Hardwick stunned by Fyfe's AFL brilliance

Michael Ramsey

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick couldn't help but marvel as Nat Fyfe put on a midfield masterclass during an otherwise dreadful day for Fremantle at the MCG.

Fyfe's stunning best-afield performance was a rare positive for the Dockers on Sunday as they succumbed to a 77-point thrashing from the reigning premiers.

In a game where the Dockers managed just four tackles in the first quarter and were held goalless in two out of four terms, Fyfe carried the team on his back.

The Dockers skipper had 33 disposals, a career-high 26 contested possessions, 12 clearances and eight marks during the 15.20 (110) to 4.9 (33) defeat.

The 190cm onballer also had a career-high seven hitouts with the Dockers throwing him into the ruck to support Aaron Sandilands.

"I actually just found myself watching him," Hardwick admitted after the game.

"He's an incredible player. He took five contested marks in the first half. He was, in my opinion, by far the most dominant player on the ground. I thought he was sensational."

The Tigers sent Nathan Broad to Fyfe in the final quarter but Hardwick admitted it was almost impossible to stop the 2015 Brownlow Medallist at his imposing best.

"It's so hard," Hardwick said.

"His ability to run full-pelt through a stoppage, take it at the same time while jumping and getting out ... we couldn't tackle him.

"He's such a good player. He's back to his best, there's no doubt about that. I don't know how you stop him, to be frank."

Fyfe's form so far this season has been his best since 2015, although coach Ross Lyon was reluctant to compare it to his Brownlow year.

Lyon said the Dockers would likely persist with Fyfe spending time in the ruck, jokingly comparing him to legendary 189cm Carlton ruckman John Nicholls.

"He liked it. We really liked it," Lyon said.

"The old follower. He's bigger than 'big Nick', I think.

"I thought it was really productive."