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Tomorrow's Heroes: He's big, burly and bustling

Tomorrow's Heroes: Darcy Fogarty The hulking South Australian is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft

DARCY Fogarty was 15 when he played his first game of senior football for Lucindale, a small town of 400 people about four hours out of Adelaide.

That experience has gone on to serve him well. Earlier this year, the tough and combative forward/midfielder made his SANFL senior debut for Glenelg, and it was one of his best performances of the season.

Fogarty is one of the most interesting players in this year's draft pool. He began the season ranked highly, but could never really get his form going and he struggled throughout the under-18 championships for his state. 

Thrown around in a few positions to try to stir some confidence, eventually his season ended in July after a nagging and on-going knee injury became too much to handle and he underwent surgery. 

It ruled Fogarty out for the rest of the season, including testing at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, but he was on the road to recovery by then and did regular running sessions while other players completed tests.  

He's big, burly, bustling and has a presence about him. Fogarty won't be the type of player to win heaps of the ball at this stage of his development, but you notice most of his touches. When playing as a forward he leads directly at the ball, isn't afraid of getting players out of the way if need be, and he has sticky, strong hands. He's also a very nice long and damaging right-foot kick. 

Playing as a second or third tall forward seems to be his most likely role at AFL level to start with, but he has had stints in the midfield where he creates a bit of action and demands the ball. He's also well respected by his peers, having been voted the Ben Mitchell medallist as the leading player in the NAB AFL Academy this year.  

His inability to string together good games this year means that clubs will need to get their heads around why that was and the reasons behind it. Fogarty will also need to improve his aerobic running before he can be a midfielder at AFL level, so will need to start as a forward.  

In his bullocking and powerful manner, Fogarty shares some similarities with Jake Stringer when playing in attack.

Started the year as a real contender for the No.1 pick, but isn't in that conversation now. Fogarty has been discussed as a possible top-five selection, particularly with links to North Melbourne, and it's hard to see him getting past Adelaide at No.12.

It was a challenging season for Fogarty and that can't be completely overlooked. However, his good stuff is as exciting as anyone's. He's not the first player to have his struggles in his top-age draft season and it's easy to look ahead and see Fogarty playing some damaging footy next year.