Fremantle earmark Nat Fyfe’s return for round 12 against Brisbane Lions

Headshot of Eliza Reilly
Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
Nat Fyfe has a date for his AFL return.
Camera IconNat Fyfe has a date for his AFL return. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Round 12 has been earmarked as Nat Fyfe’s return date.

The Dockers were reminded exactly what they were missing on Sunday against Gold Coast, beaten in the contest and undone in the wet as the Suns inflicted Fremantle’s second loss of the season.

There is a chance Fyfe could return next weekend for Fremantle’s round 11 blockbuster top-four clash with Melbourne at the MCG.

But it’s more likely the 30-year-old will return from back surgery against the Lions at Optus Stadium and battle Brisbane’s star-studded midfield of former teammate Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons and Hugh McCluggage.

Then Fyfe could play back-to-back games against Brisbane and Hawthorn on home soil before the Dockers enjoy a round 14 bye.

Fyfe amped up his training last week, reintegrating into parts of main training alongside his teammates.

“He’s probably touch and go for the Melbourne game,” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir told 7News.

“We probably need a couple of good solid weeks of contact work into him.

“He’ll be touch and go for the week after and that’s probably been the plan all along, the Brisbane game.

“We’ll welcome him back when he comes. He’s stepping up his training and looking really good now.”

Fremantle Dockers players train ahead of their clash weith Essendon. Pictured - Matt Taberner
Camera IconForward Matt Taberner also looks set to return. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

A trio of forwards, including spearhead Matt Taberner, are a chance to bolster Fremantle’s attack against Collingwood on Sunday.

Taberner (hamstring), Michael Walters (H&S protocols), and Sam Switkowski (concussion) have been listed as tests ahead of Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round clash at Optus Stadium.

Longmuir expected the trio to all be available for selection pending main training on Thursday.

Key defender Alex Pearce will be assessed later in the week after coming from the ground late against the Suns and icing up his troublesome ankle.

“He’s a little bit sore but he’s been managing that ankle injury and had that little incident with it on the weekend which will leave him a little bit sore early in the week,” Longmuir said.

“We expect him to progress and be able to main train or at least do something at main training and put his hand up for selection hopefully.”

Winger Nathan O’Driscoll has a stress fracture in his foot and will spend some time in a moon boot, while first-year midfielder Matthew Johnson is expected to make his Peel debut on Saturday after overcoming a pre-season ankle injury.

Longmuir also said the Dockers are assessing their options for the mid-season draft.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Alex Pearce of the Dockers kicks the ball during the 2022 AFL Round 09 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Fremantle Dockers at Metricon Stadium on May 15, 2022 in the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconAlex Pearce faces a race against time to be fit to play Collingwood. Credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Fremantle have one list spot available after Luke Valente retired during pre-season but the Dockers are yet to commit to adding to their list.

“It’s a decision for Dave Walls our list manager and Peter Bell to decide where they see the list is at,” he said.

“We’ve got good depth at the moment We should have good numbers at Peel this week but that can change really quickly and these decisions sometimes get left to the last minute so we’ll have to decide down the track.”

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