Hard running Freo defender Dylan Roberton has been challenged to take the game on more by his coaches.

The 21-year-old returned to the side and played solidly in Saturday’s loss to Collingwood, gathering 19 disposals and showing a fair bit of dash from defence.

Roberton said it had been a focus of his to use his legs and turn his strong speed and endurance into a weapon for the side.

“A couple of times in the first quarter I just blazed away with the ball,” he admitted.

“Ross said just use your legs a bit more and run it out and I listened.

“I like to get my hands on the ball and run and set up a bit of play.”

Roberton played on young Collingwood forward Jackson Paine for the majority of Saturday’s game.

“My role was to play on the third tall to let Johnno (Michael Johnson) and Adam (McPhee) get the smaller types so they could play their game the way they want to play it,” he said.

Roberton has been in strong WAFL form this season when he has played with East Perth.

He credited the extra midfield responsibility the Royals have given him for helping to grow his game this season.

“I have a pretty good relationship with the boys down there,” he said.

“I’ve been put up into the midfield a bit, which made it a bit more enjoyable running around and getting a bit more involved.”

Roberton said the WAFL was also a good stepping stone to playing AFL.

“I just focus on what my development and senior coaches tell me to improve on each week,” he said.

“You have goals to get out of every game and if you work towards them you stay focused.”

While he’s been used mainly in defence at AFL level, Roberton said he enjoyed playing both positions.

“I’m more comfortable at half-back, but running though the midfield is a good challenge,” he said.

For now, Roberton wants to continue improving on his game and cement a spot in the Fremantle team.

“The biggest step and biggest goal has been to try and become more physical,” he said.

“I think spending time down at WAFL has helped me a lot.

“I want to become a part of the Fremantle back six, be aggressive with contests and play a role that will help out the boys to get a few wins on the board.”

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