Fremantle’s pain could be Alex Silvagni’s gain in the coming weeks as the fringe defender attempts to save his AFL career.
Silvagni’s stop-start career was on life support earlier this season when injuries kept him out of senior action.
With Alex Pearce, Zac Dawson, Michael Johnson and Sam Collins above him in the pecking order, Silvagni faced a fight just to play another game this season, let alone secure a new deal.
But the 28-year-old has made the most of his chances over the past fortnight, blanketing star Sydney forward Lance Franklin, before quelling the influence of Eagles spearhead Jack Darling.
Franklin booted just two goals in Sydney’s 90-point win over Fremantle.
Silvagni restricted Darling to just nine possessions and no goals during the first three quarters of Sunday’s 46-point western derby loss.
The key defender then kept Ross Glendinning medallist Josh Kennedy to just one goal in the final term after the Eagles forward had bagged six goals before that opposed to Sam Collins.
Silvagni’s future remains up in the air, with coach Ross Lyon refusing to discuss it in public.
But Silvagni will have more chances to press his claims during a brutal run home for the Dockers.
Fremantle host the high-scoring Crows in Perth on Sunday before taking on GWS (away) and the Bulldogs (home).
The Dockers are expected to be thrashed in all three games. But it will at least give Silvagni the stage to strut his defensive capabilities.
Adelaide are the highest-scoring team in the competition, and they boast plenty of avenues towards goal.
Eddie Betts (54 goals), Josh Jenkins (52), Taylor Walker (40), Tom Lynch (32) and Mitch McGovern (25) have been prolific this year.
Silvagni, who is the second cousin of Carlton legend Stephen Silvagni, has played just 50 games since being taken with pick No.24 in the 2010 rookie draft.
The past three seasons have yielded just 11 games for the 192cm backman.
But with doubts surrounding the durability of veteran Michael Johnson, Silvagni might have done enough to earn a new one-year deal.
Collins has been solid for the Dockers since making his debut in round 10.
But the 22-year-old was out of his depth against Kennedy in Sunday’s western derby loss.
Lyon said he persisted with the match-up for three quarters to show Collins what it takes to be a premier AFL defender.
“Josh Kennedy is an A-grade power forward. Dawson normally plays on him and has a fantastic record on him,” Lyon said.
“Kennedy has won the medal and Collins gets to go away and have a look at it and try to improve.”