Aaron Sandilands may be retired from AFL football, but that’s not stopping the legendary ruckman from pushing Freo’s emerging rucks at training.
As Fremantle’s part time ruck coach, the 36-year-old is fronting up every Wednesday and taking a hands on approach when working with the likes of Sean Darcy and Rory Lobb.
“Aaron still comes in and coaches and pushes me,” Darcy said.
“He really still trains against me every Wednesday, he hasn’t let go of that, he’s still got that competitive edge in him. I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been a lot of fun.”
Darcy expects to share the ruck duties alongside Lobb in 2020, with Lobb spending slightly more time forward.
“That (playing forward) is his main position. I might be 60-40 or 70-30 (per cent) in the ruck,” Darcy said.
“I like doing more ruck than forward, that’s my preferred role, it’s just what the coaches want.
“Rory’s a quality player, he pushes me around and I’ve got to chase him around, which improves me.
“It’s been really good this pre-season, I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve worked closely with Rory for the whole pre-season so I’m just trying to pick his running patterns and things like that to improve as much as I can.”
Darcy expects the intensity to step up at training as the AFL season nears.
Freo’s first Marsh Series game will be played on Sunday 29 February against Carlton at David Greys Arena. Round one is against Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Saturday 21 March.
“On the ground, there’s a bit more football and less running,” Darcy said.
“We’re doing a bit more match sim for the next few weeks, trying to get the body used to those hits and things like that.
“In the weight room, it’s more explosive, more powerful efforts rather than just strength.”