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Aussie Rules: Fyfe steps down as Dockers skipper

Nat Fyfe has made the surprise announcement that he will step down as captain of the Fremantle Dockers ahead of the new season.

The new season is just over a month away and Fyfe has decided that it is time for a new leadership group to take the club forward. There are certainly plenty of contenders.

Elsewhere there is news coming from the treatment room with Geelong ace Tom Hawkins revealing the date he hopes to return to AFL action.

There is also some great news for the Richmond Tigers with a star forward also stepping up his training ahead of the new campaign. Let’s take a closer look at the big the stories that are making the headlines in the AFL.

Fyfe steps aside

Nat Fyfe has been the second-longest serving captain in the history of the Fremantle Dockers, but his chances of passing Peter Bell as the longest have now gone. After holding the armband for the last six years, Fyfe has now decided it is in the best interests of the club for him to step aside.

Fyfe is a dual Brownlow medallist and has been an inspirational leader for the club, but there is a new breed coming through and the 31-year-old believes it’s time for some fresh blood. It speaks volumes of Fyfe that he wants to put the club first and not think about himself.

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He admits it was a tough call as he was ‘letting go of a dream’ but believes it is the right decision. Fyfe has had his issues with injuries and missed the bulk of last season while he was on the treatment table. Freo managed to cope without him as they made finals for the first time since 2015, and that probably helped him to make up his mind also.

The Dockers are priced at 1/1 to finish in the top eight and play finals, and now it remains to be seen who will skipper them. Gun midfielder Andrew Brayshaw has always been tipped to captain the Dockers in his career and could now get the chance.

Fellow young-gun Caleb Sarong has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the role, along with Alex Pearce. Fyfe has also confirmed he is completely stepping away from the leadership group to help give the Dockers a ‘fresh push for leadership that will propel us forward’.

Hawkins sets return date

Star Geelong forward Tom Hawkins has revealed his determination to be ready for the round one opener against Collingwood. Hawkins played a key role as the Cats won the 2022 Grand Final, defeating the Sydney Swans with ease at the MCG, but he underwent foot surgery soon after.

The operation which was needed to clear up a lingering issue once and for all, was a success, but it put doubts over whether he would be ready in time for the opener against the Pies.

The 35-year-old says his recovery is going well and after putting in some hard work behind the scenes, is determined to be ready for 17th March. However he does not want to rush back and suffer a setback with his rehab, so it is still unclear whether he will play.

As the workload increases, Hawkins says he will get more of an idea. He was in outstanding form last season when booting 67 goals in 25 games and the Cats would like more of the same.

Geelong are priced at 9/2 to go back-to-back by winning another flag in 2023.

Tigers star closing in on return

Richmond Tigers star Tom Lynch is another player that is battling back from foot surgery and the Tigers have reported that the recovery is going well.

Lynch had been troubled with plantar fasciitis throughout the 2022 season and finally underwent surgery to hopefully fix the problem once and for all. The forward had the operation in December and the Tigers medical staff have now revealed Lynch is back in training.

Lynch has completed a comprehensive running program while training on his own but is set to be reintroduced to the main group over the next couple of weeks.

Richmond returned to finals last season and are priced at 1/4 to make it again. Meanwhile Lynch can also be backed at 8/1 to win the Coleman Medal, the prize awarded for booting the most goals in a season. In 2022 he finished second behind Tom Hawkins.

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