Saints coach Lyon on guard for 'enemy' Fyfe
St Kilda coach Ross Lyon will be viewing Fremantle veteran Nat Fyfe as the enemy when the two friends lock horns at Marvel Stadium.
Fyfe and Lyon enjoyed a special relationship during their captain-coach time together at Fremantle.
Lyon was axed by the Dockers at the end of 2019, and his second tenure at St Kilda begins this Sunday with a grudge match against his old club.
Fyfe won his second Brownlow medal in Lyon's last year in charge at Fremantle, but injuries have cruelled his career since then.
The 31-year-old relinquished the captaincy over the summer - some say he was pushed - and he's also been squeezed out of the midfield mix.
But underestimate Fyfe at your peril.
He produced a series of dazzling displays over the pre-season as a permanent forward, and it's definitely caught the attention of Lyon.
"I'm thinking Nathan, you still want to get in that midfield," Lyon joked.
"He was a very special player in my tenure there and will always be special, but come Sunday he's the enemy, right?
"We're trying to take him out."
The Dockers have named a tall forward line that will feature Fyfe, Matt Taberner, Josh Treacy, and either Sean Darcy or Luke Jackson as the resting ruckman.
Former Hawk Jaeger O'Meara will make his Dockers debut in the midfield, while Michael Walters (Achilles) will return via a WAFL practice match.
The Saints have a 14-strong injury list and enter Sunday's match as underdogs.
Max King, Tim Membrey, Nick Coffield, Jack Billings, and Zak Jones are among the walking wounded.
First-round draftee Mattaes Phillipou and Anthony Caminiti have been named for their AFL debuts, while off-season recruits Liam Stocker and Zaine Cordy will also play.
Fremantle only narrowly missed out on fourth spot last year and they are aiming to land an elusive flag in 2023.
"They're a boom team of the west. They'll be coming over with a huge expectation to win," Lyon said.
"We're a bit depleted. They played finals last year and they'll have grown and they've recruited - Jackson is powerful.
"Their build has been going for six or seven years, so they're almost at full bottle.
"It's a big challenge."