Silvagni, Mayne shore up back line
Alex Silvagni. Pic: WA News

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has backed Alex Silvagni to replace the absent Luke McPharlin, and may throw Chris Mayne into defence to cover for the loss of Zac Dawson after the Dockers lost both tall defenders ahead of their clash with Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval tomorrow.

The news Stephen Hill had recovered from a hamstring strain to play was the one piece of good news Fremantle received at selection, while Port were able to recall Alipate Carlile and Hamish Hartlett, with 2012 Sandover medallist Kane Mitchell also selected.

Dawson (ankle) did not train with the team yesterday morning, and did not join a 25-man squad at Perth Airport in the afternoon.

McPharlin (quad) had been ruled out earlier in the week.

Tom Sheridan, Jack Hannath and Garrick Ibbotson travelled as the emergencies.

Lyon said all teams had to cope with the loss of players to injury.

"We have clearly got Alex Silvagni coming into the team already, Chris Mayne can go down and play back," he said.

"We could use Mayney to free up Michael Johnson or Michael Johnson might play tall, so we have got plenty.

"We are not a one-man band."

Silvagni has been a back-up defender since Lyon's arrival at the club in 2012. He played 10 games in 2013. His last appearance for the Dockers was in round 23 when a host of players were rested ahead of the finals.

"It is a challenge, but it is nothing we haven't done before," Lyon said.

"Alex Silvagni played in the final against Geelong (in 2012) on the biggest stage in Melbourne and stood up. As always we will defend if the pressure is right up the field."

Lyon said he had been pleased with Mayne's form, both in defence and attack, in the western derby last weekend.

"I haven't been as concerned as everyone else," he said.

"I thought the week before he was pretty good and I thought he was really good (in the derby) before he got moved.

"To me it was evident that he played well down there (in defence). He has certainly learnt why it is important to put forward pressure on because it is a lonely spot down there if you don't.

"It is great that we now understand he can do both roles."

Port had developed since the Dockers crushed them by 74 points at Patersons Stadium last year, Lyon said.

"They have just matured a bit more. They have recruited well, Polec has given them a real lift and White, real speed and skill both of them," he said.

"What they have got is very good system and very good work ethic."

The West Australian

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