Fyfe ‘will make big impact’
Fremantle ruckman Jon Griffin is confident young star Nat Fyfe can hit the ground running in his return from a shoulder reconstruction and boost the team’s engine room against Port Adelaide on Sunday.
Fyfe has been declared a certain starter by coach Ross Lyon as Fremantle looks to notch its fourth straight win – and its fifth in succession against the Power – at AAMI Stadium.
The 20-year-old hasn’t played since round five, but his rehabilitation from a second shoulder reconstruction has been faultless and Lyon confirmed he would return along with sharpshooter Chris Mayne.
“He (Fyfe) was right to go last week in his mind, but we wanted to give him more work and make sure he really ticked all the boxes thoroughly,” Lyon told radio 6PR. “He’ll play, that’s how close he is.”
Fyfe led Fremantle for disposals and contested possessions last season and he was the team’s most effective midfielder in the opening two games this year before injuring his shoulder in round three.
Griffin said Fyfe’s efforts at training had convinced his teammates that he was ready to slot straight back into an inside midfield role against the Power.
“He’s been doing a lot of tackling and bumping and getting the shoulder right, so he’s ready to go,” Griffin said.
“He’s probably one of our best clearance players and he’s a strong competitor. He loves getting in and under – it’s a strength of his – so it’ll be great for him to come back.
“It’s going to allow maybe (Stephen) Hill to be released a bit more, and (Ryan) Crowley to get a bit more of the footy.
“It’s just another strength of our side and something for the opposition to worry about.”
Fremantle announced last Thursday that Griffin has extended his contract until the end of the 2014 season, and the 26-year-old said he was rapt to be staying at the club.
Star ruckman Aaron Sandilands (toe) remains at least a month away from returning, posing a potential selection dilemma if Fremantle qualifies for just its fourth finals series.
Griffin has only played alongside Sandilands twice since joining Fremantle at the end of 2010, but he was confident the pair could form a damaging ruck partnership when the three-time All Australian returns.
“I’ve just got to keep putting the performances on the board and making sure that every time I step out there I’m playing well so the coaching staff have to pick me,” he said.
“I see the combination being a real strength for the footy club in the future.
“I look forward to developing my game around a lot of strengths that he has.”