Nat Fyfe expects to have the best seat in the house when his No. 1 must-watch player of 2019 proves why Fremantle chased him so hard in the off-season.
Jesse Hogan's much-publicised move home from the Demons to the Dockers was one of the most heavily scrutinised of last year's trade period, with the star key forward heading west along with pick No. 65 for Fremantle's No. 6 and No. 23 selections. The Demons then traded the No. 6 pick to Gold Coast for powerful defender Steven May and rebounder Kade Kolodjashnij.
Given Fremantle's desperate wait for a genuine key forward since the retirement of games record holder Matthew Pavlich at the end of 2016, there is huge pressure on the broad shoulders of Hogan, who has booted 152 goals in his 71 games.
Ahead of the launch of ESPN's inaugural Top 20 Must-Watch Players list, Fyfe said Hogan was the player he was most excited about watching in 2019.
"It's an easy one for me - Jesse Hogan coming to a new team, [there's] a lot of expectation on him but the caliber of player he is, [he has] the mindset to be able to live up to that," Fyfe told ESPN. "Hopefully we, and I, get to enjoy all of that upside in his new colours at Fremantle.
"What I like about him most is he's a match-winner and there's probably only a dozen or so of those in the competition. He has the ability to kick three or four goals in a term and change the game, which as an opponent, you're always aware of those players - even when they're having a down day and not having much impact, you know at any stage they can potentially rip the game apart."
Hogan narrowly missed out on appearing in the top 20 of ESPN's Must-Watch list, with Fyfe the only Docker making the cut.
The Fremantle captain nominated four rivals he was looking forward to keeping an eye on this season - three superstars of the league and one emerging gun who could join the top echelon by the end of the year.
"Isaac Heeney is a player who has built year on year and he has the potential to be a top five player in the league," the 2015 Brownlow medallist said. "His toolbelt is pretty deep with his skills and versatility and he's a guy I just can't wait to see become one of the premiums of the comp.
"And you're always aware of the best players in the competition and that's [Patrick] Dangerfield, [Dustin] Martin and [Lance] Franklin at the moment, they're probably the guys for me."
All of Heeney, Dangerfield, Martin and Franklin made ESPN's top 20 list.
Fyfe said he wasn't a prolific watcher of AFL games, instead only studying players and teams that he would be locking horns with in following weeks. As for witnessing the league's best players in action up close, he admitted he struggled to respect any individual act of brilliance until after the game had been decided.
"I don't watch a heap of footy - I'll watch the team we'll play the next week or [in coming] weeks," he said. "I'll often pause it and watch it on double speed, on mute, and then play the stoppages back and forth. I'll often focus in on players, whether it be the best players in the comp or players who are up against taggers who I might be up against that year, but I'll rarely kick back and watch a whole game of footy.
"In my first year or two, I had moments of pinching myself [on the field] - 'wow that's [Ben] Cousins, or [Chris] Judd or [Nick] Riewoldt', people I used to grow up watching and were on the Footy Records on my bedside table. These days, when I see great acts of individual brilliance, it stimulates me to want to perform better and focus on what I need to do to impact the game.
"There's no part of me that wants to acknowledge their [rivals'] brilliance until after the game."
ESPN's inaugural Top 20 Must-Watch Players list will be published in two parts - numbers 20-11 on Friday March 8, and numbers 10-1 on Monday March 11.