Essendon great Matthew Lloyd on why Andrew Brayshaw is ready to be Fremantle Dockers captain
AFL great Matthew Lloyd has called for Fremantle to promote young gun Andrew Brayshaw to captain as early as next year.
In the wake of his heroics against Richmond at Optus Stadium on Sunday, Essendon great Lloyd felt his former Haileybury College skipper was “ready” to take the reins from dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe.
Fyfe’s season is done after he went for shoulder surgery last week, the result of a heavy hit against Sydney, and is one of several club leaders sidelined.
“I was coach when he was the captain of Haileybury College and I think he should take over from Nathan Fyfe as the captain of the Fremantle Dockers as early as next year,” Lloyd told Access All Areas.
“I think he’s ready for it and if it’s not next year, it’s the year after.”
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The 21-year-old amassed a career-high 39 possessions in the thrilling four-point win over the Tigers, to go with eight clearances and 12 tackles.
But it was his inspirational final minute, when he simply refused to accept defeat, that really caught both Lloyd and AFL commentator Garry Lyon’s eye.
He nailed Jack Ross with a brilliant tackle on the wing with a minute remaining before clearances from a boundary throw-in and ball-up inside Richmond’s attacking arc in the final 20 seconds.
“He could have been the number 14 for Geelong,” Lyon said.
“That game he played, the Andrew Brayshaw performance would sit comfortably in any of Joel Selwood’s heroic performances. That’s the highest praise I can give him.”
The Dockers lost star trio Fyfe, Michael Walters and Alex Pearce to injury in the past week and needed their next generation to stand up to keep their finals hopes alive.
That’s exactly what Brayshaw did alongside partner in crime Adam Cerra and fellow youngsters Sean Darcy, Caleb Serong and Lachie Schultz.
“It’s moments like this, (the Tigers) were coming, down by four points,” Lloyd said.
“Who was going to win the clearance? He wins two clearances to save the Fremantle Dockers again.
“He was huge with 39 disposals yesterday, he did it all.”
Lloyd said Brayshaw, the pick two in the 2017 national draft, had “gone to a whole new level” this season, highlighting his areas of improvement.
“He was top-three in their best-and-fairest last year,” Lloyd said.
“He always used to give the handball straight away but now he’s running and he’s driving, he’s bursting out of stoppages, he’s kicking goals, his tackling pressure is enormous.”
Lloyd was also full of praise for Cerra after his 33 disposals, nine inside 50s and 735 metres gained, but didn’t think he would be at Fremantle next year with several Melbourne clubs circling the Victorian.
“He’s a Rolls Royce, this guy. Left foot, right foot, so he’s different to Brayshaw, he’s more outside but he can do it on the inside,” Lloyd said.
“It had me thinking, they won’t want to lose him but he hasn’t signed yet so I believe that he’ll leave.”
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