Fremantle star Nat Fyfe says the club is keeping a lid on premiership talk after victories over Melbourne and Brisbane, but admits it’s “good” to be back at the top end of the ladder.
Fyfe is yet to play a game in 2022 after multiple shoulder surgeries, then a knee injury and a back operation kept him out of the Fremantle side sitting 9-3 after 12 rounds.
After a successful return through the WAFL last weekend, Fyfe said he is ready to step straight into the Dockers outfit that has put the competition on notice with big victories over premiership fancies.
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But he’s tamping down the premiership hype.
“The external hype that was starting to build; you would have heard some of the hashtags (like #flagmantle) that are getting a run over here in the west,” he said On the Couch.
“We’re all getting pretty excited for a team that hasn’t won a premiership.
“Internally what I’ve seen is a driven, committed group that know we’re only in early June.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do…we’re hungry to keep doing that work.”
After Nick Riewoldt tried to clarify which hashtags he was referring to, Fyfe said: “C’mon mate, don’t do that to me!”
“I think there was a #flagmantle at some stage,” On the Couch host Garry Lyon added.
The 30-year-old said playing forward “looks like a fairly reasonable option at this point” for his return after a “humbling” 11 months on the sidelines.
And he’s warned fans not to expect a standout performance from the first game.
“I really can only look one week at a time; hopefully in six to eight weeks down the track I’ve developed some match fitness and some hardness … and I can really add some value to the team,” he said.
“I couldn’t do anything for six weeks … a shoulder operation failed – I couldn’t physically go anywhere or do anything.
“I had to put my hand up and say physically I’ve found the bottom and I’m not going to be able to fight my way through this, and put my ego aside.
“Hopefully I can impact at AFL level, but it’s not going to be at the same standard as I left off last year (immediately on return).”
The two-time Brownlow Medallist is excited by what the future holds for the club as he and his fellow Fremantle leaders get to work in “weapons development basically”.
“We’ve got so many good young players and our job is to provide that leadership that they bring our club to a position we haven’t been to,” he said.
“We’ve been very methodical with our list management strategy for a while … Assembling a crew which is what you need to be a good finals contending team for a number of years.
“The excitement has been building internally for a while.
“You can only be patient and hope that it will turn.
“Finally it feels like we’re in a good position to attack the back half of the year.
“The real season starts after that.”
On the Couch host Garry Lyon said he was certain Fyfe would have some “doubt” over his return after such a lengthy injury lay off.
But he was confident the Freo star could rise once again.
“He’s up for it,” panellist Nick Riewoldt added.
“He could just tear the competition apart.
“When he gets used to that role, he’s got all the tools to be a great center half forward.”