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Nat Fyfe to mask up after brush with fans

Fremantle will take extra COVID-19 precautions with Nat Fyfe this week after the gun midfielder was mobbed like a rock star during his much-hyped WAFL appearance on Saturday.

Fyfe tallied 24 disposals for Peel Thunder in a promising return from shoulder and back surgeries and appears almost certain to play in Saturday’s AFL match with Hawthorn at Optus Stadium.

One curve ball that could halt Fyfe’s AFL return plans is if he contracts COVID-19.

Fans ran onto the field to mob Fyfe after the final siren of Saturday’s WAFL match, and the dual Brownlow medallist engaged with the fanfare by signing autographs and posing for selfies.

Fremantle already have a policy of segregating their AFL-listed WAFL players early in the week so as to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infiltrating into their wider squad.

The fact Fyfe was in close proximity to so many fans means Fremantle will take extra precautions with him this week, with an emphasis on mask wearing.

“It was a bit of a fiasco (on Saturday),” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said.

“We would have loved to have taken him off with a couple of minutes to go and just ushered him down to the change rooms so he didn’t have to deal with that.

“But the game was on the line, and the competitive beast he is, he wanted to be out there and wanted to help Peel win. It was great for WA footy, I thought.

“We’ve got (Monday) off. If we can get to Tuesday … he’s good with his mask-wearing, and we’ll segregate him from the group a little bit.

“We’ve got a six-day break, so we can’t take too long, We’ll just try and work around a few different things.”

Fremantle (9-3) are riding a wave of confidence after beating flag fancies Melbourne and Brisbane in consecutive weeks.

Fyfe, Michael Walters (hamstring), Sam Switkowski (suspension) and Matt Taberner (back) are set to return against the Hawks.

Brisbane have now lost to Hawthorn and Fremantle over the past three weeks, but coach Chris Fagan said forward Joe Daniher was likely to return from a dislocated shoulder in Saturday night’s home clash with St Kilda.

“You’re not going to play Joe Daniher in the reserves,” Fagan quipped when asked whether the star forward would return via the seniors or the reserves.

Defender Darcy Gardiner will have scans on his ribs after being subbed out against Fremantle, but Dayne Zorko (hand) is expected to be fit to play against the Saints.

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