Nat Fyfe’s left leg perfectly sums up Fremantle’s premiership hopes – broken.
Fyfe’s bid for back-to-back Brownlow Medals are over after it was confirmed the star midfielder had fractured the same leg he broke in last year’s preliminary final loss to Hawthorn.
The 24-year-old will undergo surgery in Melbourne this week, and there’s a chance he won’t play again this year.
Adding to the slumping Dockers’ misery, defender Michael Johnson is also set for a significant stint on the sidelines after tearing his right hamstring and damaging the medial ligament in his right knee.
Johnson will also undergo surgery.
Dockers coach Ross Lyon says no time frame has been set for a return for Fyfe, who suffered the injury while being slung into the artificial turf during Sunday’s four-point loss to Carlton.
“It will just be what’s best for Nathan when he’s 100 per cent,” Lyon told Triple M radio in Melbourne.
“If it took him a year to get healthy, that’s what we would do.”
Fyfe returned to the field in the second half in an attempt to play through the injury, but he lasted just three more minutes before limping off.
Johnson also returned to the field after his injury was assessed, but he was clearly hindered.
Fyfe’s injury will boost this year’s Brownlow hopes of Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield, Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell, and Sydney’s Luke Parker among others.
News of Fyfe’s setback comes at the worst possible time for Fremantle, who are rock bottom at 0-5 and face the in-form Crows at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Fellow stars Aaron Sandilands (ribs) and Harley Bennell (calf) remain sidelined, but skipper David Mundy is set to return against the Crows.
Lyon admits he needs to go back to the drawing board after his side’s horror start to the year.
The 10th-year coach described the loss to Carlton as one of the most disappointing he’s ever experienced, citing horror turnovers and poor decision making as his team’s undoing.
Lyon hasn’t missed the finals since his first year as senior coach of St Kilda in 2007.
The 59-year-old is contracted to Fremantle until the end of 2020, and insists he’s up for the challenge of transforming the club back into premiership mode.
“I’d like to have a crack at it. I think I’ve got all the capabilities to get it done,” Lyon said.
“I’ve always coached teams and clubs with massive expectation, I’ve been to three grand finals and a replay.
“This club has won the second most amount of games behind Hawthorn over four years. I think we’ve tried to create opportunity and we’ve done that.
“I didn’t just think it was going to roll along like that forever.”