FREMANTLE is prepared to protect “battered and bruised” Nat Fyfe if the superstar continues to be physically targeted, veteran David Mundy says.
Ross Lyon was fed up with treatment aimed at Fyfe following a fourth straight loss against Hawthorn, declaring the Dockers would “take it into our own hands” if something wasn’t done.
The coach is frustrated with West Coast and Hawks opponents “checking” Fyfe off the ball in recent weeks.
Nat Fyfe was Freo’s best player against the Hawks despite copping unwanted attention. Picture: AFL Photos
Fyfe struggled with an apparent right shoulder problem in both games, however he bounced back from a quiet Western Derby with a 24-disposal, three-goal effort in a losing cause in Launceston.
Mundy insisted the Dockers were ready to step in with a “team approach” if Fyfe continued to cop undue attention.
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“I think the rules are fairly clearly defined, so hopefully the players can get the right kind of protection from the umpires officiating the game,” Mundy said.
“But certainly there are measures the players can take to stand up for our teammates, and ultimately give Nat the ball.
“We don’t put it on one or two players to be the enforcers or protect Nathan. I don’t think Nat would really want an individual taking too much from their game to do that.
“To my knowledge, Nathan is a bit sore, battered and bruised but will lick his wounds and get back up this week.”
The Dockers are under the pump heading into Saturday night’s home clash against Sydney, and Mundy refuted suggestions he should take a break amid waning output.
The soon-to-be 34-year-old was in vintage touch in the first 10 games, averaging 26.9 disposals, but that output has dipped by seven possessions per game in the past six weeks.
“I feel like within games I’m moving OK and I’m certainly pulling up really well,” Mundy said.
“I’m too competitive to voluntarily sit out. I’d hate to be watching from the grandstands, especially over the last month how we’ve been travelling.
“I’m really keen and eager to do my bit and help contribute. But if I get the tap on the shoulder I’ll certainly accept that and work through that with Ross and the coaches.”
The Dockers have tumbled from sixth to 13th on the ladder over the past month and their faint finals hopes would be extinguished with another loss.
Fremantle has plummeted down the ladder over the past month. Picture: AFL Photos
Spearhead Jesse Hogan (foot) could return against the Swans after missing the past three defeats.
Mundy, who is keen to play on in 2020, was confident Freo could turn things around after identifying key areas repeatedly “coming up to bite us on the arse”.
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AFL.com.au expert Kane Cornes has labelled the Dockers currently the second-worst team in the competition, and accused Lyon of diverting attention from his position by focusing on Fyfe’s physical treatment.
“Kane’s obviously making a lot of headlines at the moment and he loved chatting when he was playing and that certainly hasn’t changed,” Mundy said.
“I’ll listen to people and comments I really value, and I guess unfortunately for Kane if that’s of his nature, he’s not one of them.”