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Freo secure their ruck stocks

Aaron Sandilands gives some insight on his young protégée. Aaron Sandilands chats about Freo youngster Sean Darcy.

The Fremantle Dockers have moved to secure their ruck stocks with Aaron Sandilands signing a new one-year deal and emerging ruckman Sean Darcy agreeing to a two-year contract extension.

Sandilands, who was contracted until the end of this season, has signed on for a further 12 months to remain at Fremantle until the end of the 2018 season.

A 2016 draftee, who was originally contracted until the end of the 2018 season, Darcy has signed for a further two years, which will see the 19-year-old remain a Freo Docker until at least the end of the 2020 season.

Thirty-four-year-old Sandilands has missed the past three weeks with a hamstring injury but has continued to contribute as an elite ruckman in his 15th year at the club. In nine appearances in 2017, Sandilands averaged 45.7 hitouts and 14.6 hitouts to advantage per game, leading the AFL in both categories.

Sandilands said he loved playing footy and continued to have a strong desire to perform at his best.

“I haven’t been able to be out there for the past couple of weeks, but other than that my body is feeling really good. I’m very happy to be here for another 12 months,” Sandilands said.

“I was pretty confident that I would be able to get through another season and contribute strongly.

“It was an easy decision as I continue to love playing the game and I still feel like I can contribute to the side.

“Freo is a great club to be at. When you walk through these doors you walk out a better person. I owe a fair bit to the footy club.”

Sandilands added that it was exciting for Fremantle to extend the contract of a “great young man” in Darcy. At WAFL level, Darcy has totaled 320 hitouts and seven goals in 11 appearances.

Taken with pick no.38 in the 2016 National Draft, Darcy said he feels like he’s already grown since joining an AFL list.

“It’s a big boost in confidence knowing that Freo’s wanting to stick with me, so I was really happy when they told me they wanted to sign me on,” Darcy said.

  “There’s been a lot of learning - and learning really quickly - but you get used to it. You’ve got to adjust pretty quickly but once you’re used to it you can track along all right.

“I’ve found that there’s as much physical work as there is mentally. You learn a lot about the game, whether it’s about running patterns on the track or in the gym doing weights."

General manager of list management Brad Lloyd said the extension of Sandilands was important for more than just the dual Doig Medallist’s contribution on the field.

“Aaron’s really held his form in recent years and we all know he’s a wonderful player for the club,” Lloyd said.

“He’s still playing and training at a really high level, while remaining an outstanding leader for the football club.

“We’re thrilled he’ll be around for at least another year.

“Aaron’s been a great mentor and support for Sean too, so it’s great for Sean to continue that relationship with Aaron and benefit from the experience and knowledge that Aaron can provide for him.”

Darcy is yet to make his debut at AFL level but Lloyd said the Geelong Falcons product has done everything required of him since his arrival.

“We saw Sean as one of the best tap ruckmen coming through the draft and he already had a big strong body,” Lloyd said.

“Since he’s come to the club he’s trimmed down and improved his fitness.

“At WAFL level he’s shown that he can contribute, particularly with his mobility around the ground and his tap work at centre bounces."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs