Diamond emerges from rough as Docker rookies excite captain Fyfe

The 23-year-old was often a key link in the chain from defence to attack and his average 4.9 tackles a game in 2019 made him one of the AFL’s ‘elite’ in that category via official Champion Data ratings.

“I would say Brett is about to have a breakout year, Sam Switkowski is going to have a huge year…  they are guys that prepare really well,” Fyfe told the Fremantle website. “And Ethan Hughes is going to have a good year.”

Fremantle’s trio of top 10 draft picks Hayden Young (pick 7), Caleb Serong (8) and Liam Henry (9) would all share the spotlight in 2020 but Fyfe believed the club had unearthed one diamond in the rough in Michael Frederick, who along with Bewley and several other teammates is fighting for vacant wing spots after the exit of Brad Hill (St Kilda) and Ed Langdon (Melbourne) last year.

“Michael Frederick is one who’s coming from a long way back, along with Jarvis Pina, they look like they’re a chance to do some damage this year,” Fyfe said.

Frederick, who the Dockers drafted at pick 61 in last year’s national draft, was a standout in last Friday’s intra-club match, producing several sublime and evasive runs through the midfield, and shapes as an X-factor for Fremantle this season with his dashing pace and clever goal nous.

The 19-year-old Woodville-West Torrens product has earmarked June 28 on his calendar when the Dockers battle Port Adelaide, where twin brother Martin plays.

Fyfe expected several Fremantle rookies to debut against Essendon in round one as he reflected on his own debut back in 2010 against Richmond at Subiaco Oval as a wiry half-forward.

Nat Fyfe with Sam Switkowski, who the Dockers captain expects big things of in 2020.Credit:AAP

“From the first-year players, there’s a couple who will play well. I think obviously Hayden and Caleb are going to do pretty well,” Fyfe said.

“Liam Henry, who we haven’t seen much of yet, looks like he knows what he’s doing.

“I think the first game is so innocent and so unreal and you have no expectations. We won my first game, I did alright but it was perfect, it could have ended right then and I would have been happy.

The 28-year-old superstar of the league revealed he found the Dockers captaincy an easier burden now he was one of the side’s elder statesmen.

“For them to be able to experience their first game with their families, it is one of the highlights of your life and now for me as a leader, to be able to experience it with them, I get just as much joy out of it as well,” he said.

“In my first year as captain, I was 25 years old … there were probably 20 guys older than me, 20 guys younger than me.

“I was finding my way as a captain. Now I’m in my fourth year, I’m 28, there’s only four players older than me (David Mundy, Stephen Hill, Michael Walters and Travis Colyer).

“Naturally it makes a bit more sense that I’ve become a bit more comfortable in my role as captain and my position in the group.

“Hopefully now my leadership isn’t as forced or orchestrated, it’s more natural and authentic for me.”

Fremantle is set to unleash Fredericks and Serong in Saturday’s pre-season opener against Carlton in Mandurah, while Longmuir hinted Young could feature in the club’s second pre-season game while Henry was close to full fitness after suffering a dislocated knee cap.

Fremantle will open its 2020 season against Essendon on Saturday March 21 at Marvel Stadium.

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