Fremantle’s bid to retain Nat Fyfe has just got a whole lot harder, with the star AFL midfielder declaring his intention to explore his free agency options.
Fyfe comes out of contract at the end of next season, and he’ll be hot property on the open market despite his recent injury woes.
Just last weekend, Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich said the club was confident of re-signing Fyfe on a long-term deal.
But the Brownlow medallist revealed he would only stay at the Dockers if he saw a strong future at the club.
“Free agency is that players have a say in their careers and it would be remiss of me not to look at every possible option,” Fyfe told Seven News.
“But if I see a strong future at Fremantle, then that’s where I will be playing my footy.
“We’ve fallen from grace quite dramatically, and publicly it’s been mentioned that we’re going to go through a transition.”
Fyfe will be a restricted free agent at the end of next year, meaning the Dockers can still retain the West Australian if they are able and willing to match a rival’s offer.
The Dockers started 2016 as one of the premiership favourites.
But in a massive fall from grace, Fremantle are likely to finish 16th after tallying just three wins from 19 games.
Injuries played a key role in the Dockers’ downfall, but the team’s inability to adapt to coach Ross Lyon’s new attacking game-plan was also a significant factor.
Lyon admits Fyfe will be a chance to leave if he doesn’t believe in the direction the club’s heading.
But for now, Fyfe is concentrating on making a full recovery from his second broken leg.
Fyfe first broke his left leg during last year’s preliminary final loss to Hawthorn, and he suffered another fracture in round five this year.
Shoulder and back injuries have also plagued Fyfe during his 117-game career.
“I’ve had 14 surgeries now and they’re starting to stack up,” Fyfe said.
“Back off the last one I was really diligent and did all my rehab as well as could be expected, and there was no signs that anything was going to go wrong and then it did.
“So there’s always going to be a level of doubt in a lot of aspects of my body.
“I firmly believe I can get back to being as good if not better than I was. I’m really excited by that prospect.”
Fyfe has started light running after having pins removed from his lower left leg last week.
The 24-year-old is hoping to return to full training this week.