Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has a few issues to concern himself with after his misfiring Dockers were defeated by North Melbourne but Nat Fyfe’s report doesn’t appear to be one of them.
The Brownlow Medal favourite faces a nervous wait for the AFL match review panel’s assessment of his front-on collision with tagger Ben Jacobs in the third quarter of Sunday’s 11-point loss to the Kangaroos.
Having already been fined twice this season, Fyfe can’t afford to be found guilty of another offence, with a third fine – and subsequent suspension – ruling him ineligible for the game’s highest individual honour for the second year running.
Jacobs, who had leaned forward to gather a loose ball, reeled backwards after Fyfe slid in on his knees and made high contact as he also went for the ball, but the Roos midfielder was quickly up on his feet.
Fyfe’s intention appeared to be the ball and he didn’t brace himself to make impact with Jacobs but umpire Brett Rosebury reported him on the spot.
Lyon, however, was unfazed when asked about the incident immediately after the match.
“Where he went for the ground ball and went low? That’s how I saw it,” Lyon said.
“I coach my players that if you go for the ball you’re going to be ok but if you go for the man and you bump … if you tuck yourself up to bump and you go for the man when you can go for the ball I think you’re in trouble.
“But I think if you attack the ball you’re ok.
“Hopefully on the vision Nathan’s attacked the ball and gone low for the ball. If he’s done that he should be ok but if he’s tucked in and bumped I think he’s in trouble.
“That’s my understanding of the rules but I could be wrong.”
Fyfe, who finished one vote behind winner Matt Priddis last year despite missing four games through suspension, found an unlikely ally in North coach Brad Scott.
“I’m a bit of a players’ coach – I think that it’s got to be a severe incident for a player to miss a game,” Scott said.
“In my personal view he’s not a malicious player. He’s a ball player, everyone know that, but the MRP will deal with that.”
Fremantle’s hold on top spot was weakened by their second loss in as many weeks, with Lyon frustrated by the error-riddled performance.