The race is on between Nat Fyfe and David Mundy to become Fremantle’s next captain after Matthew Pavlich officially relinquished the role on Wednesday.
Pavlich has resisted the lure to captain the club for a 10th straight year, saying it’s the right time to pass on the baton.
Fyfe is the hot favourite to be voted in as captain by his peers, but star midfielder David Mundy looms as a smoky.
Other candidates include Aaron Sandilands, Michael Walters, and Lee Spur.
Pavlich is keen to retain a role in the club’s leadership group, but said he needed to focus more on his body and life outside of football instead of spending the bulk of his time on captaincy duties.
The 34-year-old almost retired at the end of last season, before deciding to play on for one more year in the hope of landing an elusive premiership.
“As an AFL player you must commit entirely to the cause and that’s magnified even further as a captain,” Pavlich said.
“Both mentally and physically it takes its toll and, given where my body is at, I also need to be focused on getting the best out of myself to ensure that my on field play continues to benefit the team.”
“After considering my playing future last year and the ever increasing responsibilities I have as a father, finalising my university studies and my role as president of the AFL Players Association, it is just the right time for both the club and myself.”
Pavlich has captained Fremantle in 189 of his 335 games.
It places the six-time All-Australian in sixth spot on the all-time games captained list.
Fyfe has made his captaincy ambitions well known over the past year.
And his efforts to play through last year’s preliminary final loss to Hawthorn with a broken leg is sure to boost his cause.
However, injury looms as Fyfe’s biggest concern.
The 24-year-old is currently working his way towards full fitness after suffering a back injury, while he was hampered by leg complaints last season.
The Dockers are hopeful Fyfe will be available to play in the club’s pre-season games.
MOST AFL/VFL GAMES AS CAPTAIN
*226 Stephen Kernahan
*224 Dick Reynolds
*212 Ted Whitten
*210 Michael Voss
*199 Nick Riewoldt
*189 Matthew Pavlich
*188 John Nicholls
*184 Wayne Carey
*182 Paul Kelly
*177 Danny Frawley