Darcy Moore at the Brownlow Medal with his father Peter
You've just got to bite your tongue a bit and stay patient
DARCY Moore likes to take charge of things on the field. He runs hard up the ground, flies for marks, and then doubles back and does it again. He's tall but moves smoothly across the turf, and when games are up for grabs his teammates look to him to make it happen.
Recently, though, the 16-year-old has found himself to be pretty good at something else, too.
"As sad as it is to say, I've actually become pretty accomplished at sitting on the sidelines and watching games," Moore told AFL.com.au.
Darcy, the son of Collingwood legend and dual Brownlow medallist Peter Moore, is eligible to join the Magpies as a father-son recruit in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, a situation that has the club excited. But before any of that he wants to get fit.
After feeling pain in his hip last April, Moore was diagnosed with hip impingement, which presented some difficulty as it is caused by the joint's structure rather than being overworked.
He had nine weeks off, then trained for one week before playing for Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under-16s Championships in Sydney, where he performed well.
"I thought I was over it after that," he says. "I played for another three or four weeks and felt fine, and then really struggled after that.
"The option was, have surgery straight away or postpone it and play on and off in 2013 and manage the load. But I had just had enough by then juggling all the different coaches and I just wanted to get over it and play at 100 per cent."
Moore had surgery before Christmas and is six weeks into his rehab program now, which was partly devised by the Magpies.
He might start jogging towards the end of the level one AIS-AFL Academy's tour of New Zealand, which started on Friday, and in about two months he hopes to be back in full training.
The long recovery has changed what Moore wants to get out of this year, shifting his mindset from what he wants to achieve to just seeing how many games he can play.
That figure, he expects, will be capped somewhere between 15-20 games, a decision and juggling act coordinated by Collingwood in conjunction with the Academy, his school Carey Grammar, and Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC Cup.
He also wants to get a few games as a bottom-ager for Vic Metro in the under-18 carnival mid-year. At 196cm and 85kg, Moore has some versatility, and could fit in at either end.
"I'm more comfortable up forward, just because I've done it since I was a little kid. But I love the challenge of centre-half back or full back and flipping around the situation," Moore says.
The New Zealand trip presents a chance to tick off another step in his recovery. He will watch on as the squad lines up against the New Zealand Hawks next Saturday at Wellington Stadium, the day after he turns 17, and be closer to his return.
"I've never been to New Zealand and it's good to go overseas with our game instead of interstate, but it's going to be tough watching the game," he said.
"You've just got to bite your tongue a bit and stay patient."
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.