Brayshaw happy to sacrifice stats for Fremantle wins

Justin Chadwick |

Andrew Brayshaw is happy to play anywhere if it helps Fremantle continue their good form.
Andrew Brayshaw is happy to play anywhere if it helps Fremantle continue their good form.

Midfielder Andrew Brayshaw is more than happy to continue sacrificing parts of his game if it helps Fremantle keep winning.

The Dockers have been the early surprise package of 2024, soaring into second spot on the AFL ladder with a 3-0 record.

The successful return of Nat Fyfe from injury and the switch of defender Hayden Young to permanent on-ball duty have given Fremantle an extra bite in the midfield.

But it’s also meant Brayshaw has had to get used to life away from the coalface.

That was most evident in Friday night’s 35-point win over Adelaide, when Brayshaw spent significant stints on the wing on his way to 21 disposals and one clearance.

It marked a big statistical drop in output from Brayshaw, who last year averaged 29 disposals and 4.4 clearances per game.

But the big smile on Brayshaw’s face after the victory over the Crows showcased his team-first mentality, with the 24-year-old more focused on winning silverware than inflating his own stats.

Andrew Brayshaw runs with the ball for Fremantle.
Brayshaw has shifted to the wing for the Dockers on occasion this season. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

“We just want to win games, whatever it takes,” Brayshaw said on Monday.

“If I have to go out on the wing and let someone go in and crack in, I’m happy to do it. I’m probably being a bit more flexible now.

“All of us mids, now that we have so many guys that can play inside, need to have that ability to either go forward or wing.

“Someone like Fyfey has been floating forward, I’ve been floating more to the wing.”

Fyfe’s early season form has played a key role in Fremantle’s unbeaten start.

The 32-year-old was a bull against Adelaide, tallying 13 disposals and eight clearances in the first half alone.

“When he’s going, no one will stop him, so it’s great to have him,” Brayshaw said.

Young also shone, racking up 32 disposals and eight clearances, along with 661 metres gained.

Fremantle have come from behind to beat the Brisbane Lions, North Melbourne and Adelaide this season.

They will be aiming to make a faster start when they take on unbeaten Carlton in Gather Round on Saturday at Adelaide Oval.

Fremantle’s toughest task will be stopping star Carlton spearheads Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

The pair combined for nine goals in last week’s 56-point win over North Melbourne.

Dockers skipper Alex Pearce is in career-best form and will man one of Carlton’s behemoths, while the inexperienced Josh Draper is likely to get the other.

Fremantle's Josh Draper handballs against the Kangaroos.
Josh Draper has earned plenty of plaudits this season. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

Draper, who was rushed into the side following injuries to Brennan Cox and Oscar McDonald, has drawn comparisons to former Fremantle star Michael Johnson.

“He’s been unreal, fitted in seamlessly,” Brayshaw said of the 20-year-old.

“He takes the game on, he’s really brave.

“He’s built like someone who has played for a long time. We’re stoked to have him.”

AAP