The return of Nat Fyfe to the midfield was one of the many highlights for Fremantle on Saturday night, with the dual Brownlow medallist producing a dominant first half against West Coast and unlocking new opportunities for his on-ball teammates.

Fyfe was prolific at Lathlain Oval and the most impactful player in the two 30-minute quarters he was scheduled to play as Fremantle's first official hitout against opposition resulted in a 14.14 (98) to 5.16 (46) win over the Eagles.


Fyfe's ability to win the ball in the contest, stand up in tackles, and release players into space with his creative handballing contributed heavily to a dominant midfield performance, as Caleb Serong, Andrew Brayshaw and Matthew Johnson all excelled.

Over four 30-minute quarters, Fremantle was a stronger and more organised team against West Coast. But the Eagles brought pressure to the contest early and held themselves in the scrappy elements of the first half.

With Fremantle's midfield in control, their tall forwards were able to get on top, with Jye Amiss the standout with three goals in the third quarter and Luke Jackson and Josh Treacy adding two each.

Eagles were left with Reuben Ginbey on the sidelines after the midfielder entered concussion protocols following a tackle gone wrong, while No.1 Draft pick Harley Reid and impressive young defender Brady Hough suffered cramp. Ruckman Matt Flynn was a late withdrawal from the match after suffering a hamstring injury on Friday.

In the backline, Jordan Clark continued to impress after a strong pre-season improving his fitness, producing several repeat dashing runs and acting as a general following Hayden Young's move to the midfield.

With Young in the midfield and Serong and Brayshaw kicking the ball inside 50 with improved efficiency, Fremantle's connection between their midfielders and forwards looked much improved.

For West Coast, senior midfielder Elliot Yeo battled hard at the coalface and kicked a terrific running goal late, with Jayden Hunt producing dash and an attacking mindset off half-back. The speed and clean hands of small forward Noah Long stood out in several passages.

Young guns
It was a tough induction for No.1 pick Harley Reid, who started in the midfield and rotated through half-back and struggled to get his hands on the ball early. The young gun had windows to show his assets, including a long run out of the backline, but he was otherwise outpointed. For Fremantle, midfielder/forward Cooper Simpson entered the match after half time and was energetic, laying some strong tackles and kicking a late goal after winning a holding the ball free kick.

Switching positions
Third-year Eagle Brady Hough's increased height and strength allowed him to hold down the third tall defender role, lining up on Fremantle's tall forwards, including Jye Amiss, for long periods. With Jeremy McGovern unavailable, ruckman Callum Jamieson was used as a key defender. Fremantle's midfield ran deep, requiring Brayshaw and Jaeger O'Meara to rotate to a wing at times, with Johnson also moving between the inside and outside.

Injury watch
Young West Coast midfielder Reuben Ginbey was sidelined in the first half and entered concussion protocols after copping a stray elbow to the head when he was attempting to tackle Luke Jackson. The Eagles also copped a blow on the eve of the match when ruckman Matt Flynn suffered a hamstring tendon injury at training. Harley Reid sent a scare through the camp when he reached for his leg after a marking attempt, but he appeared to be cramping. For Freo, wingman Jeremy Sharp was withdrawn late because of illness, but the team otherwise appeared to get through unscathed as several senior stars were rested during the second half of the match.

Fantasy tempters
Nat Fyfe ($491,000 MID/FWD) has done enough to show his price represents incredible early-season value for a player of his class earmarked for a permanent midfield role. Meanwhile, Caleb Serong ($976,000 MID) showed if you willing to pay the price, he should deliver the required output. Hayden Young ($805,000 DEF) and Elliot Yeo ($633,000 DEF/MID) had the midfield roles coaches are chasing from them to slot them into your Fantasy backline this year. 

WEST COAST        1.3   3.9   3.14   5.16 (46)
FREMANTLE        4.2   6.6   10.13   14.14 (98)

West Coast: Allen, Kelly, Livingstone, Maric
Fremantle: Amiss 3, Jackson 2, Treacy 2, Walters 2, Emmett, Frederick, O'Driscoll, Simpson, Switkowski

2. Jake Waterman, 3. Andrew Gaff, 5. Jayden Hunt, 6. Elliot Yeo, 7. Reuben Ginbey, 9. Harley Reid, 11. Tim Kelly, 12. Oscar Allen, 13. Noah Long, 14. Liam Duggan, 15. Jamie Cripps, 16. Luke Edwards, 18. Campbell Chesser, 19. Brady Hough, 21. Jack Petruccelle, 23. Alex Witherden, 28. Tom Cole, 31. Jamaine Jones, 32. Bailey Williams, 34. Jack Williams, 36. Loch Rowlinson, 37. Tom Barrass, 39. Coen Livingstone, 40. Callum Jamieson, 41. Ryan Maric, 43. Tyrell Dewar

Notable absentees: Jack Darling, Jeremy McGovern, Dom Sheed, Liam Ryan, Josh Rotham, Tyler Brockman, Elijah Hewett, Jai Culley

1. Sam Sturt, 2. Jaeger O’Meara, 3. Caleb Serong, 4. Sean Darcy, 6. Jordan Clark, 7. Nathan Fyfe, 8. Andy Brayshaw, 9. Luke Jackson, 10. Michael Walters, 11. James Aish, 12. Hugh Davies, 13. Luke Ryan, 14. Jeremy Sharp, 15. Ethan Hughes, 17. Will Brodie, 18. Tom Emmett, 20. Matt Taberner, 21. Oscar McDonald, 22. Max Knobel, 23. Karl Worner, 24. Jye Amiss, 25. Alex Pearce, 26. Hayden Young, 27. Odin Jones, 28. Neil Erasmus, 29. Cooper Simpson, 30. Nathan O’Driscoll, 31. Brandon Walker, 32. Michael Frederick, 34. Corey Wagner, 35. Josh Treacy, 37. Josh Draper, 38. Patrick Voss, 39. Sam Switkowski, 40. Jack Delean, 41. Bailey Banfield, 42. Liam Reidy, 44. Matt Johnson, 45. Conrad Williams, 46. Ethan Stanley

Notable absentees: Brennan Cox, Josh Corbett, Heath Chapman