Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe is adamant his nuisance of a leg injury won’t sideline him for Friday night’s preliminary final against Hawthorn, but he admits it will be a challenge to back up for the grand final.
Fyfe has battled with inflammation in his left leg for the past month, forcing him to miss the final two rounds of the home-and-away season.
The Brownlow medal favourite made a standout return in the club’s qualifying final win over Sydney a fortnight ago and he is looking to put in another strong display against the Hawks.
If Fremantle win that match, the club’s medical staff will need to work overtime to ensure Fyfe recovers in time for the grand final.
“That’s going to pose a bit of a challenge,” Fyfe said.
“But luckily we’ve got medical professionals who have considered all options and have got me in the best hands.
“And should that (making the grand final) happen – and hopefully it does – then we’ll be ready to go again.
“It (the leg injury) is a little bit of a nuisance, but it’s fine. No one is 100 per cent (fit), but I’ll be playing.
“Medically I think it’s similar to shin splints. There was always going to be a little bit of a response from playing but I pulled up quite well, so I’m happy.”
Fyfe remains a hot favourite to win the Brownlow medal despite his slow end to the season.
The 24-year-old struggled to produce his best form after copping a heavy cork to his thigh from a Sam Mitchell knee in round 15.
The cork resulted in a slight change in Fyfe’s running style, which led to a groin issue that sidelined him for a fortnight.
Now it’s a lower leg injury that is threatening to affect Fyfe’s performances on the biggest stage, but the West Australian isn’t holding any grudges.
“You’re never going to get through a whole season without a few bumps and bruises along the way,” Fyfe said.
“I guess I had such a fruitful start to the year without much injury concern that there was always this possibility lingering.
“But I’m still out and playing and able to contribute, so it’s not the worst case.”
Fyfe said he would prepare for Friday night’s game as normal despite facing the very real prospect of being targeted by Hawthorn’s battle-hardened midfielders.
Intrigue surrounds the final make-up of Fremantle’s squad, with tagger Ryan Crowley an outside chance to earn a dream recall.
Crowley’s doping ban ends this week, and the 31-year-old looms as a perfect match-up for either Mitchell or Isaac Smith.