Dockers star Nat Fyfe firms to win first Doig Medal
Nat Fyfe will become Fremantle’s youngest-ever club champion if he wins the Doig Medal on Saturday night.
Fyfe, 20 a fortnight ago, would eclipse the record set by Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich.
Pavlich, 30 on December 31, won the first of his five club champion awards in his third season in the AFL in 2002 when he was 20 years, nine months old.
Fyfe played the entire season as a teenager, recording 21 games in his second year in the AFL since being selected with pick 20 in the 2009 national draft.
The midfielder-forward averaged 25 possessions a game and kicked 18 goals, making the extended All-Australian squad to announce himself as a star of the competition.
Fyfe’s major threat for the Doig Medal is defender Luke McPharlin, who enjoyed a stellar year blanketing the best key forwards in the competition.
McPharlin, 29, completed his 10th season with the Dockers since coming home from Hawthorn and a club champion award would be fitting recognition for two consecutive high-quality seasons.
Fyfe was Fremantle’s leading Brownlow Medal vote-getter with 13. McPharlin was given just one vote from the umpires, but his efforts in defence will receive far greater recognition from the Dockers’ match committee.
Former coach Mark Harvey, who has not met personally with the majority of the playing group since his bombshell sacking on September 15, will not attend the function.
But former midfielder Rhys Palmer, now a Greater Western Sydney player after signing a four-year deal with the Giants worth about $2million, is expected to attend in a sign he wants to leave the Dockers on good terms.
New coach Ross Lyon will attend his first official function as Fremantle coach and will be interviewed on stage during the night.
Lyon’s unveiling as Harvey’s replacement was met with a hostile reception from members and fans, who showed their anger by bombarding talkback radio and online avenues to register their disgust. But it is understood club chiefs do not fear Lyon will be heckled by disgruntled fans in the Doig Medal setting.
The club’s Beacon Award for best new talent is expected to be won by WAFL pick-up Tendai Mzungu.