Star Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe has been ruled out for the rest of the AFL season, but Dockers coach Ross Lyon says it’s ignorant for people to think Matthew Pavlich should follow suit.
Fyfe has been sidelined since suffering a second break to his left fibula during the round-five loss to Carlton.
He first fractured the leg during last year’s preliminary final defeat to Hawthorn.
The 2015 Brownlow medallist underwent surgery late last month to have an even bigger plate inserted into the leg, with the plate to be removed later this season.
Fremantle had originally left the door open for Fyfe to return at the tail end of 2016.
But after receiving updated medical advice, Fremantle will wrap their star on-baller in cotton wool for the rest of the season.
“It’s disappointing for Nat and our members and supporters, but we will always act in the best long-term interests of a player’s health and well-being,” Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond said.
“Our medical advice is that if Nat completes the rehabilitation phase without any setbacks, he will be fit and available to start the 2017 pre-season on schedule.”
Pavlich will be rested for Saturday’s clash with Hawthorn in Launceston as part of a management program designed to get him through the season.
The 34-year-old has been a solid contributor for the Dockers this year, averaging 13 possessions and four marks a game to go with his 10.15.
But with finals already out of the equation following Fremantle’s 0-7 start to the season, some pundits say Pavlich should retire to give a younger player an opportunity to gain AFL experience.
However, Lyon clearly doesn’t agree with that opinion.
“There’s always ignorant, inaccurate people out there, and that’s the category I put them in,” Lyon said.
“We get stuck on age a little bit. It’s been a good decision (for him to play on).
“Not being captain – even though he’s leading strongly around the place at the minute – has been beneficial for him. That responsibility taken away from him has freed him up.
“He’s a bit more relaxed. He’s been terrific. He’s playing some really good football.”
With Fyfe, Pavlich, Michael Johnson (knee/hamstring), Aaron Sandilands (rib/lungs) and Harley Bennell all unavailable this week, the Dockers are predicted to receive a painful thrashing at the hands of Hawthorn.
Lyon revealed Pavlich was keen to play against the Hawks, but the club opted to rest him for his own sake.
“He was a bit disappointed in a sense, but sometimes you’ve got to save players from themselves,” Lyon said.
“He’s got some niggles so, if we can settle that down (it will be good).”