Nat’s dad tells country kids to dream big

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David Fyfe is the proud father of the best footballer in the country.
Camera IconDavid Fyfe is the proud father of the best footballer in the country. Credit: Nic Ellis, The West Australian

David Fyfe — the proud father of the best footballer in the country — wants country kids to keep dreaming big.

In the wake of a second Brownlow Medal for Fremantle Dockers captain Nat Fyfe, his father is singing the praises of a country upbringing.

Fyfe finished seven votes in front of Carlton’s Patrick Cripps in third, who Mr Fyfe praised as “another good country lad” who shouldered a lot of responsibility for his side.

Liam Baker will line up for Richmond in Saturday’s grand final after rising to the top level from the tiny town of Pingaring, 45 minutes from the Fyfes in Lake Grace.

“We’re pretty chuffed for Liam’s family, too,” Mr Fyfe said.

“Pingaring townsite’s probably only got three houses, and Liam’s worked his butt off to get where he is.

“We’re just that excited for him.

“Country footy is alive and strong, and country kids can dream because that’s what these guys have done. You go from a town where there are three or four houses to playing in front of 100,000 people in a grand final.”

John O'Neill, president of the Lake Grace-Pingrup Football Club, adds a “19” to the banner that was re-hung from the Lake Grace Hotel.
Camera IconJohn O'Neill, president of the Lake Grace-Pingrup Football Club, adds a “19” to the banner that was re-hung from the Lake Grace Hotel. Credit: Nic Ellis, The West Australian

Fyfe is now one of only 15 players in VFL/AFL history to win multiple Brownlow Medals, and at 28 years of age, another one is not out of the question. But his fath-er is more than happy with two.

“I didn’t in my wildest dreams think he would knock another one over,” Mr Fyfe said.

“I don’t doubt his ability. It’s just that his team had quite a tough year and they didn’t win many games.”

Football fans across the country laughed with Fyfe as he spoke about his family in Lake Grace, and how his parents had congratulated him from bed after his first Brownlow Medal in 2015.

“He’s an early bedtime sort of man over in WA,” Nat told host Hamish McLachlan, referring to his father.

“After I got out of the press conference and the media circle after about 45 minutes, I rang Dad and he was in bed and he said, ‘Well done’, and then I heard Mum come over the phone: ‘Well done darl, I’ll speak to you tomorrow’.

“So hopefully, if they’re listening, if they can just hang in for an hour or so and I’ll get to them.”

Nat Fyfe gets a laugh out of host Hamish McLachlan after winning his second Brownlow Medal.
Camera IconNat Fyfe gets a laugh out of host Hamish McLachlan after winning his second Brownlow Medal. Credit: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Mr Fyfe confirmed the story was true and said they had made sure they stayed up and out of bed for the count on Monday.

He spoke to his son after the broadcast and told him to “enjoy the night because it doesn’t happen to a lot of people”.

“Christine, I and Liam (Fyfe’s brother) — we enjoyed the whole thing, the three of us,” Mr Fyfe said.

“We were quietly chuffed, I can tell you.”

Fyfe will return to Lake Grace to catch up with family and friends before he travels to South America for a holiday.

His father, who runs a trucking business, quipped he would not be of much use to him because of his latest shoulder operation.

On Monday night, Fyfe said country life in Lake Grace had taught him the value of hard work.

“We have a small transport business in Lake Grace and the currency of choice was who worked the hardest,” he said.

“I got that off my dad and most people in small country towns realise it’s about sport or hard work.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky with the upbringing I’ve had to ground me and to give me those values.”

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