Nat Fyfe has paid an emotional tribute to former Fremantle coach Ross Lyon after the Dockers captain won his second Brownlow Medal.
Fyfe had the medal won with two rounds left and he topped a star-studded top 10 packed with current All-Australians and fellow Brownlow winners Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin.
The Fremantle star paid rich tribute to Lyon on stage and in his media conference, predicting he would return to the game soon.
Fyfe said around December, Lyon challenged him about his pre-season training and said the onballer was going through the motions.
“That was enough of a spark to really get going,” he said.
“You won’t be able to replace a Ross Lyon – he’ll be back in footy circles in years to come, I’m sure, because he’s so valuable to the game.”
Fremantle are yet to appoint their next senior coach after sacking Lyon last month.
Fyfe is also yet to captain the Dockers in a final and he is determined that they rebound soon.
“I would trade this in, in a heartbeat, just for the opportunity to be able to play in another grand final,” he said.
“I have no intention of going backwards for a couple of years before we regather.
“Our best footy can beat anyone.”
Fyfe, who also won the Brownlow in 2015, cut an impressive figure in his acceptance speech and in his media conference.
He joked on stage that his parents David and Christine, back in the small WA country town of Lake Grace, might already have gone to bed.
Fyfe said he rang his parents after the count with a borrowed phone.
“I spoke to him (Dad) briefly and then heard Mum chirp in the background ‘I will speak to you tomorrow darls’, so she has a sense of humour,” he said.
“That’s my reality, I don’t know anything else, but I sort of won the lottery, where I was born, my parents, a stable family.”
Fyfe said this had been his most consistent season and the captaincy had elevated his game.
But he came to the count with minimal expectations, given the quality of the other favourites.
“I thought I’d be in the mix, but to win outright … I’m incredibly humbled,” he said.