Fyfe to hand over captaincy reins after six seasons leading Dockers
The race is on to become Fremantle’s next AFL captain after Nat Fyfe made the shock decision to stand down from the leadership group altogether.
Fyfe told his teammates on Tuesday he was handing over the captaincy reins after six seasons in the role. The two-time Brownlow medallist will also relinquish his role in the leadership group to allow other leaders to shine and give himself more time to focus on regaining fitness and form.
Defender Alex Pearce and midfielder Andrew Brayshaw are the leading contenders to replace Fyfe as captain, while rising star Caleb Serong looms as another option.
Fyfe said he knew about three to four weeks ago it was time to step down as skipper.
Nat Fyfe told teammates on Tuesday that he will stand aside as captain.
“The decision was tough,” Fyfe said.
“Last year was a challenging year for me individually, but a great year for the club and it started to pave the way for a transition.
“Intuitively, I knew that it was an exciting opportunity for the club, for me to step aside and let someone else come through. It took a while for the emotions and my mind to line up with my intuition, it feels like I was letting go of a dream in some ways.
“But once I connected with that feeling, it opens up the possibility for so much more. I’m optimistic about what this transition can do for the club.”
Pearce, 27, led the side when Fyfe was out injured last year. Teammates and coaching staff praised his leadership skills.
Brayshaw, 23, is now one of the AFL’s best midfielders and has been widely viewed as a captain-in-waiting for the past few years.
Serong turns 22 on Thursday and his stocks have risen dramatically over the past two years due to his hot on-field form and his strong leadership qualities.
Fyfe managed just seven games last season with his campaign hampered by shoulder, back and hamstring issues. The 31-year-old’s hopes of playing finals for the first time since 2015 were scuppered when he injured his hamstring on the eve of the club’s finals campaign.
Fyfe has been a leadership group member since 2015 and he hopes relinquishing a formal leadership title will help give his on-field exploits a boost. The star midfielder is expected to spend longer stints up forward this season and he still has plenty to learn in the new role.
“By stepping away completely from the leadership group that allows me to focus all my energy on helping our other forwards and learning my craft again,” Fyfe said.
“It also allows someone else to step into the leadership group potentially and give us that fresh push of leadership, which will propel us forward.”
Fremantle’s new captain and leadership group will be named later this month.
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