Paul Duffield of the Fremantle Dockers during the Round 12 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Adelaide Crows at Patersons Stadium in Perth, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Fremantle won the match 90-50.
Paul Duffield of the Fremantle Dockers during the Round 12 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Adelaide Crows at Patersons Stadium in Perth, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Fremantle won the match 90-50. AAP Image - Tony McDonough

Nathan Fyfe a tough match-up for anyone, says Duffield

FREMANTLE'S Paul Duffield is one of those dour half-backs who will either be forced to man a gun midfielder who is 'resting' in attack or a dangerous permanent forward from the opposition.

And one of the most difficult players the 28-year-old has had to match up on is one of his own teammates, Nat Fyfe, in pre-season intraclub games.

Fyfe, 22, has become one of the best players in the competition in the last couple of years, be it playing through the middle or closer to goal.

At 190cm and 88kg he has become a force for the Dockers, who were rapt to re-sign him for three more years.

"I think when he was a bit younger, and he was a bit scrawnier, I had him for size," Duffield (pictured) told APN.

"But I think all our midfielders are quite large, David Mundy is the same. They're good overhead and good at ground level. They are really hard to match up on.

"Fyfe is certainly playing great football. He's an explosive talent, and there is still so much more growth and improvement in him."

Duffield himself is integral to the Dockers' defensive unit, which has been back to its best in an unbeaten five-week run, conceding an average 54 points a game, including a club-record 22 points against  Brisbane last week.

"The whole team works really hard defensively, from the forwards all the way down," he said.

Rising to fourth on the ladder, Fremantle will again be without All-Australian tall defenders Luke McPharlin and Michael Johnson in this afternoon's WA derby against West Coast at Subiaco.

Duffield, however is confident the "strength and character of the group" will again come to the fore, despite players the calibre of Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling in the Eagles' attack. The Eagles have not scored 100 points against the Dockers in their past 14 games.

"We feel like we've got a bit of depth in that category," Duffield said.



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