FREMANTLE footballer Sean Darcy is excited to visit his family in country Victoria for Christmas but is already planning his long-term future in Western Australia.
The emerging ruckman is tied to the Dockers until the end of the 2022 AFL season and is scoping out Perth's real estate market.
Darcy, 21, lives with teammate Brandon Matera but hopes to buy his first home soon as he prepares for his fourth season at the elite level.
"I love it over here. It's really fun, the lifestyle is unbelievable, nice weather, beaches," he told The Standard.
"It is a bit far away from home. I'd always like mum and dad to be a little bit closer so I could see them but I love it over here.
"Hopefully I will buy a house in the next couple of months which will be nice."
Darcy will return to his family's South Purrumbete property on the outskirts of Cobden this weekend for about 12 days.
The former Cobden player plans to relax and catch up with family and friends but knows he must stay vigilant as he strives to add to his 26 games for the Dockers in 2020.
"It's probably the last time I will get to be back for a good eight or nine months," he said.
"We'll have a pretty extensive program over the three weeks (we get off). It's more of a mental break rather than a physical break.
"You have to keep fit, go to the gym and go running. I go into Camperdown, Cobden and sometimes I go to Colac. I like to switch it up a bit."
But Darcy, who will lead the Dockers' ruck division next season following club great Aaron Sandilands' retirement, will make the most of the country air during his visit. He said his favourite part was "the freedom".
"You can do whatever you want on the farm," Darcy said.
"Even the little things, like getting up and taking the dogs for a walk, you don't have to have them on a leash. You can just let them run around the farm, there's no cars you need to worry about."
But Darcy's relaxed nature off the field is in stark contrast to his competitiveness on it.
He is learning from Sandilands, who is now a ruck coach at Fremantle, and uses the Dockers' experienced players, such as dual Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe and 300-gamer David Mundy, as sounding boards.
"I am a pretty competitive person in nature so I always like to try as hard as I can to get the best out of myself," Darcy said.
"I wasn't expecting to play straight away, I sort of got thrown in the deep end in my first year (in 2017) and stood up which was nice.
"Now I need to try and get my body as fit as possible and play 22 games (each season). That's what I've been struggling at the last couple of years."
Fremantle's list has undergone a major overhaul during Darcy's first three seasons.
The Dockers welcomed seven draftees, including three top-10 selections, in last month's draft.
Darcy believes the club is on track to return to finals for the first time since 2015 but understood the hard work it needed to put in.
"We have to learn how to play consistently for 22 weeks. You see the David Mundys and Nat Fyfes, their form doesn't really waiver for the whole 22 weeks whereas the young boys' is up and down.
"It's all about the consistency, becoming a pro and doing recovery after games, eating well, getting enough sleep and making sure you're right to go for 22 weeks because you might start well for the first five weeks but it is a marathon, an AFL season, and it does get you at the end if you're not doing everything 100 per cent."
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