Fyfe needs to spend more time in Dockers midfield
WA football legend Peter Sumich believes both WA sides should be bitterly disappointed with their season-opening performances.
Neither Fremantle nor West Coast returned from Melbourne with a win on the board, with the Dockers losing to an injury-riddled St Kilda by 15 points and the Eagles going down to last season’s wooden spooners North Melbourne by 5 points.
After Sumich wrote a column for The West Australian last week saying he believed moving Nat Fyfe from the midfield to the forward line was a mistake, the two time Brownlow Medalist made minimal impact against the Saints, kicking a solitary behind from nine disposals.
Sumich told Sports Breakfast the Dockers needed Fyfe in the midfield to combat Saints skipper Jack Steele.
“When the game was up for grabs halfway through the third quarter, that’s when you put a Nat Fyfe in the middle. I didn’t think their midfield, Serong and Brayshaw, Brodie and O’Meara, at any stage got on top,” Sumich said.
“St Kilda really weren’t going to kick any more than 10 goals, as they did, so it was up to Fremantle to make the move to kick 10, 11 goals, and unfortunately Justin and the match committee did nothing in the box.
“They want to leave Fyfe forward, that’s all good and well, but you’ve cost yourself four points. I’d rather just change it up slightly to get your four points and then go back to Fyfe forward, but unfortunately it’s cost them four points and that might cost them at the end of the season.”
Sumich was just as disappointed with the Eagles performance, saying they had “big issues” to deal with.
“There’s a fair bit there that warranted them winning that game, and it looked like they didn’t really try in the first half or rock up to play in the first half, that’s how I read it,” he said.
“It was dismal, it was ‘oh jeez, here we go, another year, we’re not going to make finals’, bit of that, and they played like that in the first half. Got going in the third quarter, nearly pinched the game, but probably didn’t deserve to win at the end.
“I can’t tip them anymore and I’m not going to. They’re a chance to beat GWS here with a couple of players out, Kelly and Whitfield with concussion, but if they don’t beat GWS, they could be zero and eight if you look at their draw. They’re in big trouble.”
The opening round of the AFL season was action-packed, with Richmond and Carlton opening the season with an epic draw, Collingwood avenging last year’s preliminary finals with a win over Geelong, and Melbourne, Sydney, Port Adelaide, and Sydney all recording thumping wins.
Sumich said the season was shaping up to be a good one.
“I like the brand of football that I think most sides now are trying to play,” he said.
“A game on Friday night where it’s 19 goals to 16, I think that’s the type of game the supporters like. The turnover game, the high-scoring game, the quick game.
“It’s a little bit more bruise-free, but then in saying that, other games weren’t.”
The WA sides are back at Optus Stadium this weekend as they look to atone for their losses, with the Dockers taking on North Melbourne at 4:30 on Saturday and the Eagles coming up against GWS at 3:20 on Sunday.
IMAGE: AFL Photos