ANDREW Brayshaw faces a “deep” psychological test when he returns from the severe facial injuries he suffered late last season, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says.

Brayshaw’s highly encouraging debut season came to an abrupt halt in last year’s round 20 Derby when he was struck by West Coast’s Andrew Gaff. The sickening blow broke his jaw and displaced five teeth, and saw the Eagles midfielder slapped with an eight-match suspension.

Lyon told AFL.com.au Brayshaw had enjoyed a “wonderful” pre-season and was well placed to build on a 2018 season in which he quickly found his feet at AFL level, averaging 16 possessions across 17 games.

The Dockers coach earmarked 2017’s No.2 draft pick as one of the midfielders who could help pick up the slack left by dual best-and-fairest winner Lachie Neale’s off-season departure to Brisbane.

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However, Lyon said Brayshaw would face some psychological hurdles when he returned to the field.

“He’s still got to get out on an AFL field and get into a competitive environment and work his way through that,” Lyon said.

“In a way we’re hardwired psychologically, our brain’s wired to protect ourselves.

“An AFL ground was the last place that he got significantly hurt, so I think at a deep level he’ll have to work through that.

“It would be a bit naïve whether you’re his coach, brother, family member or a member of the media, to not even think about that.

“I think it’s on the radar, but he’ll step his way through because he’s a tough kid.”