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Fremantle’s AFL and AFLW rucks will learn from the very best with Aaron Sandilands returning to the club in a part time role as ruck coach of the AFL and AFL Women’s teams.
Freo boast some talented ruck prospects on both lists, with the likes of Sean Darcy, forward/ruck Rory Lobb, Lloyd Meek, new AFLW draftee Mim Strom and Irish AFLW recruit Aine Tighe set to benefit from Sandilands’ guidance.
A 271-game player and dual Doig Medallist, Sandilands said he was thrilled to continue working at the club.
“It’s always good to walk back into the footy club and see some familiar faces. I’m really happy to be back in a part time capacity,” Sandilands said.
“I’ll get to spend some time with the men’s and women’s sides. It’s about trying to help them out and help them hone in on their ruck skills.
“It’s especially exciting that the AFLW is taking off and it would be good to be able to pass on a bit of my knowledge there.”
Sandilands will draw on his 17 seasons of experience in the AFL as he looks to bring through a talented core of rucks.
As teammates, Sandilands worked particularly closely with Sean Darcy, who was drafted in 2016.
The 21-year-old is set to take on the role as Fremantle’s no.1 ruckman in 2020 as one of the youngest lead rucks in the competition.
“I’ve been in the system for a fair amount of time now, so I feel like I’ve got a bit of knowledge that I can pass on,” Sandilands said.
“I already know that Sean absorbs as much as he can and it’s going to be a big learning role for me as well.
“I’ve built the relationships with the players as a player, no doubt that won’t change with me changing roles.
“I’m just really excited to be back around the footy club and around the talent that we’ve got in the ruck divisions, that makes my job pretty easy.”
General manager of football Peter Bell was confident that Sandilands would continue to be a great asset at Fremantle.
“Aaron’s record as a ruckman speaks for itself. On top of his outstanding work on the field, no-one at Fremantle has won more best clubman awards, so it’s fantastic to have someone of his character back at Fremantle,” Bell said.
“I know that Sean and Lloyd have benefited greatly from Aaron’s guidance as a teammate and that will now continue with Aaron as their ruck coach.
“We also have two new exciting ruck prospects in our AFLW system in Mim Strom and Aine Tighe, and I couldn’t think of anyone better suited to guide them through their first AFLW season.
2020 AFL COACHING STRUCTURE
Justin Longmuir: Senior coach
David Hale: Assistant coach (forwards)
Josh Carr: Assistant coach (midfield)
Michael Prior: Assistant coach (backs)
Anthony Rock: Assistant coach (stoppages and structures)
Simon Eastaugh: Head of development
Marc Webb: Development coach (midfield) and skill acquisition manager
Adam Read: Development coach (forwards) and training coordinator
Roger Hayden: Development coach (backs)
Aaron Sandilands: Ruck coach (part time)
Mark LeCras: Specialist forwards coach (part time)
Cam Shepherd: Senior coach Peel Thunder
2020 AFLW COACHING AND MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE
Darryn Fry: AFLW manager
Trent Cooper: Senior coach
Kate Starre: High performance manager
Craig Thomas: Senior assistant and midfield coach
Amy Lavell: Forwards coach
Garrick Ibbotson: Backline coach
Lisa Webb: Opposition and strategy coach
Aaron Sandilands: Ruck coach