Won’t happen. Guarantee AFL will think Freo and west coast have been at home for that month and resume proper home and away when they return. That’s the AFL to a tee. As if the traditionalists in Victoria would allow that to happen- it’s meant to be fair right ?
Does he realise there will be no hub where players are required to spend 14 days in iso upon arriving.
I’ve posted it in the season tickets thread
Yeah, I recorded our games against Brisbane and Collingwood in 2015, watched the Brisbane games yesterday, wet day at Subiaco, interesting only 9 or so still playing, albeit at different clubs for some, including Aish at Brisbane.Our match against Port Adelaide last year was on Fox on Friday. I recorded it and watched it Yesterday. Sonny was brilliant of course.
It was less than 12 months ago but it felt like a lifetime. Of course the last 3 months have been strange for all of us, and I think this gives it more distance, but I was amazed how much I have moved on in a football sense. I was kind of surprised to see Brad Hill and Ed Langdon out there, and my emotional reaction was ‘who are these people playing for my football team’.
This is going to be a strange season, but I will be glad to see my team play.
I can see SA, and WA allowing travel to SA, WA, QLD, NT and ACT.Langdon saying in the West that the WA & SA teams will be away for a lot longer than 4 weeks.
i think he's right.
Can't see games in Perth or SA with border closures
Fantastic interview. I am amazed at how thoughtful and polished Fyfe is getting. He’s got coach/commentator written all over him when he retires. Thanks for posting as always, Dale.Nat Fyfe lifts lid on COVID-19 shutdown, the young Dockers with a point to prove and how Justin Longmuir has slotted in as new coach
Mark DuffieldThe West Australian
Wednesday, 3 June 2020 5:00PM
Mark Duffield asks Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe about the demands of what is surely the most unusual AFL season.
How have things been back at training?
We are starting to get the bags packed for Tuesday for the trip over to the Gold Coast. We will have a fairly significant hit-out on Friday. The ramp-up has been quite rapid. We have gone from hardly being able to high five to full-on scratch match to playing next week. Just trying to keep up with it.
Are you confident you can be ready in time for Brisbane?
There will be some sore bodies after the first couple of rounds but I think we did enough prep previously that we should be in a reasonable position and the older players know how to get themselves ready and get themselves through. It is probably more the first to fourth-year players who don’t have those pre-seasons of muscle conditioning under the belt who are at a bit of a higher risk. But Brisbane are going to be in the same position as us so the playing field is pretty level.
Were you happy with the shape most players came back in?
I was. We saw what we expected. Some guys took the opportunity to get ahead and knuckle down. Guys like Luke Valente, Stefan Giro, Michael Frederick, Brett Bewley. They stayed back in WA. They sacrificed the chance of going home and spending time with their families because they knew that they would be ahead on the restart. For other guys the most important thing was to mentally refresh and not be in a state of flux and uncertainty which can lead to burn-out. The real measurement will reveal itself after we play four, six or eight rounds — which guys have set themselves up for what is going to be the most unusual year ever.
It is hard to ease your way into an AFL season but is there some merit in doing that because of the unique build-up?
You have touched on a critical element of performance there. Publicly no club is going to say we are going to manage players through this first couple of rounds to make sure they are in a good position at the back end of the year. But I can guarantee you that players and more experienced teams will be looking at the season in its entirety and how they can have their best players on the park for the majority of the year. But clubs are going to be preparing themselves as well as they can to do whatever they can to get first-up wins. If we are looking at four weeks on the Gold Coast where we don’t have to get on and off planes, that potentially is a real chance for us to get a couple of early wins.
How much does the shutdown hurt Freo in terms of the ability to bed down a game plan under a new coach?
Justin Longmuir coaches his first AFL game at Fremantle. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos
I don’t think it hurts. It certainly stalled some progress for a while. At no real loss because we weren’t playing games. It meant guys had to dust off the playbook when they came back and get their head back into tune with structure and terminology. We have had another coach for years previous and so much of this stuff becomes sub-conscious in guys’ brains. World issues have taken over footy so much in our lives so thinking consciously about structure becomes secondary. There has been a pause, but now that we have got clarity around what the season looks like we are seeing all of our players knuckling into the game plan, structure and coming up to speed with all of the language so that when we play we are in a good position.
At the end of this season lists may be down-sized which may require some brutal calls on players. What is your advice to the younger players at the club to make sure they take every opportunity available to them?
There is so much dialogue being spun through the media about the possibilities and what ifs and we have very little control over that. Most players will be focusing on what they can control which is their preparation and once we get into games their performance, and if they take care of that the rest takes care of itself. Some big calls might be made at the end of the year but at the moment we are gearing up for a season and that is where everyone’s minds should be.
There is no official return date from the hub. Do you have a figure in mind that would mentally stretch the players if you were there for longer than a certain period?
Not really. I have wrapped my head around four weeks. I have prepared myself reasonably well for any eventuality. I do have a long-term partner. I am in a position and I think the majority of our players are in a position where we will do what is required. Hopefully it is only four weeks. If we do have to extend, hopefully we are mentally in a position to do that.
You, Michael Walters and David Mundy are probably going to be surrounded by a lot of young players in the midfield. Who strikes you as ready to go to a new level?
It is a tough question because it pumps someone up and mounts an expectation on them. I try not to do that. I like guys that prepare obsessively because they are the guys that give themselves the best chance. Brayshaw, Cerra, Valente, Bewley, Giro ... those guys can’t do any more in terms of preparation so it should come as no surprise if any one of those has a big year. We are excited about what Caleb Serong brings to our midfield. He looks like he sees the game at AFL level pretty well and he will have to be managed through the first half of the year to get his body ready to go but at some stage he will slot into our midfield and play a big role.
You have mentioned Valente a couple of times. We have barely seen him because of injuries. What have you seen in him?
Luke was a highly touted state-level, underage player and school footballer and has had no opportunity because his body has let him down in the first part of his career but he is in a position where he has been able to stack training. He is a bigger midfielder, he kicks both sides of his body and he reads the game well. He has all the attributes to be a high-quality player and his body is now allowing him to show some signs. Without putting any pressure on him, if he gets some minutes at AFL level he should come up to speed pretty quickly.
Would he come into contention for round two or later in the season?
Hard to make calls on selection although it is only next week. I wouldn’t be discounting him from the mix at this point.
How has Justin Longmuir handled himself in these unique circumstances?
Full of praise for the way Justin has handled the shutdown period and the return to training. He wants to get his hands on the playing group and start shaping them the way he sees fit as a senior coach and what the last eight weeks has meant is everyone had downed tools and you can’t get access. He has built access through other mediums as best he can. He has made sure we are in a position culturally and with our game plan that we could wind up pretty quickly once we resumed training. The next four weeks will be an opportunity for him to really build relationships with the players. I can’t fault the way he has gone about it.
Has it changed the way you have led as a captain?
It has challenged the way I relate. Communicating via Zoom, Skype, text message and phone call is not my preferred way to communicate. Some players like Alex Pearce really flourished during the break when that was the only access we had to each other. I learned to adapt and continue to build relationships, just to make sure everyone was comfortable and they could feel like they were connected to what we were doing as a club. I really enjoyed the challenges and some of the challenges over the next four weeks will require us as leaders to be at our most aware.
How is your body?
I am a lot better now than when I stepped out of the truck two weeks ago. I had a couple of much-needed weeks of dialling back into preparation but I am pretty good. I consider myself pretty lucky that I was able to step straight out of the city, down to Lake Grace, get into a truck and have some purpose during the shutdown. The family business genuinely needed a driver and I was able to do a role for the company. It gave me purpose to jump out of bed every day as well as being outdoors and moving when a lot of people were stagnant. Having done 10 years of footy, the most important thing is maintaining mindset and motivation when things get challenging. Being able to step out and do something different and then wind up when we had clarity will be the best preparation mentally I could have asked for.