When did our star Fremantle Dockers players become bigger than the team?

Nat Fyfe and Hayden Ballantyne. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images.
Nat Fyfe and Hayden Ballantyne. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images.

QUESTION – When did the player become bigger than the team?

Better yet, when did the reward come before the action?

These are two questions I have been asking myself since whispers of trade and free agency became the talk of the town at Fremantle this week.

We have heard the rumour and innuendo surrounding certain players at the club but it is the talk about the club’s biggest star Nat Fyfe – and perennial pest and Freo favourite Hayden Ballantyne – that has sent supporters into a spin.

Even as the biggest Nat Fyfe fan (and trust me, there is a lot of love there as a member of the club) there’s no guarantee he will regain the form he’s had in the past.

Riddled with injuries and with almost a year off, can he get back to his best?

I might be biased, but the guy played out a game with a broken leg, so yes I think he can.

However what I don’t think, is that any of that warrants his comments this week.

In fact, the more I think about them the more annoyed I get.

The current Brownlow medallist gave an interview saying that if he saw a strong future at Fremantle then that’s where he would be playing his footy.

Interesting, what about the supporters – have they seen anything that would warrant sticking around?

Apart from a few good years, which included a grand final berth and a minor premiership, let’s be honest – there hasn’t been much.

Does that mean they get to change teams?

I know players these days are media savvy and are versed on what to say – and I know that at the end of day, they have to look out for number one, but no player is bigger than the club.

As for Ballantyne, he is a player that gets paid to kick goals and has only kicked 25, averaging out to 1.4 goals a game in his 17 games this season.

In comparison, Adelaide’s Eddie Betts has played 19 games averaging 2.8 goals a game and has 54 to his tally while the Suns’ Brandon Matera has played 14 games averaging 1.6 per game.

Yes we can argue the supply hasn’t been there in the Freo camp, but even retiring veteran and former captain Matthew Pavlich, who is far from his best, is sitting on 28 goals with a game less under his belt.

So if the talk is true and he wanted a longer contract does his form even warrant one or should he be working harder along with the rest of team to get one?

Given those stats – and I’m no coach or expert – I reckon the latter might be the option.

To be fair to Ballas, I don’t think many of the players deserve a pay rise or contract extension – the season has been diabolical – but I wonder if there’d be such talk had it been a different one.

So here’s a thought to all players donning the purple: how about you play for the jumper and win a few more games and I’m sure success will follow.

And if you are not “forever Freo” like the rest of us, then you never were to begin with.