CONNOR Blakely is relishing shutdown roles on some of the AFL's star midfielders after being tasked to work on the defensive side of his game by Fremantle coach Ross Lyon. 

Blakely has showcased a talent for negating over the past month, restricting the influence of Marcus Bontempelli, Nathan Jones, Jack Ziebell and Luke Shuey but also finding the ball himself, averaging 23.5 possessions.

The 21-year-old, who was dropped after round 18 last year when Lyon cited his defensive running as an issue, has welcomed the challenge to become a more rounded player.

"He (Lyon) always wanted me to keep working on my defensive game," Blakely said. 

"I've fully embraced it and look forward to it each week.

"As a footballer you want to be a well-rounded player and I think me embracing this role has allowed me to, firstly stay in the team, and then contribute really well.

"It enables you to have that single-minded focus.

"It's not a full-on lockdown role, but it's something that enables the other midfielders to win the ball a bit more and we know I'll be taking care of one of their major ball-winners." 

Blakely restricted Eagles star Shuey to just 10 touches by half-time in Saturday night's Western Derby defeat and racked up 22 disposals of his own before the tag was released with West Coast surging towards a 45-point lead.

Targeting prolific Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett this Sunday appears the obvious role for Blakely, who has learned the craft by speaking to teammate Nick Suban and tagging the likes of Lachie Neale at training.

"You do need to put a lot of effort in and preparation," he said.

"We were coming up against North Melbourne and we thought I was going to go to (Shaun) Higgins, but he didn't end up playing and it was Lachie Weller (who I tagged at training) who shows a bit of pace. 

"It changes week-to-week, to someone similar to who is coming up."

Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe has been targeted by rival clubs this season, especially around stoppages, and was clearly frustrated by Elliot Yeo's close-checking tactics during the derby.

Fyfe lashed out and copped a $1000 fine for a high hit on Yeo, and Blakely admitted Freo could try to help protect the superstar better.

"Of course we can do a little bit more," Blakely said. 

"It's only natural that he is going to get targeted a little bit more than the average player."

Fyfe's future dominated the headlines on Monday after a radio announcer declared the Brownlow medallist had agreed to join St Kilda – a rumour immediately and vehemently denied by his management.

Fyfe, who could become a restricted free agent later this year, has repeatedly said he would look to ink a new deal if the attention on him became a distraction, but Blakely denied it was having an impact at Freo.

"There's going to be so much talk happening until something gets signed," he said.

"But we don't really talk about it or think about it much at all."