In an exclusive interview in the new June edition of Inside Sport, Nat Fyfe acknowledged the intense speculation that comes with off-contract stars in the AFL these days. But the 2015 Brownlow medallist was adamant that he would be held to any timetable, or that delaying his decision should be interpreted in any way.

“I refuse to just tick boxes, or bow to external pressures,” Fyfe says. “If you look at my history when signing contracts, there should be no surprises; everyone should know how this story is going to play out.

“In not signing, it’s not because I’m looking at other clubs, or holding Fremantle to ransom. It’s about me feeling comfortable with everything, because it’s a big life decision, and I may not get another chance to sign another contract.”

Having taken over the captaincy this season, Fyfe faced an immediate challenge as the Dockers suffered heavy defeats in the first two rounds. Speculation mounted that a losing season would drive him from the west, which Fyfe forced to deny.

Two victories since then, over the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne, has eased the pressure somewhat. Not coincidentally, Fyfe has excelled throughout – he says his ultimate response is to play better, and hope that victories will decrease the volume.

“If Fremantle’s fans understand that, then they will be fully supportive of where I’m at,” he says. “But, if it starts to have an effect on our club, on any of our players, or on my own performance, then I will look to hasten up the process.”