FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon has backed Nat Fyfe to be fit and firing for Round 1 despite the skipper failing to play a pre-season match for the Dockers.
Fyfe underwent minor surgery on his right elbow shortly after appearing in the AFLX tournament on February 22.
The 27-year-old missed last Monday’s pre-season loss to Collingwood and has also been ruled out of Sunday’s clash with West Coast.
But Lyon is adamant Fyfe will be raring to go for the club’s round one clash with North Melbourne on March 24.
“The recommendation from the surgeon was for Nathan not to play (the Eagles),” Lyon said.
“He’ll be training (on Friday), he will just be on no contact.
“His history is that he can perform really well. He’s had a big summer, he played AFLX, and he’ll be good to go.
“He’ll definitely play round one. If it was round one (this weekend), he’d be playing.”
Although the AFLX tournament was largely bruise-free footy, Lyon said it had helped Fyfe prepare for the season proper.
“We counted AFLX as a hit-out,” Lyon said.
“I read (Patrick) Dangerfield’s comment that you couldn’t even celebrate a goal as it was that quick and intense.
“That was a really good hit-out, probably more intense than the intraclub we played (the same day), so we feel that he’s had one.”
Ruckman Sean Darcy (back/hamstring) and former Tiger Reece Conca (knee) have been named to play against West Coast but will need to pull up well from training on Saturday to prove their fitness.
“For Sean, part of the protocol is to tick off his speed, and then he’ll join in training and play,” Lyon said.
“Reece is straight into training, so as long as they get through, they’ll play.
“Reece will play through the midfield. He can play inside mid, half-back and wing and a little bit forward if we need. He’ll probably go through the midfield this weekend and on the wing.
“If Fyfe was playing, he might have been pushed to half-back.”
Defender Griffin Logue faces a fight to be fit for round one after injuring a hamstring against the Magpies.
Sunday’s practice match will pit Andrew Brayshaw up against Andrew Gaff for the first time since the fiery round 20 western derby last year.
Gaff copped an eight-week ban after that match for his punch that broke the jaw of Brayshaw.
Brayshaw has since forgiven Gaff and says he will shake hands with the star Eagle before Sunday’s bouncedown if they both start on the field.
© AAP 2019