Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe “needs to jump some hurdles” to convince coach Ross Lyon that he’s ready for the AFL finals.
Fyfe, suffering shin splints, missed his second game in row on Saturday when a skeletal Fremantle side were ripped apart by non-finalists Port Adelaide.
The Power triumphed by 69 points against the Dockers, who rested a dozen mainstays knowing top spot was secure regardless of the result.
Lyon expects all players, including Fyfe, to return for Fremantle’s home qualifying final.
“Certainly that is the plan,” he said after Port’s 18.14 (122) to 8.5 (53) win at Adelaide Oval.
But asked if Fyfe’s injury would hamper the Brownlow medal fancy next week, Lyon replied: “I don’t know. He needs to jump some hurdles so he’s not even picked yet.”
Fremantle won 17 and lost five games – and three of the defeats came in a past month punctuated by a sole victory, against lowly Melbourne.
But Lyon hinted his eye had always been on the bigger picture: the finals.
“We are as well prepared as anyone,” he said.
“We have worked hard to get a double chance, worked hard to get a home final.
“It’s a new season. Everyone has been posturing for positions to this point.”
Lyon declined to compare Fremantle’s current state to previous finals campaigns after slipping to a heavy defeat against Port.
The Power finish the season with 12 wins, one shy of eighth-placed North Melbourne – missing the finals for the first time in three seasons under coach Ken Hinkley.
The Power boss delivered an old-fashioned spray which revved his side into gear after an idle start.
Freo booted 4.4 to 1.3 in the first term, prompting an angry Hinkley to deliver a finger-pointing blast at quarter-time.
“I got aggressive,” Hinkley said.
His players responded in stunning style, kicking nine goals to nothing in the second term to create a lead that was never threatened.
“The boys certainly responded in the right way so that was pleasing from my point of view, that I can get them to respond,” Hinkley said.
“We woke up and then we did what we should have done in that game.”