Shocked to finish ahead of star veteran David Mundy, 2021 Doig Medallist Sean Darcy said he can only see improvement coming in his game as he judged his 2021 season with a critical lens despite triumphing as Freo’s best through the season.
In front of more than 1000 guests at Crown Perth at the Doig Medal Presentation Dinner, Darcy said he felt a premiership was on the horizon as he became the 16thFremantle player to accept the award.
He is the second consecutive player from Fremantle’s 2017 draft class to win the award, alongside Luke Ryan, and the no.38 pick reflected on his journey to Fremantle from country Victoria.
“It’s been a crazy ride so far moving from Cobham over in Victoria to here, it’s been a great ride so far and like Andy Brayshaw said earlier, a premiership is the goal, we won’t rest until we get there,” Darcy said.
“It (winning the Doig Medal) still hasn’t sunk in at the moment, I really didn’t think I was going to get up, I thought David Mundy had it for sure so I’m a bit embarrassed to be up here. He was an unbelievable player this year. It’s a bit weird but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.”
Darcy joins two-time winner Aaron Sandilands as Freo rucks to win the award and now sits alongside Nat Fyfe and Matthew Pavlich as the only players to win the prestigious medal as a 23-year-old.
As Darcy’s ruck coach, Darcy credited Sandilands for his career to date.
“I think (improvement came from) my follow up around the ground, it’s something that my coach and I, Aaron, always talk about,” Darcy said.
“When that’s going, I feel like our roles are going. Around the ground, following up, clearances, handball receives, ground ball gets, tackles – it’s something that we really pride ourselves on, especially as ruckmen.
“We feel like our game flows from that and it’s something I do a lot of work on in the pre-season and we went from there.”
The Doig Medal goes alongside Darcy’s selection as one of three rucks in the All Australian squad as the 23-year-old continues to be recognised for his breakout year.
Darcy hopes his growth can continue and feels there is more to work on this summer.
“I want to get better in a whole lot of areas,” Darcy said.
“First of all my fitness, we have a time trial and I want to come back in really good shape, I want to lose a couple kilos and get a bit leaner.
“My goalkicking, I thought that tailed off in the last six to seven weeks. I was a bit inconsistent with that, so I need to get that back on track.
“My marking, I thought was inconsistent, tackling as well. I think everything in my game I can improve on.”
In his speech, Darcy could only pay tribute to his teammates, those who have had the biggest influences on his career.
“I’d love to thank the boys, I honestly love every single one of you guys. You make life so much easier seeing you every day. Secondly the coaches, you put so much trust and faith into me and working with me every day, I can’t wait for the next few years,” Darcy said.
“To my family, it’s been a disappointing couple of years not having you coming over and hanging out as much as we want, I really miss you deeply and hopefully the borders can open up soon so we can hang out.
“To the fans, you guys are awesome, we love the Purple Army and it gives us an extra gear when we play at Optus.”