Nathan "Nat" Fyfe (born 18 September 1991) is a professional Australian rules footballer, currently playing for the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). In 2015, he was named the recipient of the AFL's most prestigious individual honour, the Brownlow Medal, after being judged the best and fairest player of the 2015 season.
Fyfe grew up in Lake Grace, Western Australia, and went to school at Aquinas College in Perth. In 2009, he played West Australian Football League (WAFL) colts for Claremont, his highlights of the season being his eight-goal, 34 possession effort against East Fremantle and six goals in the Colts Grand Final. In 2010, he made his league debut for Claremont, kicking 4 goals against Peel Thunder.
Fyfe was also selected in the WA Under 18's Championship squad and played four of the five games, kicking nine goals. His best return came in the game against Vic Metro in which he scored four goals.
Fyfe was selected by Fremantle with the 20th pick in the 2009 national draft. He made his debut in Fremantle's 39-point win over the Richmond Tigers in the annual Len Hall ANZAC Day game at Subiaco Oval in 2010. In doing so, he became the 150th player to represent the Fremantle Dockers at AFL level. He was awarded the AFL Rising Star nomination for Round 9 in the 2010 AFL season after performing well in Fremantle's first victory over the Sydney Swans in Sydney since 1996. He collected 23 possessions, four clearances, five tackles and seven marks and played on senior Sydney player Ryan O'Keefe for most of the game.
In 2011, Fyfe improved further and in July signed a contract extension to remain at Fremantle until the end of the 2014 season. His form led him to be considered as a potential All-Australian team selection, Doig Medal chance and gained comparisons to past champion James Hird. Fyfe polled an equal team high 13 Brownlow Medal votes, finished runner-up in the Doig Medal and was selected in the initial All-Australian squad of 40 but did not make the final team.
Fyfe made a strong start to the 2012 season with a best-on-ground performance against Geelong in the Round 1 match at Patersons Stadium, collecting 30 disposals and 2 goals in the 4-point win over the Cats. In April, he suffered a recurrence to his shoulder injury and, after attempting to play for a few weeks, underwent surgery in May after dislocating it at training. He returned to Fremantle in Round 18 against Port Adelaide—despite temporarily missing a game against Adelaide in Round 20 due to an ankle injury incurred on the morning of the match in his hotel room. Despite only playing eight games in 2012, Fyfe finished 12th in the Brownlow Medal.
Fyfe continued to play well throughout the 2013 season and was awarded Fremantle's club champion award, the Doig Medal. Fyfe also helped lead Fremantle to their first ever AFL Grand Final appearance in 2013, but despite Fyfe having an equal game-high 28 disposals in the match, the Dockers were defeated by Hawthorn by 15 points (77 to 62), ending the club's best season in their 19-year history just short of their first premiership success.
Fyfe announced early in 2014 that he would not consider extending his contract with Fremantle until later in the year, leading to speculation that he might change clubs when his contract expired at the end of the season. However, he agreed to extend his contract with Fremantle for a further three years in late June.
Fyfe started the 2014 season strongly, but was controversially suspended for two weeks in Round 2 for a bump on Gold Coast player Michael Rischitelli. He was one of the first players to be suspended under a new rule that penalised the player for any head contact as a result of choosing to bump instead of tackle. Throughout the year, he was considered to be one of the favourites to win the Brownlow Medal but was ineligible due to the suspension. Fyfe continued his strong form for the remainder of the season averaging 27 disposals a game and was considered to be one of the elite midfielders in the league. He was suspended again late in the season for a behind the play strike on Jordan Lewis, missing the final two matches before returning for the finals.
At the 2014 AFL Players' Association Awards, Fyfe was awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the league's most valuable player (MVP). Fyfe polled 945 votes, ahead of five-time winner Gary Ablett with 787 votes. He received the award again in 2015, polling 1455 votes, finishing ahead of Todd Goldstein who polled 578 votes.
In 2015, after playing in the losing preliminary final against Hawthorn with a fractured leg just two days earlier, Fyfe was awarded the Brownlow Medal, polling 31 votes, whilst collecting 29 votes from Rounds 2 to 14. He became the first Brownlow Medal winner from Fremantle and polled three votes ahead of the previous winner, Matt Priddis. To round out the 2015 season, Fyfe was named the WA Media Awards AFL Player of the Year and the WA Sports Star of the Year.
In 2016, after a slow start to the season, Fyfe suffered another fracture to the same leg in Round 5. He had a plate inserted into the leg, and in May 2016, following medical advice, Fremantle opted to have the plate removed once the bone had healed, ruling Fyfe out for the remainder of the season. Without Fyfe, Fremantle dropped from minor premiers in 2015 to 16th in 2016.
- Statistics are correct to the end of the 2016 season.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Honours and achievements
|Brownlow Medal votes|
|Green / Bold = Won|
* = joint winner
|Red / Italics = Ineligible|