FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir has brushed off calls for Nat Fyfe to hand over the Dockers captaincy amid the superstar's latest stint on the sidelines.
The 30-year-old Docker is yet to play this season having recently undergone surgery on his back following an off-season shoulder operation.
Last week, Kane Cornes questioned two-time Brownlow Medal winner Fyfe's leadership capacity and said the club should hand over the captaincy to emerging midfielder Andy Brayshaw.
Fyfe has served as Fremantle captain since the 2017 season, with the Dockers failing to make the top eight under his leadership, having not played finals since 2015.
"I don't buy into that," Longmuir told Channel Seven. "Nathan gets criticised on all parts of his game and all parts of his leadership.
"The thing I'm seeing from Nathan inside the four walls of the football club is he's bringing along these young leaders really well and allowing them to develop under his tutelage.
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"Nathan is our captain and that will stay the same."
Brayshaw's leadership potential is obvious and he was hailed by stand-in coach Jaymie Graham on the weekend for his maturity in handling taggers but he is only 22-years-old.
Meanwhile, Longmuir revealed that Alex Pearce (ankle) and Darcy Tucker (concussion) were both "very likely" to be available for Sunday's round five game against Essendon, along with Caleb Serong.
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"(Caleb's) progressing really well," Longmuir said.
"He'll have to get through main training. All indications are he's over it and will be able to return this week."
The return of Tucker and Serong may lead to a midfield squeeze with Neil Erasmus and Nathan O'Driscoll having impressed in the side in their absences.
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Vice-captain Pearce's availability will also cause Fremantle selectors to consider the make-up of the defensive talls, with Griffin Logue having impressed after being a late inclusion against GWS.