Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has defended Nat Fyfe’s one-kick performance against Sydney, saying the midfield group as a whole struggled to get going.
Fyfe tallied one kick and 14 handballs in Saturday night’s upset 17-point loss to the Swans, with the skipper mixing his time between the midfield and attack.
The two-time Brownlow medallist has only ever produced a one-kick game on one previous occasion in his glittering career – in round three, 2012 against Brisbane when he was injured early in the game.
Fyfe was a solid contributor against the Swans, but his handball-happy display raised eyebrows.
Longmuir doesn’t think it was anything to worry about.
“I thought he had an impact around centre bounce, he’s getting back to his best around there,” Longmuir said.
“It’s hard in his (split) role to get a lot of possessions, but I thought he was able to use his hands and bring his teammates into the game at times.
“Our mids didn’t have a lot of the ball, so we didn’t shift the ball and we didn’t use the ball that well.
“He (Fyfe) is probably one of a few who were a little bit down.”
Brownlow medal fancy Andrew Brayshaw was also below his best, finishing with just 20 disposals and one clearance.
It was well down on his season average of 30.9 disposals and 4.5 clearances per game.
The 11.16 (82) to 9.11 (65) loss was a blow to Fremantle’s top-four hopes, with the Dockers (12-5) now just percentage ahead of fifth-placed Collingwood.
Fremantle forward Rory Lobb is in some doubt for Friday night’s clash with Richmond at Marvel Stadium after hurting his right shoulder early against Sydney.
Longmuir is confident defender Alex Pearce (calf) will be fit to return against Richmond.
Dockers defender Griffin Logue was his team’s best player against Sydney, restricting star Sydney forward Lance Franklin to one goal from seven disposals.
Franklin’s uncertain future at the Swans has been a big talking point over the past week, with the 35-year-old reportedly not satisfied with Sydney’s offer of a one-year extension worth about $500,000.
Sydney coach John Longmire doesn’t think the speculation will affect the form of Franklin, who needs just two more goals to pass Gary Ablett Senior’s mark of 1031 career goals.
“He’s fine. He’s been around the caper and understands what goes on,” Longmire said.
“We’ll handle it as we always do inside the four walls.”