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Mark Robinson, the chief football writer at the Herald Sun, believes Nat Fyfe will be a ‘wrecking ball’ in the midfield under the AFL’s new rules for the 2019 season.
In a countdown of the AFL’s top 50 players, Robinson ranked Fyfe no.1 ahead of a group of the game’s best midfielders in Dustin Martin at no.2, Patrick Dangerfield at no.3 and Patrick Cripps at no.4.
Speaking with Fyfe on Tuesday night’s edition of AFL360, Robinson and co-host Gerard Whateley said they expect the highly-rated Fyfe to get even better.
Fyfe said that he also hopes the new rules enhance his strengths.
“We’ve been obviously trialling the new rules through the pre-season, and what we’re seeing is a more pure four V four midfield battle which plays to my strengths - running out the front of the square and having long penetrating entries or shots on goal.” Fyfe told AFL360.
“When you rest, you can rest out of the cage (the goal square) and try and make that a pure one-on-one battle.
“I think the rule changes suit players like me, Dangerfield, Martin, Cripps - the more contested beasts, and I’m hoping that’s the case.”
Whateley said he gets excited when hearing the AFL’s best past and current players discuss how the game could evolve.
“The game perfectly suited Fyfe in the year that he dominated (2015) and we were denied it the year after (due to injury),” Whateley said.
“(Collingwood midfielder) Adam Treloar was nearly giddy with excitement talking about what was going to happen in the centre square, so to hear Fyfe talk about being able to burst through the stoppages…(Brownlow medallist) Chris Judd said the game will absolutely skew to the best players and what a season we’ve got in store if that happens.”
Robinson said he hopes to have the chance to see Fyfe and Sandilands team up in 2019.
“The best players will only get better. Twelve years ago people were writing and talking about Brendon Lade to Sean Burgoyne was a good as ruck to rover type that we had seen. I actually think Aaron Sandilands to Nathan Fyfe is as good as I’ve seen,” Robinson said.
“If they get back to that, with that space, I think Fyfe can just…he’ll be a wrecking ball this year.”
Fyfe said he hopes to see Fremantle create a fortress at Optus Stadium in 2019 while building on their away performances.
“We’ve brought over four experienced players in Jesse Hogan, Rory Lobb, Reece Conca and Travis Colyer, as well as a couple of new kids in the draft,” Fyfe said.
“We’re hoping that we can iron out some of those creases. There are going to be some ups and downs but if we can keep our best players on the field, we feel we’ve got enough calibre to win a lot of games at Optus Stadium and enough games on the road to be competitive towards the end of the season.”