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Young Eagle flying like giants

Jack Darling of the West Coast Eagles reacts after missing a kick at goal during the 2013 AFL Round 14 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Essendon Bombers at Patersons Stadium, Perth on June 27, 2013. (Photo: Will Russell/AFL Media)
Jack Darling lets out his frustration in a game earlier in 2013
WEST COAST coach John Worsfold is an unashamed fan of Jack Darling.

After the 21-year-old bagged five goals against Fremantle last week, equalling his career-best for the fourth time this season, Worsfold made sure everyone was aware of how good Darling is.

"I'm always pleased with Jack's performance. I was pleased with his performance last week," Worsfold said after his side’s loss to the Dockers.

"He's a wonderful young man who is working extremely well.

"You pick some other key forwards out who have impacted the game in their first couple of seasons before they hit (age) 21 or 22, he's up there with the best of them I would expect.

"So do your comparisons with the best in the game and see how you think he's tracking."

Worsfold is right. Statistically, Darling is tracking exceptionally well.

In just his third season, Darling has played 62 games for the Eagles, with seven rounds remaining in 2013. He has kicked 112 goals, taken 304 marks and has laid a maniacal 205 tackles.

When you compare that to two of the modern greats, the numbers become even more impressive.

Wayne Carey played 59 games in his first four seasons for North Melbourne, having played just four in his first year, 1989. In those games, Carey kicked 112 goals, took 353 marks and laid just 58 tackles.

Jonathan Brown played 57 games in his first three seasons with the Brisbane Lions and won two premierships. He kicked 57 goals in that period, took 301 marks and laid 62 tackles.

Darling was flattered by his coach's praise.

"It's a nice comment; makes you feel good," Darling said.

"Look, it's just the start of my career, so hopefully I just keep on getting better and better and I'm going to do the work."
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs