Retired Fremantle Dockers champion Peter Bell says there’s no reason why Collingwood discard John Anthony cannot enjoy another 50-goal season as a key forward for his new club.

The 22-year-old cut ties with the premiers and now has a host of clubs – including Fremantle, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Carlton – aiming to secure the services of the key position player for December’s pre-season draft.

The Dockers need to fill the gaping hole left by veteran key defender Chris Tarrant, who won a trade back to the Magpies at the end of the season. 

Anthony asked the club to find him a new home in trade week but the Magpies were not able to find a suitable deal.

Despite kicking 50 goals in 24 games for Collingwood in its charge to the preliminary finals in 2009, Anthony was used sporadically in 2010, featuring in just seven matches for a return of five goals as the club preferred the likes of Travis Cloke, Chris Dawes and Leigh Brown as the power forwards.

Fremantle is said to be interested in picking up Anthony in the pre-season draft, but will have to wait until after the Suns, Demons and Blues have used their picks.

But should the Dockers get their man, Bell said Anthony’s relative youth and versatility would be a great fit for the side.

“He can play forward or back, I think he originally began as a defender and then was good enough to kick 50 goals for a very good side at Collingwood as a young full-forward,” he said.

“So I think he’s definitely got a lot to offer and I think it will be pretty competitive between the clubs as to who can secure his services.

Bell didn’t believe his 50-goal haul was a “one-off” and he felt the wide expanses of Patersons Stadium would help Anthony reach that tally again and provide Freo with a key target in attack.

“He was very consistent over an entire season,” he said. “You have to be to kick 50 goals. He’s done it before so there’s no reason why he couldn’t do it again.

“Subiaco Oval would be an oval where you think it would suit him, with plenty of space and also he’s a really long kick so I think there’s no reason why he can’t kick 50 goals in a season again.”

Bell said he wasn’t overly surprised about Anthony being surplus to requirements by ‘Pies coach Mick Malthouse, but added he would go some way to replacing Tarrant.

“I guess there’s only so many spots on the list and Chris Dawes and Leigh Brown tended to have moved in front of him,” he said.

“I haven’t seen a lot of him play, especially as a defender, but obviously Fremantle will be going to get an experienced defender to help cover the loss of Chris Tarrant.

“It will be really difficult to cover given I thought (Tarrant) was one of the best full-backs in the competition for the last three years, but (Anthony) is a player with the size and speed that would really give a good account of himself as a key defender.”

But Tarrant’s shoes were very big to fill, Bell added.

“Chris is a remarkable player, he’s very quick obviously, strong, agile and he was a guy who could play on the really big full-forwards as well as on guys like Mark LeCras so that gives you an idea of Chris’ versatility,” he said.

“I’m not sure John would have the same versatility in that respect, but Chris was a unique player and he will be sorely missed.”

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