Brisbane can breathe a big sigh of relief after Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe made the decision to return via the WAFL this weekend.
Fyfe hasn’t played a competitive match since undergoing shoulder and back surgery during the off-season and was on track to return against the Lions in Sunday’s AFL clash at Optus Stadium.
The Dockers (8-3) are riding high in third spot following their stunning 38-point win over Melbourne at the MCG.
The temptation for Fyfe to return against the Lions was big, but the two-time Brownlow medallist feels both he and the team will be better served if he has a WAFL hit-out first.
It means Fyfe will line up for Peel Thunder against Subiaco at Leederville Oval on Saturday in what will be his first WAFL match since 2010.
“It was his idea, to be honest, he knows his body better than anyone and he knows his confidence,” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir told the Seven Network.
“He thinks this is the right step for him to have a big crack at the second half of the year, so we just listened to him.”
Debate continues to rage as to whether Fyfe should play as a full-time midfielder when he returns to AFL level or split his time up forward.
Longmuir was tight lipped about what role Fyfe will play for Peel Thunder.
“We will play him for about 90 minutes, which is a good progression for him,” Longmuir said.
“I probably won’t give too much away about what positions he will play, but he will play a role that will allow him to adapt to the AFL.
“I think it’s really important for him to go back and get some confidence, not only in his body but confidence in his game.
“I think it’s a good stepping stone back to the AFL and I have said all along we want to make sure we are building him in the right way to be able to have a real impact on the AFL in the second half of the season. We think that this does that best.”
If all goes to plan, Fyfe will return for next week’s clash with Hawthorn at Optus Stadium.
“If he feels really confident and he feels like he has adapted really well and taken the hits and his fitness is at a good level, then we will be guided by him next week,” Longmuir said.