Fremantle recruit Jack Anthony has breathed new life into his AFL career after an impressive defensive performance in Friday night’s 80-point loss to Collingwood.

Anthony has endured a horrid time since his high-profile switch from Collingwood to Fremantle via the the pre-season draft at the end of last year.

The 23-year-old barely fired a shot during the pre-season competition and had to wait until the round eight western derby against West Coast before making his Dockers debut.

Anthony, who is believed to have two more years to run on his current contract, tallied just five possessions and 0.1 against the Eagles before being demoted back to the WAFL, where he spent the next 10 weeks.

His next senior call-up came in round 19 against Hawthorn, but a return of five possessions and no goals in torrid conditions resulted in yet another swift axing.

However, Anthony looked like a player with a new lease on life when assigned to a defensive post against Collingwood, with the former Pie restricting Chris Dawes to just seven possessions and no score while tallying 16 disposals himself.

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey was pleased with Anthony’s output, but said he was yet to decide at which end of the ground the 192cm swingman’s future lay.

“I think the easy option for coaches is to have forwards and then turn them into defenders, and then all of a sudden you finish up with a lack of key forwards,” Harvey said.

“The hardest part of the game is to play as a forward, not as a back.

“Don’t discount the fact that he mightn’t stay there as a defender.

“You know (defenders Luke) McPharlin and (Antoni) Grover are getting older so at some stage the wheel’s going to turn down there so he (Anthony) might be one of those guys (in the future who will be assigned to defence when the others are gone).”

Harvey will have a challenging time trying to cobble a team together for Saturday’s clash with the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium after two more players were added to the club’s extensive injury list.

Midfielder Garrick Ibbotson (shoulder) and defender Peter Faulks (broken jaw, fractured cheekbone) are definite outs, while utility Nick Lower is almost certain to be suspended for his dangerous bump on Collingwood’s Dale Thomas.

Grover and Alex Silvagni are good chances to return against the Bulldogs, while Ben Bucovaz could earn a lucky recall due to the dearth of other options.

Harvey said it was important his team finished off the season strongly despite finals being out of the equation.

“We haven’t won a game for six weeks, so we need to be really competitive against the Bulldogs,” he said.

“It’ll be an emotional game on their behalf probably (with players retiring) and we need to see if we can win in Melbourne.

“There’s obviously opportunity for guys that probably wouldn’t be expecting to get a chance to play in this game … and that’s all we can look at, at this stage.”

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