Freo legend Aaron Sandilands played 271 games at AFL level, but only one was better than what his protegee Sean Darcy produced on Saturday in this key ruck stat.

Hitouts are often considered to be an imprecise measure of a ruckman’s contribution, with hitouts to advantage usually preferred by AFL statisticians.

Against Carlton, Darcy racked up an incredible 23 hitouts to advantage from his 40 hitouts in total.

It saw Freo dominate the clearances 45-26 and the inside 50s 52-40.

Regarded as the all-time great modern ruckman, Sandilands only recorded more than 23 hitouts to advantage once in his career, with 26 against Richmond at the MCG in 2018.

Previously, the 18 best games for hitouts to advantage by a Fremantle player were all from Sandilands.

Now Darcy sits equal-second on the list with his 23 hitouts to advantage alongside Sandilands’ efforts against Richmond in 2015.

Player Date Opponent Venue HOTA
A.Sandilands 6/5/18 RICH M.C.G. 26
S.Darcy 3/7/21 CAR M.C.G. 23
A.Sandilands 5/6/15 RICH Subiaco 23
A.Sandilands 16/8/15 WCE Subiaco 22
A.Sandilands 29/3/14 GC Subiaco 20
A.Sandilands 19/4/14 SYD S.C.G. 20
A.Sandilands 2/4/16 GC Subiaco 20
A.Sandilands 26/3/17 GEE Subiaco 20
A.Sandilands 12/5/18 STK Optus 20
A.Sandilands 21/5/17 CAR Subiaco 19
A.Sandilands 28/3/10 ADE Subiaco 18
A.Sandilands 13/6/10 STK Subiaco 18
A.Sandilands 25/6/15 COL Subiaco 18
A.Sandilands 22/4/17 NM Subiaco 18
A.Sandilands 6/9/14 SYD Stad. Aust. 17
A.Sandilands 13/9/14 PA Subiaco 17
A.Sandilands 17/5/15 WB Docklands 17
A.Sandilands 30/5/15 ADE Adelaide Oval 17
A.Sandilands 2/8/15 GWS Subiaco 17

It was eight more than Darcy’s previous best of 15 hitouts to advantage against Richmond in 2017.

In Monday’s edition of The Herald Sun, chief football writer Mark Robinson was full of praise for the 23-year-old, highlighting that Darcy’s game was the second-best individual performance of the season according to Champion Data’s ranking system.

“This bloke doesn’t get the credit,” Robinson wrote.

“I am preaching to converted Dockers fans, but Sean Darcy continues to explode as the game’s best young ruckman.

“He had 40 hitouts, 23 of them to advantage.

“His 193 ranking points were the best by a ruckman this season, and second overall behind Clayton Oliver.”

00:24 Mins
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Big mark, big goal from the big man

Sean Darcy takes a great mark inside 50 and finishes it off with a goal.

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Speaking to The West Australian post game, teammate Andrew Brayshaw said the midfield had silver service all night from Darcy.

“He’s having an awesome season,” Brayshaw said.

“Sean Darcy was huge, it started with him, then there was some really big efforts from ‘Fyfey’ (Nat Fyfe) and Dave Mundy and ‘Cez’ (Adam Cerra).”

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