THE speculation is over, with Fremantle captain and 2015 Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe putting pen to paper on a new six-year deal that will see him stay a Docker for life.
Fyfe had been linked to several clubs - most strongly to St Kilda and Carlton - however the 2015 Brownlow medallist spoke passionately late a year ago about seeing his playing future at Fremantle.
Fyfe could have commanded at least $1.5million a year and probably more than that and potentially an even longer term contract were he prepared to exercise his free agency rights and move clubs.
The contract is also significantly less than he might have been able to demand of his own club but Fyfe wanted to leave the Dockers room in their salary cap to keep young talent and chase new recruits, according to his manager Jason Dover. "Freo has been my home since the start of my career and I've since grown into a leadership role", Fyfe said in a statement on Monday morning.
"I come out as a 31, 32-year-old man, so to be comfortable with that decision and understand that - given the moving landscape of the AFL - I'm probably going to outlast most players and most coaches on the list now".
Fyfe will by 31 when the deal finishes and so seems likely to finish his career as a one-club player.
"The speculation and whatnot that floated around was mostly untrue and quite interesting to watch".
"But Fremantle is in a great position, I think as any other club in the comp, with their facilities and the ability to play at this new (Perth) stadium".
Fremantle's general manager of list management Brad Lloyd said that the re-signing of Fyfe was crucial as Fremantle builds towards the future.
Fyfe, 25, suffered a fractured leg in Fremantle's 2015 preliminary final, and underwent surgery in April a year ago after re-injuring the same leg.
"It was very clear throughout the process that Nat was firmly committed to staying at Fremantle".
The two-time All Australian and Doig Medallist had 30 disposals in the Dockers' 30-point loss to West Coast on Sunday, a week after picking up 33 possessions in a win over the Kangaroos.
"We feel that we have a really young exciting group coming through. Nat is a key leader for those young players and the rest of the playing group, so it's a really pivotal step for where we're taking the club". "My hope is that I can still be in pretty good condition at 31, 32", Fyfe said.
"The year off will help me in the back-end of this contract phase".
"I think we've got a group who are really willing to learn and aren't interested in waiting around for their careers to follow a natural trajectory", Fyfe said.
"Clearly, we want to deliver Fremantle their first premiership". It's a really lofty and ambitious goal.
"We're all going to work as hard as we can towards that.".