NATHAN Fyfe has had plenty of 'nice touches' this season, but one of the best was his small tribute to Anthony Morabito.
Speaking last week ahead of his 100th game, the Fremantle superstar said his thoughts were never far from his teammate who he was drafted with in 2009.
"Our pathways have obviously gone in different directions," Fyfe said.
At 23, the midfielder has gone on to become the game's new undisputed No.1 player, taking over the mantle from Gold Coast's Gary Ablett.
Morabito, meanwhile, has gone on to have three knee reconstructions and is still sidelined after enduring yet another operation in the pre-season, leaving him stranded on just 26 senior games.
Remember, out of the two, Morabito was seen as the better, having been selected at No.4 in the national draft, behind only Tom Scully, Jack Trengove and Dustin Martin.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon can thank then recruiting manager Phil Smart for sticking to his guns and taking Fyfe with the club's next pick at No.20.
Lyon's predecessor, Mark Harvey, wasn't keen on the scrawny kid from WA who weighed 73kg dripping wet, preferring in-and-under on-baller Ryan Bastinac from Victoria.
Smart would have sat back and watched with pride as Fyfe put on another clinic at Subiaco on Saturday night at the expense of North Melbourne, which chose Bastinac at No.21.
Fyfe gathered 37 disposals, to now sit second, with 249, behind David Armitage (264) on the total possession-winners' table.
But, now having transformed in to an absolute beast, adding almost 20kg to his 190cm frame, it is his hard-ball gets and aerial skills that sets him apart.
Fyfe was likened to James Hird earlier in his career, but the similarities to Anthony Koutoufides, when at the peak of his powers, are hard to ignore.
Fyfe is after all the only player after 'Kouta' in 2000 to feature in the top 10 in both contested possessions and contested marks.
With a round-high 21, he extended his lead in the contested disposal stakes this season (146), from Josh Kennedy (128), and is equal-first with Josh Bruce for contested marks (18), ahead of goliaths Aaron Sandilands, Travis Cloke and Tom Hawkins.
It's unfair to compare Bastinac to Fyfe, but the Kangaroo, who has now played 110 games, had 19 touches the other night, and hasn't been over 20 this season.
And of course we don't need to remind Melbourne supporters of what they've missed out on over the years ... but we will anyway.
As well as the first two picks in that 2009 draft, they also selected Jordan Gysberts (No.11) and Luke Tapscott (No.18), both since delisted, ahead of Fyfe.
After winning the MVP award last season, Fyfe is the runaway leader in the AFL coaches' player of the year award, and is clear $2.50 favourite to win the Brownlow Medal from Swans Dan Hannebery ($10) and Kennedy ($12).
But, you get the impression he'd rather share a premiership triumph with Morabito than any individual award.
2009 national DRAFT REDONE
1. Nat Fyfe FREM (20)
2. Daniel Talia ADEL (13)
3. Jack Gunston ADEL/HAW (29)
4. Dustin Martin RICH (3)
5. Ben Cunnington NORTH (5)
6. Lewis Jetta SYD (14)
7. Tom Scully MELB/GWS (1)
8. Ben Stratton HAW (46)
9. Mitch Duncan GEEL(28)
10. Sam Reid SYD (38)
(Where they were taken)
Others: Gary Rohan (6), John Butcher (8), Jake Melksham (10), Kane Lucas (12), Jasper Pittard (16), Ben Griffiths (19), Jake Carlisle (24), Aaron Black (25), Allen Christensen (40).
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