Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has nominated Michael Walters as a potential future captain, but things aren’t looking so rosy for banished veteran Colin Sylvia.
Star midfielder Nat Fyfe has been widely tipped to take over the Dockers’ captaincy when Matthew Pavlich retires.
But Lyon was quick to throw Walters’ name into the mix while speaking at the club’s season launch on Tuesday.
Since being sent back to the WAFL in 2012 for poor skin folds, Walters has transformed himself into one of the most dedicated and talented small forwards in the AFL.
Sylvia is currently in Fremantle’s bad books after failing to live up to the club’s training standards.
The 29-year-old former Demon has been sent back to WAFL outfit Peel Thunder for an indefinite period, but Lyon said Sylvia’s demise shouldn’t be compared to what Walters went through.
“There’s only one common thread there and that’s they both went back to a WAFL club after a sustained period of not conforming to the standard,” Lyon said at the club’s season launch on Tuesday.
“Michael was a young player, he had to work through some off-field stuff – but he could end up captaining this club. He’s a great trainer and a great leader.
“Col came over as a 10-year mature-age free agent, so the expectations were a little bit higher on Col.
“Not by standards, but in the ability to be able to do it straight away. So he’s faced some challenges.
“We haven’t withdrawn support, we’ve just put in front of Col what he needs to do. It’s possible he could be back.”
Fyfe missed out on a leadership position last season after earning just four votes from his teammates.
But it was a different story this year, with the 23-year-old voted into the leadership group by all of his teammates.
Pavlich, who is expected to retire at the end of the season, said the club was blessed for leaders, with Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Johnson, Walters, Fyfe, and Michael Barlow among the players who could lead the club.
Sylvia is in the second year of a three-year contract, and Pavlich said he has been in contact with the 163-game veteran to see how he’s been progressing.
“We’re certainly offering all the support we can along that way.,” Pavlich said of Sylvia, who didn’t attend the season launch.
“But Colin really needs to go back and work hard and prove that he wants to be back with the group, which certainly right at this point he’s showing the actions that he does.
“The club is here to help him through that but he’s got some work to do.”