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Captain Fyfe: "The contract stuff will take care of itself"

Football

Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe has reaffirmed his commitment to remain a Docker after edging out David Mundy to become the club's skipper for the 2017 AFL season.

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Mundy captained Fremantle last year, and said he was keen to continue on in the role.

But Fyfe won the race to lead the club in 2017 after coming up trumps yesterday in a player vote.

Each player stood in front of the group and gave their votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Michael Walters and Lachie Neale were voted into the leadership group, joining Fyfe, Mundy, Aaron Sandilands and Lee Spurr in the six-man team.

Michael Johnson, facing an assault charge over a late-night incident in a kebab shop, and the retired Matthew Pavlich dropped out of the group.

Fyfe comes off contract at the end of this season, and will be hot property on the open market if he decides to explore his options as a restricted free agent.

Last year, Fyfe publicly stated his desire to remain at the club, saying a deal would be finalised at some point this year.

The 25-year-old insists his position hasn’t changed one bit, but says his priority for the moment is regaining full fitness and form after missing most of last year with a broken leg.

“I said publicly last year that I see my future playing footy with Fremantle,” Fyfe said.

“Nothing has changed. I want to play football for Fremantle.

“I’ve got to focus primarily on getting back and playing good footy this year.

“The contract stuff will take care of itself.”

Fyfe said Mundy was one of the first people to congratulate him on being named Fremantle’s new skipper.

“The relationship I have with Dave is extremely strong,” Fyfe said.

“I will look to him for support throughout the role. His role won’t diminish within the group.

“His influence and connection with other players is at the highest level.”

Fyfe declared he wanted to be part of the first group to taste premiership success with Fremantle.

And he says he’s “wildly optimistic” about what lies ahead this season, despite last year’s woeful 4-18 record.

Last year, rumours surfaced about player disharmony within the Fremantle camp.

Fyfe’s frank leadership style was blamed for some of the tension.

But Fyfe dismissed those concerns.

“Internally, I can honestly say we’ve never been closer,” Fyfe said.

“And any speculation brewing on the outside wasn’t acknowledged.”

Fyfe labelled former skipper Matthew Pavlich as one of his biggest mentors.

But Fyfe is determined to become a leader in his own right, saying one of his main focuses will be to empower each individual player.

Meanwhile, Western Bulldogs young gun Caleb Daniel has signed a new deal that will keep him with the AFL premiers until the end of 2019.

The diminutive 20-year-old, recruited from South Adelaide, has shone in his first two seasons of senior football, finishing runner-up in last year’s Rising Star award to Sydney’s Callum Mills.

“Caleb has achieved a significant amount in his young career and we’re really pleased to extend his contract by a further two seasons,” Bulldogs list manager Jason McCartney said yesterday.

-AAP

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