Midfielder Darcy Tucker is looking to establish himself on the wing at Fremantle after committing to a two-year deal for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
The 24-year-old has been frustrated by multiple hamstring injuries in the past two seasons but played every game this year after making his return in round seven against West Coast.
Tucker played in multiple roles in that time, mostly at half back or on the wing, but felt the recent injuries and a limited pre-season hampered his progress.
Now at full fitness and ready for a big summer on the track, Tucker is optimistic he can settle into a wing role and impact games.
His potential was highlighted in the round 22 RAC Derby, with an 11-disposal final quarter that pushed Freo to a crucial victory.
“Personally, I wasn’t too happy with the year I had. I have high standards for myself and it felt like I was playing a bit of catch up from my injury,” Tucker said.
“(The West Coast game) is the standard I believe I can play at and that’s why I’m really excited to have a full preseason and really set myself up to have a good season like that.
“It all starts with getting fitter and stronger, improving as much as I can over the pre-season and going from there.
“I do love the wing, I love being around the midfield and I feel that’s where I can play my best footy.”
Tucker gave a glowing assessment of his teammates, with his expectations on the Club as lofty as the ones he places on himself.
“To be honest, there’s a lot that excites me. I feel like we’re definitely going in the right direction. Our time is now, we want to play finals footy and we’re not just saying that lightly,” Tucker said.
“We believe we’ve got the group to do it and make sure these next two, three, four - however many years - are really successful for the footy club.
“It’s a young group and it’s not just the youth, but how driven everyone is and how everyone wants to get better and improve.
“We all hold very high standards and that’s what excites me. I can’t wait to get into it and have some successful years to come.”
In between trips down south and to Rottnest Island, Tucker has been working hard this off-season with his teammates as they build their fitness ahead of the pre-season.
The first to four-year players are due back on 22 November while Tucker and his fellow five-plus year players are due to return on 6 December.
“I’ve been working with guys like Blake Acres, Lachie Schultz, Sean Darcy, Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, Hayden Young and Rory Lobb, it’s a fair group of boys doing our sessions together,” Tucker said.
“We’re all competitive and make each other run harder and we get to have a good kick in as well. We’re all training hard and setting ourselves up for a good season next year.”
Fremantle Head of Player Personnel David Walls expects Tucker to be crucial for Fremantle in the coming years.
“We’re pleased to have Darcy around for at least another two seasons. He’s been really professional, especially when he had that really big hamstring injury and worked his way back,” Walls said.
“He worked hard and has been moved around a little bit, but we really see him settling in on the wing and nailing down that spot with his run and carry, he’s got a beautiful step and a long left foot kick. We see him using that run to get up and down and break the game.
“We see him as a big part of our future and our list management plan.”