A number of key statistics suggest that Sean Darcy is already starting to emerge as one of the better ruckmen in the AFL.

At 22, Darcy is still one to the game’s youngest to play regularly as a ruckman, a position that is traditionally dominated by the older and more experienced players.

Darcy ranks seventh in the AFL in total hitouts despite playing 14 of a possible 16 games this season and a heavy rotation system through the ruck with Rory Lobb.

Darcy has had less opportunity than other rucks to rack up big hitout totals, attending 617 ruck contests in 2020, significantly lower than the likes of Todd Goldstein (995), Brodie Grundy (993) and Max Gawn (767).

Player

GAMES

RUCK CONTESTS

HITOUTS

HITOUT WIN %

B.Grundy (COFC)

16

993

519

52.3

T.Goldstein (NMFC)

16

995

453

45.5

J.Witts (GCFC)

16

937

449

47.9

N.Naitanui (WCFC)

15

758

447

59

R.O'Brien (AFC)

16

983

435

44.3

M.Gawn (MFC)

13

767

432

56.3

S.Darcy (FRFC)

14

617

303

49.1

O.McInerney (BFC)

16

730

297

40.7

I.Soldo (RFC)

14

574

292

50.9

S.Lycett (PAFC)

12

619

278

44.9

C.Sinclair (SYFC)

12

641

270

42.1

M.Pittonet (CFC)

12

632

263

41.6

T.English (WBFC)

16

891

260

29.2

Importantly, Darcy has seen a significant increase in his hitouts to advantage in 2020, where 15.9 per cent of the time he will tap the ball to the advantage of a Fremantle midfielder. 

YEAR

HOTA

HOTA %

2017

66

11.7

2018

65

14.1

2019

78

13.2

2020

98

15.9

This rates well compared to other AFL rucks, trailing only Ben McEvoy, Paddy Ryder, Max Gawn and Nic Naitanui. 

Player

GAMES

RUCK CONTESTS

HOTA

HOTA WIN %

B.McEvoy (HFC)

15

332

64

19.3

P.Ryder (SKFC)

12

446

84

18.8

M.Gawn (MFC)

13

767

141

18.4

N.Naitanui (WCFC)

15

758

129

17

S.Darcy (FRFC)

14

617

98

15.9

S.Lycett (PAFC)

12

619

96

15.5

I.Soldo (RFC)

14

574

86

15

S.Jacobs (GWS)

7

390

58

14.9

B.Grundy (COFC)

16

993

144

14.5

J.Witts (GCFC)

16

937

135

14.4

And compared to rucks around his age, Darcy is one of the standouts.

 

2020 GAMES

AGE

HOTA WIN %

HO WIN %

S.Darcy (FRFC)

14

22

15.9

49.1

I.Soldo (RFC)

14

24

15

50.9

R.O'Brien (AFC)

16

25

12.8

44.3

M.Pittonet (CFC)

12

24

12.7

41.6

S.Draper (EFC)

7

21

10.3

36.6

T.English (WBFC)

16

22

8.9

29.2

T.De Koning (CFC)

6

21

7.8

31.7

Fremantle head of development Simon Eastaugh, a ruckman at Fremantle between 1998 and 2002, has mentored Darcy since his arrival and has been impressed with his achievements.

“With these young guys coming through in the ruck, it has its challenges,” Eastaugh told 6PR.

“I think when you talk about the calibre of the players Sean has played on in the past few weeks, Max Gawn and Todd Goldstein in particular, it’s no mean feat that Sean’s been able to hold his own.

“We’re starting to see him emerging with a huge amount of confidence in his game.”

While Darcy has impressed at stoppages, Eastaugh said Darcy has room to grow in his follow up work.

Darcy averages just under three first possessions per game, behind the likes of those renowned for their work around the contest in Nic Naitanui (6.2 per game), Todd Goldstein (5.6), Brodie Grundy (4.3 ) and Max Gawn (4.3).

“I think the key to (Darcy’s emergence) has been his follow-up,” Eastaugh said.

“He had six first possessions and three tackles against North Melbourne.

“It’s the kind of game that we know Sean’s very capable of doing but it just takes a little bit of time. Playing against those big dominant guys, is no easy feat.”

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