NEWLY-CROWNED Doig medallist Sean Darcy says a coronavirus-enforced stay in Perth over this past summer laid the foundation for his maiden Fremantle best-and-fairest.
The Cobden export was unveiled as the Dockers' outright club champion on Saturday night, accruing 222 votes to clinch the honour.
He outlasted Fremantle legend David Mundy, who polled 207, and fellow youngster Andy Brayshaw on 186. Darcy, 23, remained in Perth over the summer and used the time to "knuckle down" in a bid to lift his fitness to the next level.
I thought I played some OK footy in the second half (of 2020) which gave me the confidence that I can compete with the bigger bodies- Sean Darcy
"It's a couple of things. I thought I played some OK footy in the second half (of 2020) which gave me the confidence that I can compete with the bigger bodies," he said.
"I stayed in Perth due to COVID and we got really fit. A bunch of the boys decided to knuckle down.
"I hurt my knee at the start of January and decided to just shut everything off and really knuckle down as hard as I could and go for this year."
Darcy paid homage to former teammate and ruck coach Aaron Sandilands' influence on his career.
"He's been unbelievable with me and is probably the biggest influence on my football career to this day," he said.
And what would 'Sandi' have been thinking to see his protege as the newest Doig medallist?
"He's at a bucks party (on Saturday night) so I don't think he's thinking too much at the moment," Darcy laughed.
Darcy described the honour as a shock.
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The towering ruckman is the second-straight player from Fremantle's 2017 draft class to win the award after Luke Ryan's triumph this past season.
The pick 38 reflected on his journey to Western Australia from the south-west.
"It's been a crazy ride so far moving from Cobden over in Victoria to here. It's been a great ride so far and like Andy Brayshaw said earlier, a premiership is the goal and we won't rest until we get there," Darcy said.
"It (winning the Doig Medal) still hasn't sunk in at the moment. I really didn't think I was going to get up, I thought David Mundy had it for sure so I'm a bit embarrassed to be up here.
"He was an unbelievable player this year. It's a bit weird but I'm sure I'll get used to it." Fremantle finished 11th in 2021.
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