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Fremantle will experiment with Shane Kersten as a defender in the hope he can reinvent himself in a similar fashion to Carlton's rejuvenated backman Liam Jones, coach Ross Lyon says.
Tall forward Kersten was one of four players dropped by Freo after their 50-point loss to Port Adelaide, with Lyon keen to unleash a smaller and quicker attack against Essendon at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old ex-Cat has gone goalless in his past three appearances for Freo and is set for a stint down back as Fremantle search for more key defensive options.
"We're going to expose him down back at Peel because Griffin Logue has an injury that we're not sure when he'll be back, it could be 10 weeks it could be one week," Lyon said.
"Michael Johnson is 34 and you've got Alex Pearce and (Joel) Hamling and then you've got (Brennan) Cox.
"He'd (Kersten) be like Jones. We know what he can do forward, he's probably in and out, been stalled, but he's a very good athlete, good footy nous, maybe he's better down back like Jones.
"There's been plenty of forwards who haven't been able to establish themselves, gone back and been top-flight backmen. Leo Barry was one. You could go through them.
"He's happy to try and reinvent himself, so we're experimenting a little bit."
Logue's foot issue is concerning Fremantle as the second-year tall battles a congenital issue with a metatarsal.
The 2016 No.8 NAB AFL Draft pick was aiming to play last round for Peel but could be out for up to three months if he requires surgery.
"It's never affected him until this year. But we're trying to settle it down, if we can’t settle it down then it's an operation," Lyon said.
"If it's an operation it's 10 to 12 weeks.
"It's a really difficult one for our medical team which lever to pull.
"We try to keep away from the surgeons in season."
Lyon felt for veteran Danyle Pearce, who has been sent back to Peel alongside Cam Sutcliffe, Darcy Tucker and Kersten as the rebuilding Freo clear room for younger players.
"He is a bit of a whipping boy, I don’t agree with what's said in the media about him," he said.
"He's been a top-flight, 250-game AFL player and I think people have got it wrong on their judgements on him.
"But we had a conversation in the off-season (saying) there's going to be some difficult selections where you're going to feel miffed and frustrated, but we need to expose our youth and we're trying to strike a balance with how many older guys to support them.
"He's clearly going to be feeling frustrated but we would've liked some things to be a little bit better."
While Lyon admitted there were some "tough decisions" at match committee he welcomed back Stephen Hill and Joel Hamling, while handing debuts to No.5 pick Adam Cerra and solidly-built onballer Mitch Crowden for the club's historic first home game at Optus Stadium.
"We know (Crowden) is a tough competitor, good decision-maker, skillful and runs well, and he's a good build, he's quite powerful," Lyon said.
"He won't be perfect, he'll make some errors but … we know they should be able to be eradicated over time.
"Your performance can only get better with the kids, but if you're making errors maybe with 10-year players they're harder to swallow."
Freo fans will have the chance to see No.2 pick Andrew Brayshaw and Cerra – who Lyon likened to former Bombers and Melbourne gun Chris Heffernan as well as Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury – in action together for the first time against the Dons.
"We're excited. If he gets five (possessions) that's life, if he gets 15 we'll go 'well, that's good as well' and if he gets 30 he'll over-deliver," Lyon said.
"But you've got to put them in there and play.
"Whatever our fans see tomorrow night through all of our kids, we know they're going to get better and better.
"All we ask for as a club is time and understanding. Not that we think we'll get it the whole time."