Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe says he regrets the broken promise he made to teammate Connor Blakely that led to a temporary fracture in their relationship.
Blakely was handed a one-game suspension last season over his decision to go surfing after being granted a sick day from the club.
When Fyfe first found out about the surf trip, he initially told Blakely he would look after him.
But the first-year skipper changed his mind after deciding the greater good of the club needed to be served.
Fyfe told the club's hierarchy about Blakely's surfing trip, and the emerging star was duly suspended for the round 15 match against St Kilda last season.
The 2015 Brownlow medallist admits he should have handled the situation differently, and he was wrong to make a promise that he couldn't keep.
"I had to make a decision about whether I was going to discipline him ... or let it slide. I chose to discipline him," Fyfe told the AFL Players Association Captain's Call podcast.
"It fractured our relationship for the best part of six to eight months.
"It was a position that was really difficult for me, because my whole career and life I've seen myself as a bit of an outlaw and (a person who liked to) buck the system and go against conformity with every being of your body.
"And this player was basically doing what I would always love to do."
Fyfe tried to smooth things over with Blakely afterwards, but knew that time was the only thing that would repair the relationship.
Fyfe is in his second year as captain, and his standing within the player group has grown immensely during that period.
The 26-year-old was on track to win a second Brownlow medal this year, but his recent suspension means he is now ineligible.