Fyfe like Hird: Harvey
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says he can see similarities between young star Nat Fyfe, who extended his contract with the club on Wednesday, and Essendon champion James Hird.
Fremantle continued its enviable recent record of securing key players by extending Fyfe’s contract to the end of 2014, with the 19-year-old enjoying an outstanding year.
Fyfe is in contention for All Australian selection in just his second season and he is considered the frontrunner, alongside defender Luke McPharlin, to win Fremantle’s best and fairest award, the Doig Medal.
Harvey, who played alongside Hird in the 1993 Essendon premiership and mentored the current Bombers coach as an assistant at Windy Hill, said there were similarities between his prized youngster Fyfe and the recent Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee.
“Hird probably played a lot in his first couple of years across centre half-forward and Nathan’s been more across the wing, centre line, but the way he moves and the way he thinks through the game, there’s a lot in common,” Harvey said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.
“I think he’s got that unique ability to be able to read the game beyond some of the other players. He has a great initiative about what might happen or where it may finish and where he should be. It’s the hardest thing to coach.
“I remember talking about him when he first came down and he had attributes like (Brett) Burton from Adelaide. He played very similarly.
“He’s going to be a great player.”
Harvey paid tribute to chief executive Steve Rosich, football manager Chris Bond and general manager of player management Brad Lloyd for ensuring Fremantle retained its key players despite the arrival of Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.
Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Matthew Pavlich, Michael Barlow and Hayden Ballantyne are all committed for the next three seasons, with young midfielders Stephen Hill and Anthony Morabito also secured until at least the end of 2013.
Fyfe, who is on a standard second-year contract and had already signed for next season, would have been a prime target for GWS at the end of 2012.
“Its good to see that our young players understand where we’re heading, and you know with the invasion of two new teams in the competition, it hasn’t been easy,” Harvey said.
“Its a credit to the club that our list, most of our players, are in our control.
“We’re backing in a lot of things – the belief in our recruiting, our development and also hopefully in terms of where the team is going.
“There hasn’t been pressure put on our younger players because they haven’t made a decision.”