Mayne to bolster Dockers defence
Chris Mayne. Picture: Michael Wilson/AFL Media

Chris Mayne is set to be thrown the biggest challenge of his career, with Fremantle preparing to use the versatile forward in defence for their clash with Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Mayne was switched to the back line in the second half of the western derby last Sunday after key defenders Zac Dawson (ankle) and Luke McPharlin (quad) were injured early in the match.

He was sent to Jack Darling, and the powerful West Coast forward kicked only one goal on him, late in the final quarter.

Fremantle could be without two defensive linchpins against the Power.

McPharlin has already been ruled out of the match while Dawson is also likely to be out after missing an open training session at Fremantle Oval yesterday.

Port could stretch Fremantle by fielding tall trio Jay Schulz (193cm), Justin Westhoff (199cm) and John Butcher (197cm).

_The West Australian _understands Mayne has been in meetings with the team's back-line group this week and has been told to expect to line up in defence.

Fringe defender Alex Silvagni is a strong chance to be called up for his first AFL game of the year, particularly if Dawson is ruled out through injury.

Mayne's move comes a fortnight after Ross Lyon said he needed to "get going and deliver" after a quiet start to the season.

Mayne had his best AFL season in 2013 but he managed only a single goal in the first four matches this year as he battled back, groin and ankle problems.

He had 15 disposals and a goal in each of his past two games.

Lyon said he liked the flexibility of being able to push Mayne into defence.

"We're thrilled that he went back (in the derby)," Lyon said.

"He wasn't perfect, but he was on a pretty good player in Darling. We're pretty excited that we've got (Michael) Apeness and (Matt) Taberner coming through, so he might be someone that we'll play back there a bit more often."

Apart from Mayne and Silvagni, Fremantle have few options to add height to their back line.

Zac Clarke was pushed back briefly on Sunday but is not a natural defender, Garrick Ibbotson is undersized for the role and Taberner and Jack Hannath are inexperienced.

Kepler Bradley has been earmarked to play at centre half-back for WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder against West Perth on Sunday after impressing with 24 disposals and six marks as a key defender last weekend.

Stephen Hill (hamstring) and Anthony Morabito (tonsillitis) were not seen at yesterday's training session.

He wasn't perfect, but he was on a pretty good player in Darling."Ross Lyon

The West Australian

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