A decision on whether Nat Fyfe will captain Fremantle this year could be delayed until the eve of round one, with the club prepared to track him through pre-season before making the call.
It is still undecided whether or not Fyfe will lead the Dockers into his seventh year as club captain, with midfield star Andrew Brayshaw leading a group of contenders to take the job off his hands.
The two-time Brownlow Medallist played just seven times in 2022 amid a horror injury run and could look to shed the weight of the captaincy with a focus to playing more regular football this season.
Fyfe will have a significant say in whether or not he leads the club again, but that decision isn’t expected any time soon.
“The scenario around the leadership and the captain this year is making sure what’s best for Nathan going forward and whether the burden of being the captain is good for his footy,” coach Justin Longmuir told SEN.
“The amount of injuries he had last year, that was a really tough season on him as a player and as a skipper, so we need to make sure we get that right and we probably need a little bit more time to work through that in terms of seeing how he tracks through the pre-season.
“We will go through that process later in the pre-season and we will see what it flushes out, but we will need to make sure what’s best for the club and what’s best for Fyfey going forward, with his footy and the impact he can have on the team.”
According to Longmuir, the Dockers are focused on creating a depth of leadership, rather than relying on just one figure head, with Caleb Serong and Alex Pearce also considered genuine contenders for the captaincy as soon as this year.
He says he hopes the club doesn’t need Fyfe to take on the role again this year, if that’s what he chooses.
“Hopefully not. I’ve said it a few times, we want to build a depth of leadership and we don’t want to rely on too few,” Longmuir said.
“With Dave Mundy, who offered so much to the leadership of our football club leaving we need people to step up.
“Really, the captain is just one person, we need a lot of players to support the captain and whoever the captain is needs that support from the playing group and we need that depth of leadership within our group.
“That’s been a real positive throughout the pre-season so far, the player-to-player conversations that are going on, the communication on-field and off-field has been really strong.”
Fremantle great and The West Australian columnist Paul Hasleby said last year there was no obvious choice for the role, but that Pearce should be seriously considered.
Pearce was the stand-in skipper while Fyfe battled an array of injury setbacks last season in a long stint on the sidelines.
“You’ve got Andrew Brayshaw, the people will think it’s obvious, you’ve got Caleb Serong, who David Mundy has spoken about at length saying that he could be the next one, and then you’ve got the current captain in Alex Pearce, who will toss the coin and also give the team instructions before the game this week,” Hasleby said.
“Personally, I think next year it may be Alex Pearce that holds onto that position and is the captain of Fremantle in his own right.”
Fourth-year defender Hayden Young told The West Australian on Sunday he has ambitions of taking over Mundy’s role in the club’s leadership group.
“It’s certainly something I’ve been thinking about a little bit more over the past six months,” he said.
“Particularly after last season where I was able to stay fit and be on the park every week. I sort of started to focus on others rather than just myself.”
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