Nat Fyfe announcement stuns AFL world ahead of 2023 season

The two-time Brownlow medallist told his teammates on Tuesday.

Nat Fyfe (pictured left) speaking to the media and (pictured right) Fyfe walking off the field.
Nat Fyfe (pictured) has announced he will step down as Fremantle captain after six seasons as the leader of the club. (Images: @freodockers/Getty Images)

Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe has sensationally stepped down as captain for the club for the 2023 season after telling his teammates on Tuesday. The two-time Brownlow medallist has captained the club for six seasons, but the 31-year-old opted to hand over the role to allow other leaders to shine.

He also pointed to the need to focus on regaining fitness and form ahead of the current season. Defender Alex Pearce and midfielder Andrew Brayshaw are the leading contenders to replace Fyfe as captain, while rising star Caleb Serong looms as another option.

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The call wasn't a snap decision with Fyfe admitting he had made up his mind a few weeks ago after a challenging individual season in 2022. The star only managed seven games last year due to a number of injuries. "The decision was tough," Fyfe said.

"Last year was a challenging year for me individually, but a great year for the club and it started to pave the way for a transition. Intuitively, I knew that it was an exciting opportunity for the club, for me to step aside and let someone else come through.

"It took a while for the emotions and my mind to line up with my intuition, it feels like I was letting go of a dream in some ways. But once I connected with that feeling, it opens up the possibility for so much more. I'm optimistic about what this transition can do for the club."

Fyfe said in the latter stages of his career, stepping away from the role will allow him to mentor the forwards and focus on improving his own game.

"By stepping away completely from the leadership group that allows me to focus all my energy on helping our other forwards and learning my craft again," Fyfe said. "It also allows someone else to step into the leadership group potentially and give us that fresh push of leadership which will propel us forward."

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The AFL world was taken aback after Fyfe's sudden relinquishing of his dream role. Many praised the Fremantle leader as 'selfless' and thanked him for his time as the second-longest ever serving captain at the club.

Pearce, 27, led the side when Fyfe was out injured last year. His leadership skills were praised by his teammates and coaching staff. Brayshaw, 23, is now one of the AFL's best midfielders and has been widely viewed as a captain-in-waiting for the past few years.

Serong turns 22 on Thursday and his stocks have risen dramatically over the past two years due to his hot on-field form and his strong leadership qualities. Fyfe managed just seven games last season with his campaign hampered by shoulder, back and hamstring issues.

The 31-year-old's hopes of playing finals for the first time since 2015 were scuppered when he injured his hamstring on the eve of the club's finals campaign. Fyfe has been a leadership group member since 2015 and he hopes relinquishing a formal leadership title will help give his on-field exploits a boost.

with AAP

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