While Fyfe, defender Luke Ryan and tall forward Matt Taberner vie for a spot in the final All-Australian 22, to be announced Thursday night, Serong is a raging favourite for the evening’s Rising Star after a string of superb mid-season games when he beat seasoned veterans including Patrick Dangerfield.
That 22-disposal effort highlighted by a crafty goal on his non-preferred right boot announced Serong’s arrival to the AFL and earned his Rising Star nomination, his class and evasiveness evident to the judges.
The 178cm teen averaged 17 disposals (68 per cent efficiency), had six more inside-50s than any other Docker, and was third for average clearances and tackles despite playing only 14 of a possible 17 games.
Spending more time up forward to help hasten the development of Serong and third-year budding superstars Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra didn’t stop 29-year-old Fyfe from a possible fourth All-Australian after nods in 2014, 2015 and last year, when the Brownlow winner was also captain.
Ryan, 24, has had arguably three All-Australian-worthy years in succession at Fremantle, his efforts this season in the absence of taller teammates Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling noticed by the AA selection panel of Gillon McLachlan (chairman), Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Steve Hocking, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson and Warren Tredrea.
Taberner, 27, finally delivered for Fremantle after eight seasons of promise interrupted by injury and poor goalkicking. He provided a key target for the Dockers not seen since the days of Matthew Pavlich, with his consistency, accuracy (29.13) and ability to bring the ball to ground all critical to club success.
The 2013 draftee also took the second-most contested marks across the league (2.38 a game) behind Power forward Charlie Dixon (2.25), with forward teammate Rory Lobb fourth on that list (2.18)
Serong, who co-captained Vic Country last year, was drafted from Gippsland and debuted in round four against Gold Coast, one of the club’s three top 10 picks with Hayden Young (7) and Liam Henry (9).
The trio are considered central to Fremantle’s future alongside 2017 top-five picks Brayshaw (2) and Cerra (5).
Four West Coast players are also in the mix for All-Australian selection: Nic Naitanui, Brad Sheppard, Liam Ryan and Andrew Gaff.