ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Nat Fyfe of the Dockers looks dejected during the round 10 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval on May 27, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe is eyeing a Round 1 appearance against the Crows next year after battling ongoing setbacks to his hindered shoulder.

The veteran midfielder had his 2021 campaign curtailed in July after dislocating his shoulder and requiring subsequent surgery that ruled out the remainder of his season's prospects.

Fyfe's luckless run was extended when it was revealed he had contracted a bacterial infection following the reconstructive surgery, with the 30-year-old having since required intravenous antibiotics.

Despite sparking initial fears for the early stages of his 2022 season, Fyfe's prolonged recovery hasn't kept him out of contention to face Adelaide in South Australia on March 20.

Speaking at Fremantle's Festive Long Lunch, the dual Brownlow medallist revealed his recovery has set course for a Round 1 showing.

"I've had a bit of a tumultuous off-season but now I've done five running sessions since coming back, I'm getting my strength back into it (the shoulder)," he's said.

"On Tuesday, it will be seven weeks since the operation. By about 12 to 13 weeks, I'll be back to full training and by mid-February I'll be in full contact and ready for round one.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Nathan Fyfe and Michael Walters of the Dockers walk from the field after being defeated during the round 15 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Brisbane Lions at Optus Stadium on July 1, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"I've normally felt bulletproof after surgeries - with a recurrence, it's been quite humbling and a day-by-day process.

"At this stage, everything is exactly where it's supposed to be."

The Fremantle skipper's optimism is sure to buoy the beliefs of his fellow teammates for the new year, which shapes as a critical campaign for coach Justin Longmuir.

Having narrowly missed a placing in the top-eight last year, the youthful Perth club have seen their midfield stocks hampered by the departure of Adam Cerra this off-season.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Adam Cerra of the Blues in action during the Carlton Blues training session at Ikon Park on December 06, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

With questions over Fyfe's health now fading, Longmuir and the rest of the Dockers' onballer brigade are sure to be boosted with confidence ahead of the new year.

Despite the departure of Cerra, the Dockers have enjoyed a promising off-season, acquiring Will Brodie and Jordan Clark from the Suns and Cats respectively.

The Cockburn club were also able to add a trio of highly-rated local draftees in the form of Jye Amiss, Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson through last month's National Draft.