Nat Fyfe didn’t need a super-soldier serum to transform himself into Captain Docker.
Instead, 15 Weet-Bix a day eventually did the trick as he converted himself from a 69kg forward into a 94kg inside midfield monster.
But while his body was dramatically remodelled like Steve Rogers’ Captain America, his mind took longer to catch up.
In a revealing insight he shared with former Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy – now part of Fremantle’s football department – in an interview several years ago, Fyfe explained living up to his superhero persona could be a struggle.
He might wield his Captain Docker shield on the field, but deep down he shares the doubts, flaws and insecurities we all do.
“Sometimes I will read stuff or see stuff that’s said about a performance that I’ve done and I’ll go ‘I don’t know if I can live up to that’,” Fyfe said.
“They say “heroic, herculean effort”, “dragged them over the line injured”, “great leadership” and I’ll read it and I’ll go ‘I think that’s a bit inflated. I don’t think I can live up to that.’
“And it’s at those moments when you’ve had no impact, you’re not feeling it, the weight of the world is on you where you go OK, now might be an opportunity to try and live up to that expectation. And there’s something exciting about that for me.”
Fyfe has been frozen in his own suspended animation for the past 10 months. He had to rebuild a body that suffered dramatic weight loss as he was ravaged by infection, while turning 30 and enduring a series of operations.
The final act of Fyfe’s extraordinary career could be quickly approaching. He’s not going to be running around at 36 like David Mundy.
And what a storyline it is.
Fyfe fell short in the 2013 grand final having just turned 22. He hasn’t played in a final since a week after his 24th birthday, before he won the first of his two Brownlow Medals.
Since that 2015 preliminary final exit to Hawthorn, which brought down the curtain on Fremantle’s most successful era, Fyfe has played in 90 games for just 33 wins.
It’s no wonder his shoulders have given out, because for most of an agonisingly slow rebuild, with Mundy and Michael Walters, he had to carry the team.
Fyfe will return to an outfit on Saturday that is again a contender.
And as he finds form and fitness, he will now hope to be carried by them.
Back when he was Steve Rogers, the skinny and sickly comic book character who nonetheless possessed the heart of a soldier, Fyfe booted six goals in Claremont’s 2009 colts premiership.
He then booted 13 goals in four league appearances for the Tigers as an 18-year-old at the start of 2010, before Mark Harvey handed him his debut.
There have been plenty of big-name AFL players make comebacks from injury through the WAFL this century, including Nic Naitanui’s returns from a couple of knee reconstructions.
None of those occasions created the type of circus Fyfe did at Leederville Oval on Saturday, when he returned to the local competition for the first time in 12 years.
Deep into time-on of the last quarter the scores between Peel and Subiaco were level. Fyfe marked 40m out from goal and the day’s headline act was presented with the chance to write a storybook ending.
Fyfe took his time to compose himself, before shanking his set shot off the outside of his right boot at a time any score would have been helpful.
“It would have been nice,” he reflected.
“But hopefully there’s bigger and better fairytales to come later in this season.”
As it turned out, teammate Josh Treacy marked the Fyfe miskick before bellying his own shot from the pocket as the comedy of errors continued.
Both of their blushes were saved when Treacy quickly earned another chance, this time making no mistake from a more regulation set shot attempt to give the Thunder a thrilling six-point win.
Fans who lamented Fyfe’s return of 6.21 in front of the sticks last season mightn’t be surprised to hear that he missed all three of his shot on Saturday, registering 0.2 plus his late set shot which didn’t score.
But if Fyfe didn’t have a Kryptonite then he wouldn’t be a superhero.