Although it will increase the competition for spots in Fremantle’s back six, defender Alex Silvagni has embraced the arrival of former St Kilda star Zac Dawson.
Dawson, who was snared by the Dockers with pick No.10 in December’s pre-season draft, plays a similar role to Silvagni, with the pair able to battle out of their weight division in taming some of the biggest key forwards in the competition.
Silvagni has notched 24 games since arriving at the club via the rookie list in 2010, becoming a key cog in Fremantle’s defence.
But the presence of fellow key defenders Luke McPharlin, Antoni Groverand now Dawson means competition for spots will be red hot in 2012.
Not that it worries Silvagni.
“Competition for spots puts pressure on guys in the team and it’s a great thing to have when you’ve got so many numbers out there,” Silvagni said.
“It’s up to the coaches what they do.
“They might think guys are suited to playing in there one week against a certain team and they might need smaller guys or taller guys for another week, so it just all depends.
“Zac is proven and he has got a wealth of knowledge.
“He’s just a really good defender so it does make it a bit easier having a bit more height down there and sharing the load a little bit.”
Silvagni missed the first 13 rounds of last season after a routine injection to ease pain in his groin became a debilitating infection, resulting in a short stint in hospital.
But the 24-year-old has enjoyed a strong pre-season and is looking forward to putting his increased fitness to the test.
“It’s been enjoyable being out on the track and actually running around with the boys and not being restrained,” Silvagni said.
“Being out doing the drills you really notice fitness-wise when you have a limited pre-season, so it’s just little things like that which make it easier and it’s a real positive.”
by Buford Balony