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Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Flashback: The moment Nat Fyfe showed Melbourne his star potential in 2010

Plenty of Nat Fyfe’s biggest career moments have happened in the centre of the footy universe that is Melbourne: His Brownlow Medal win, Freo’s grand final tilt, and now, his 150th game.
But rewind to his first outing in Melbourne as an AFL player and you’ll recall a vastly different figure to the one that is among the sport’s powerhouses today.
Skinny, raw, and unassuming, Fyfe was just 18 when he ventured to Etihad Stadium to face Carlton in just his ninth senior outing in June 2010.
Fyfe’s slight physique is almost as unrecognisable as the two team line-ups are now. Of the Dockers outfit to take to the same ground this weekend, only David Mundy, Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne remain. Matthew Kreuzer is the lone Blue after plenty of talented teammates (read Betts, Gibbs, Waite, Henderson and Jacobs) moved elsewhere, but that’s another story.
Back then, Fyfe was nicknamed ‘Avatar’ by teammates, due to his resemblance to the long-limbed creatures that starred in the blockbuster film released the summer prior.
What is on full display in that 2010 outing, however, is the immense natural talent that Fyfe had to work with and expand on throughout his career. A fourth-term goal during the Dockers’ nine-point win underlines this.
Swooping on a loose ball inside 50, Fyfe gathers cleanly at full pace and then barely takes an additional stride before kicking truly off the outside of his boot with a classy banana.
The match-sealing major sat alongside Fyfe’s 15 disposals across half-forward, with the teenager from Lake Grace showing he well and truly belonged on the AFL stage.
And the joy on Fyfe’s face while singing the team song – linked up with now long-time teammate Sandilands – suggested he was desperate, and destined, to recapture that feeling many more times at senior level.
Asked about his Rising Star nomination that year, the former Aquinas College student gave few clues about the exceptional heights he was about to climb to.
"I am just happy to be playing good footy in the league side and it is just another little achievement,” he said at the time.
“Hopefully I just take it in my stride.”
Just like the scoop and goal against Carlton, he has certainly done that.