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Fremantly Football Club

Nat Fyfe on AFLX

'Full support' for AFLX - Fyfe Nat Fyfe says AFLX has the full support of the playing group.

Superstar Nat Fyfe admits to "some nervousness" being involved in a restyled AFLX, but says the opportunity to play alongside the League's elite was too good to pass up.

Fyfe conceded the four AFLX captains – including Patrick Dangerfield, Eddie Betts and Jack Riewoldt – were putting their reputations at risk by fronting the new format, which will be unveiled at Marvel Stadium on February 22.

The Fremantle skipper understands the skepticism but believed the concept – featuring eight players per side on a rectangular field – had potential and could develop into a franchise-style tournament played overseas.

"I couldn't really see anything wrong with getting involved," Fyfe said.

"I didn't get to do AFLX last year. I'm keen to have a go at the concept.

"I've got some nervousness around it like everyone else does, but I think we would be missing an opportunity if we didn't try to venture into new avenues in our game.

"Maybe this format will suit me, maybe it won't. I'm really open-minded about it and keen to give it a go.

"If I try, it sucks, I'll write it off, but I'm open-minded at this stage."

Fyfe was partly sold by the chance to select his own team, nicknamed the 'Flyers', from the cream of the AFL crop.

He nominated the likes of Marcus Bontempelli, Patrick Cripps, Scott Pendlebury, Kade Simpson, Joel Selwood and Elliot Yeo as potential targets in the draft early next month.

But his chances of playing alongside fellow Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin appear slim.

"I bumped into Dusty in Costa Rica in the off-season actually and asked him if he was getting involved, and he was a little bit skeptical at that stage, so hopefully we can get him over the line and playing," Fyfe said.

Some have questioned why State of Origin can't be revived if players, who will be paid for their involvement, can put their hands up for AFLX.

Fyfe, a "fence-sitter" about State of Origin, believed the risk of injury was significantly lower in the new format.

"I think State of Origin died a natural death because the best players weren't playing because it was a full-length game, there was that standard injury risk," he said.

"The idea with AFLX, I think players are going to only be playing about 30 minutes of footy in this concept.

"There won't be a lot of contact. I won't be telling my team to be tackling, going back with the flight of the ball, or even doing those really hard, long chase-outs.

"It's more about skill, it's about structure, it's about the high marks, the freakish goals – the stuff you wouldn't see at a stock-standard, regular-season AFL game.

"The smaller numbers opens the door, potentially, to start the discussion around the State of Origin footy again at some stage."

Fyfe revealed his charity for AFLX was the Royal Flying Doctor Service, with the winning team set to donate $50,000 to a selected cause.

 
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs