Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has declared he will maximise captain Nat Fyfe’s versatility by keeping his game day roles a mystery in a bid to throw opposition planning into turmoil after he spent Sunday’s entire match against Port Adelaide as a forward.
The Dockers won 15.9 (99) to 14.7 (91) after dominating the clearances, while key forward Rory Lobb booted five goals. They fought back from 18 points down in the first quarter, surged to a 40-point lead late in the third quarter and then survived a late charge from the Power to move one game clear in the top four.
But Fyfe’s change of role was one of the most intriguing parts of the match as he remained absent from every centre bounce despite being a regular in previous matches against Hawthorn and Carlton.
The Dockers still won the centre clearances 20-10, while Fyfe had 21 possessions and kicked one goal.
Longmuir declined to provide any insight into the his future plans for Fyfe, saying leaving the opposition guessing “has to be” an advantage.
“We’ll play it by ear. I’m not going to sit here and give the opposition a head start on what we’re doing with Nathan Fyfe every week,” he said.
“It’s supposed to be a secret some of this stuff. We’re supposed to be able to come into a game and catch the opposition off.
“We wanted him up around stoppage. I think he helps us there and then we wanted him forward of the ball. I thought he was back to some of his best through those middle two quarters and helped us to get the game on our terms.”
Fyfe’s forward role could become even more important in the coming weeks after Matt Taberner was subbed out of the game with a hamstring injury during the final quarter.
Lobb kicked five goals before Taberner left the field and only needs another two majors to equal his previous best tally for the season – 29 goals.
“He’s been competing really well for us all year,” Longmuir said.
“He got some reward for effort today. I thought having the three talls down there actually helped him because it nullified the other two talls and engaged them.
“I thought Tabs and Grif were dangerous in their own right and that gave Rory some looks on the lead which sometimes he doesn’t get if he’s fighting against a couple. I thought his ruckwork was pretty strong as well.”