Freo believe in Silvagni
Alex Silvagni. Pic: WA News

Luke McPharlin's latest calf blow is not all doom and gloom for Fremantle, according to fellow big defender Michael Johnson.

Johnson has backed Alex Silvagni to stand up in the run to September after McPharlin broke down during the third term and had to be substituted out of the game in Geelong on Saturday night.

It was the second time in his past three matches that the veteran full-back had struggled with a calf issue.

McPharlin will have scans to determine the severity of the setback, but with his injury history and games against Hawthorn, Brisbane and Port Adelaide to close out the home-and-away campaign, the Dockers need another key defender.

Johnson said Silvagni was waiting for another opportunity to show he could play on the game's premier forwards.

The 26-year-old has played only four games this season, but Johnson claimed he was the perfect candidate to call upon.

"Nothing will change much because we'll have Silvagni to come in and he's played his role earlier this year and last year," Johnson said.

"We'll lose a leader down in the back line, but the guys we bring in will stand up. He's a quality player and a quality person.

"We know that when Alex comes into the side that he gives his all.

"He's always knocking on the door to play for the team. He's played really good footy for Peel."

McPharlin has played 13 games this season and at 32, is in the twilight of his career.

"I've had a few injury issues this season and that's been a bit disappointing personally, but certainly the team's in really good shape and I really want to be a part of it," McPharlin told Channel 9's The Sunday Footy Show.

McPharlin's absence may not be as crucial as usual on Sunday because Hawthorn's attack is potentially undermanned.

Jack Gunston (knee) is already unavailable and Coleman Medal leader Jarryd Roughead is on report for tripping Melbourne's Dom Tyson.

Roughead has 64 carryover points left on his record from an incident earlier in the year, making it impossible to avoid suspension if the match review panel upholds the report today.

The Dockers could be bolstered for Sunday's clash by Michael Walters, who had 19 possessions and a goal for Peel on Saturday in his first game since injuring an ankle against Hawthorn in round three.

Walters, who spent the first 20 minutes of the game on the bench, was unsure whether he would earn an automatic recall.

"I haven't really thought about that," Walters said.

"I just want to play consistent footy while I can, whether that's in the WAFL or AFL."

The West Australian

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