Sean Darcy is set to lead Fremantle in the ruck in 2020, but he will welcome the competition for his spot when fellow ruckman Lloyd Meek makes his return from a foot injury.
The pair, both 21, will renew their friendly rivalry from their Vic Country days with Meek making steady progress this pre-season.
Taken at pick no.69 in the 2017 NAB National Draft, a year after Darcy, Meek is yet to make his debut at AFL level.
His 2019 season-ending injury came at the worst time for Meek, who was playing a career-best game with 36 hitouts, two goals and 20 disposals before coming off late in the fourth quarter.
Darcy says Meek is getting ready to make his mark in 2020.
“Lloyd’s come along the last month really well. He was doing around seven or eight kilometers a session during the break so he’s looking to train in the next couple of weeks,” Darcy said.
“We’ll get a few drills into him. He’s coming along well and he’s looking really fit and in good shape. I think he’ll be right to go in a couple of months.”
Currently Darcy goes up against forward/ruck Rory Lobb in their ruck training drills and would welcome having Meek back to add some variety to the sessions.
“Lloyd’s an unreal preparer and he’s a really good competitor out on the track,” Darcy said.
“He pushes you, he’s a really good runner and covers the ground well for a big boy and works really hard.
“It’s always good when he’s back as healthy competition is always good for spots. It will be good once he gets back up.”
Fremantle’s first-year players are also gradually being introduced to main training and Darcy is enjoying what he’s seen from the bumper crop which includes top-10 picks Hayden Young, Caleb Serong and Liam Henry.
“They’re talented young people, they’re playing really good footy and they’re pushing each other,” Darcy said.
“Caleb is an inside bull, he’s really strong around the ball, good with his hands feeding it out as well as his lateral movement around the stoppage.
“Youngy has an unreal kick on him, I’ve noticed even today after the two km time trial he was pulling left foot bombs from everywhere.
“They’re looking really good and they just have to work their way through the next few months, train really hard and impress the coaches.”