On the eve of his return to AFL football, captain Nat Fyfe has given significant credit to senior coach Justin Longmuir for Fremantle's 9-3 start to the 2022 season.

In an interview with Adam Gilchrist on SEN WA, Fyfe also said he used to joke about how he would only play in the WAFL if he was made to earn his place, only to see that genuinely become the case last week when he made his Peel debut the same weekend Fremantle defeated the second-placed Brisbane - largely due to their domination through the midfield.

The two-time Brownlow Medallist said Longmuir sees AFL football through a lens that no-one else can.

“The ability for him to be able to see football is like an economical discussion,” Fyfe told SEN WA.

“How does our offense, contest and defence all function as one? And what parts do you take from some to give to the others to make sure the balance is always optimised?

“I've never seen a person operate in this space (like) he does. After playing for 11 years, you feel like you know pretty much everything about the game, and for him to come in and constantly be surprising me with what he is looking at and seeing, compared to what I thought I was seeing - he's as good as I've ever seen in that capacity.”

As well as being a tactical thinker, Longmuir has also been able to connect with everyone at the Club on a personal level.

“I'd say (his strategy) would be his strength and the other thing that he does really well in this environment is empower those around him,” Fyfe said.

“From coaches, leaders, staff to be able to bring their strengths to the table. He does that really well, too.”

Fyfe is a huge addition to the third-placed Freo who have already defeated the three highest teams on the ladder around them in Melbourne, Brisbane and Geelong.

Against Hawthorn on Saturday at Optus Stadium, he will play his first game since round 19 last year against Sydney.

Since then, Fyfe has had two shoulder operations and a significant back issue that saw him miss the first 12 games this year.

“The internal conversation started weeks ago, about 'oh, you'll have to come back in the twos' in a joking, jovial type way,” Fyfe said.

“I remember saying a number of years ago, the only time I play WAFL, joking, would be if we were humming and I genuinely had to earn my spot back and if that was the case, I'd be the happiest man in Western Australia.

“That's the circumstance that presented itself, is that we had a team with fitness availability and form which warranted that no reputation was going to get you into this team.

“As a senior player who's spent the last six years not playing finals, that was the most perfect scenario to be able to step back into.

“To come through the WAFL, genuinely integrate back in and not have any preferential treatment is a great space to be in as a senior player.”

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Nat Fyfe joins On The Couch | Fox Footy

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While Fyfe plays his best football through the midfield, he also boasts significant ability as a forward and is set to spend a significant amount of time up the ground, in part due to how well Fremantle’s core midfield of Andrew Brayshaw, David Mundy, Caleb Serong and Will Brodie are operating.

He expects his midfield minutes to build in time as he builds through the second half of the season.

“My mix will be somewhere centre forward, mostly,” Fyfe said.

“It will be a role that looks different this weekend to what it's going to look in eight weeks’ time so it will evolve as the season goes on.”

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