New Docker Peter Faulks has been backed by his former VFL boss to rapidly assert himself as Fremantle’s new key backman, filling the void left by departed linchpin Chris Tarrant.

Williamstown football manager Chris Dixon said the Dockers had struck gold in trading pick No.55 in the national draft to Gold Coast for the pre-listed Faulks and selection No.61.

He said the 22-year-old’s performance throughout the Seagulls’ 2010 campaign showed he was ready for the rigours of the AFL.

Faulks was drafted by Sydney in 2006, but de-listed two years later without making his senior debut, knocking back a rookie-list tryout with the Swans before re-entering the VFL.

The wiry Casey Scorpion moved to Williamstown this year and shone, building up his strength to be named full-back in the VFL team of the year.

Dixon said those ready-to-go abilities would have Faulks pushing for an immediate spot in Fremantle’s best 22.

“I have no doubt he’ll be able to probably slot in Round 1 for Fremantle and have a big impact,” Dixon said.

“This year, in the VFL, he was playing on AFL forwards week-in, week-out and beating them, which is to his credit.

“He’s not an 18-year-old just coming in, he’s 22 years old and it may have taken time to mature his body, but I’ve got no doubt he’ll be able to come in and play a role straight away.”

Fremantle will likely concentrate on bolstering Faulks’ frame.

The defender managed only a slight increase from his 74kg weight with the Swans to be listed as 76kg with the Dockers.

But Dixon said it was an area Williamstown had addressed and now likened Faulks to Essendon two-time All-Australian and premiership player Dustin Fletcher.

“Probably one of the knocks on him was that he was a bit skinny in the past, but under our program, with all the weights we put him on, he’s certainly put on some muscle and increased his strength in one-on-one contests,” Dixon said.

“We’d like to think we’ve conditioned his body well to cope with the rigours of AFL football, but certainly since he’s come to us he’s taken his game to the next level.

“He’s almost Dustin Fletcher-ish in the way that he just doesn’t get beaten in one-on-one contests.

“(Faulks joining the Dockers) is probably good timing, with Tarrant going and moving back to Melbourne and (Luke) McPharlin and (Antoni) Grover obviously reaching the twilight of their careers.

“He’s mature-age, but he is only 22, and I think Freo fans would be pretty excited with what Michael Barlow did this year and would be expecting something similar.”

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