Nat Fyfe reckons he has grown three centimetres and put on 14kg since being drafted to Fremantle, taking his height to 190cm and his weight well into the mid-eighties.

They are unusual numbers for drafted players, who tend to not grow much more than a centimetre after they are picked up.

But even Fyfe’s unusual physical growth pales in comparison with his growth in stature as an AFL player.

Still 19, and 32 games into an AFL career after being taken as a second-round draft pick in 2009, Fyfe ranks alongside skipper Matthew Pavlich and defender Luke McPharlin as the Fremantle players most likely to win All- Australian honours at the end of the season. Although the selectors do not make their mid-season short list public, Fyfe is almost certainly on it.

AFL coaches have him seventh in their champion player of the year award. As the highest-ranked Docker on that list, it is fair to assume he is also in contention to win his club’s best and fairest.

Fyfe, who comes from Lake Grace, dismissed the mere suggestion of All-Australian honours yesterday at his club’s corporate golf day at Burswood.

“It doesn’t really sink in,” he said. “As long as I can be consistent and play my role for Freo, that is all that really matters.”

It is the response you expect to get from an unassuming country lad who isn’t paying too much attention to his team’s delicately balanced spot on the ladder either.

“I really haven’t had too much of a look at what we have got ahead,” Fyfe said. “I know we have got Sydney next week and that is all we are really focusing on.

“There are no easy games in the AFL any more and we know that.”

But the reality is that Fyfe has shot up the rankings at extraordinary speed since his AFL debut last year and would now rate as one of the first players opposition coaches look to blanket when they plan against Fremantle.

His disposal still needs a bit of work, but his contested marking and contested ball winning in general rank him alongside almost any player in the AFL.

And he hasn’t even turned 20 or finished growing yet.

“I think that naturally I am getting a little more attention,” he said. “We have still got a lot of other great midfielders and ball winners out on the ground so they obviously get more attention than I do, but I am starting to get a little bit more.”

Fyfe reckons the second bye has come at a perfect time for the Dockers, who are hanging in sixth spot despite a plague of injuries. They went into the break off three wins in four games and Fyfe believes that experienced and accomplished bodies are about to start to find their way back into the team.

“Adam McPhee, Nick Suban and Mick Barlow are likely to return pretty soon and it will be good to get those blokes back on deck and get a full list together,” he said.

“At the start of the season when we had the bye we probably didn’t really need it but now the bodies are a little bit sore and the mind needs refreshing so it is really important to get it now.

“I have played all the games so far this year and just a week to let all the little niggles settle down and also a mental refresher was really important to me.

“I am still obviously growing and the fitness and physio guys manage me well.”

After enjoying Pavlich, the Dockers appear to have unearthed a successor in Fyfe, who has played mainly midfield this year but has also kicked goals in eight matches – two against Gold Coast on Saturday when used more as a forward.Source Link

 

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