Fremantle Dockers superstar Nat Fyfe.
Fremantle Dockers superstar Nat Fyfe. JULIAN SMITH

Returning Fyfe impresses in Dockers' time trial

NAT Fyfe's bid to return to his elite best form has gathered further momentum, with the superstar on-baller producing an impressive time trial result in Fremantle's opening training session of the year.

Following a 13-day break over the Christmas and new year period, on Wednesday Fyfe's Dockers became the first AFL club to officially commence training in 2017, with players sweltering through 30-degree heat during a 3km time trial at the University of Western Australia.

Fyfe, who missed the majority of the 2016 season due to a broken leg, finished the race strongly to place fifth overall.

Recruit Bradley Hill was again the standout on the track, showing off his excellent aerobic capacity to notch his second first-place time-trial finish since landing at Fremantle. The ex-Hawk finished ahead of Cameron Sutcliffe (second), Tommy Sheridan (third) and Josh Deluca (fourth).

Fyfe's fifth-place finish comes after he was also among the top five place-getters in the club's previous time trial in November.

Fyfe, 25, looms as arguably this season's hottest free agent prospect, as he is yet to commit to the Dockers beyond 2017.

The 2015 Brownlow Medallist last season moved to quell speculation that he wanted out of Fremantle, claiming he was committed to signing a new deal with the Dockers and was fully focused on his rehab and long-awaited on-field return.

The fact Fremantle was the first AFL team back on the park in 2017 is a further sign the club is determined to atone for its disastrous 2016 campaign, which yielded just four wins.

Speaking after Wednesday's time trial, Sutcliffe said he was pleased with his teammates' effort and attitude in the hot conditions.

"I think all the boys did pretty well coming off the Christmas break,” Sutcliffe told the club's website.

"Everyone has trained pretty hard over the break to make sure they got a personal best, and that's what they aimed to do and I think a lot of them got there.”

Sheridan led Hill after the completion of the first lap before the three-time premiership wingman overtook Sheridan in a late push to the finish line.

"I think he had a different approach,” said Sutcliffe about Hill.

"I guess it can change from each race - and he still ran really well as he's clearly in the top echelon of runners at the club - so it's good to be able to run with him.”