really well, we want him around the ball," Longmuir said.
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"There was a time in the second or third quarter when they looked like they were getting on top and he was forward and he put himself onball to arrest momentum.
"He put himself onball late in the game when we needed to get some control and finish off the game.
"He's got the right to do that and I thought for the most part he got the balance right."
Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw was on the end of a hard tag from James Worpel, who restricted him to three possessions in the first half before a final quarter fightback from the young Docker.
Longmuir, who was pleased with the way his players supported Brayshaw, saying the 21-year-old should wear the attention he has received in the past fortnight as a "badge of honour".
"He's going through a phase now where he's going to have to learn to deal with attention," the coach said.
"That's a credit to him, because he started the year really well and teams are identifying him to put time into.
"Sometimes the best thing is to get your hands dirty and play your role. Our game is not based around how many possessions individuals get, our style of play is based around a system that he can still execute when he's getting tagged."
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said he had identified Brayshaw as probably the best player in the competition in the opening two rounds, particularly after cutting through GWS with 32 disposals and two goals in round two.
The coach also wanted Worpel to tag as a way of building his own form after a lacklustre start to the season for the 2019 club champion, who finished with a season-high 22 disposals on Sunday.
"Sometimes players put too much pressure on themselves in terms of the role they think they can play, and that's why we gave him a role today, so he's not measuring himself on possessions," Clarkson said.
"If anything, he has been trying too hard, which is so often the case when they aren't performing at the level they like, so by giving a different focus and different role, it would help him.
"For most of the game, he was a good contributor for us."
The Hawks will need to assess the extent of a shoulder injury to Daniel Howe, while champion Shaun Burgoyne could return against Melbourne on Sunday after he was left on the bench as the medical substitute.
Arresting the team's trend towards slow starts in 2021 will be a focus against the Demons at the MCG after conceding a five-goal head start to the Dockers.
"That's four games in a row we've been in arrears at half-time," Clarkson said.
"We need to address that somehow. It's not through lack of effort or application … but it's not ideal chasing tail from so early in the game."