Yes, yes, I know it’s Round 1. I’m not going to make any outlandish calls, but that Fremantle effort on Sunday was the most important game under Ross Lyon’s tenure.
Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe has emphatically declared season 2019 as the resurgence of the power midfielder.
The 2015 Brownlow Medallist foreshadowed the introduction of new centre bounce rules resulting in “contested beasts” dictating the game.
Appearing via live stream from Optus Stadium, Fyfe spoke to Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Tuesday, freshly minted as the best player in the game, according to host Mark Robinson’s Top 50 in the AFL.
“We’ve been, obviously, trialling through the preseason the new rules, the players starting in the goal square,” Fyfe said.
“And what we’re seeing is a more pure 4v4 midfield battle, which plays to my strengths, running out the front of the square and having long penetrating entries or shots on goal.”
Fyfe predicted that the rule changes, which require players to line up in their designated forward, midfield or defender zones would also allow big-bodied midfielders to do more damage on the scoreboard.
“When you rest, you can rest out of the cage and try and make that a pure one on one battle.
“I think the rule changes will suit players like me, Dangerfield, Martin and Patty Cripps.
“The more contested beasts.”
When quizzed about the contentious new 50m penalty protected zone rule, which saw several double-50m penalties awarded throughout the JLT Community Series, the dual All Australian placed the onus on the players to learn the rules.
“I saw the double 50m penalty play out a little bit over the weekend, Jack Riewoldt milked it beautifully, I saw that one,” he said.
“I think players just need to get their head around it.
“The rules are there for a reason to try and make the game flow a little better and make it better to watch. I think the players just need to get their head around that one.”
However, the Dockers captain believes that the new restrictions around runners could handicap sides like his on game-day.
“The runner rule, I saw Luke Hodge’s comments around it disadvantaging younger teams or teams down the bottom of the ladder, I tend to agree with that somewhat.
“But again, probably need a larger sample size before making a genuine opinion on it.”
Asked for his number one player in the game, Fyfe recognised a number of fellow Brownlow Medallists.
“I think you can’t really go past Danger, Buddy, Dusty and maybe Patty Cripps and Alex Rance in the top five or six.
“But I’m not going to be so silly as to name my number one Robbo (host Mark Robinson), leave that to you.”