Main content

Seven years on, new Cat finally realises his dream

Darcy Fort (right) in action for the Bulldogs in the SANFL - AFL,Geelong Cats
Darcy Fort (right) in action for the Bulldogs in the SANFL

GEELONG'S newest ruckman Darcy Fort believes his ability to play in attack was the reason behind his AFL dream being realised in his hometown, seven years after first nominating for the NAB AFL Draft.

The South Barwon and Geelong Falcons product returned home this week after stints at three state league clubs – Werribee, Footscray and most recently three years with Central District in Adelaide.

And just moments after being taken at No.68 in last week's draft, the 25-year-old had resigned from his job as a civil engineer and was on the phone to his family.

CLUB LISTS COMPARED Oldest? Youngest? Most experienced?

"Having a few free feeds from mum might help me a little it and I don't have to worry too much about the move or making friends," the 205cm Fort said. 

"I have plenty of friends and family here that will always support me, so I have probably got a bit of a leg up over the other boys.

"I'm absolutely stoked. Leading up to the draft I thought I just want to be on a list and then when they (Geelong) read my name out I was over the moon."

WHO SMASHED IT? Your club's draft verdict

Representing the SANFL in this year's state match against the WAFL, Fort returned to club radars with his ability to compete around the ground and push forward.

"It is such a big part of my game and it is probably why I have got this chance because in the last couple of years I have been able to show that I can do that at state league," Fort said. 

"The game has completely changed from when I came through as a 19-year-old.

"When I was first starting out as a ruckman it was about getting back and helping out in defence and being someone to chop out (for) the backmen."

But now the defenders are so good at chopping out themselves so ruckmen have got to be work the other way and go forward to take marks, kick goals and keep the other ruckman accountable."

Unveiled in the No.28 alongside Geelong's other nine fresh faces on Friday, Fort won't have far to turn for advice at GMHBA Stadium.

A former junior teammate of All Australian defender Tom Stewart, he also spent time playing under Geelong champion and current backline coach Matthew Scarlett.

"He was my coach for a year and I copped a couple of good sprays from him," Fort said.

"It is good to have him here and he was straight on the phone as soon as I got picked up."

Fort's arrival follows Geelong's trend of recruiting mature-age ruckmen, including Orren Stephenson (29, 2011) and Ryan Abbott (25, 2016).

And it's Abbott who Fort will be looking to knock off his perch in 2019.

Having rucked against him in the Geelong Football League when Abbott plied his trade for Grovedale, Fort also starts behind No.1 Rhys Stanley and Zac Smith in the Cats' pecking order.

"I am just going to compete and see what happens but there is not much else you can do," Fort said.

"I am not going to say that I will come in and be No.1 because those guys (Smith, Stanley and Abbott) have great AFL experience.

"I'm just going to come in and do my best and let the rest take care of itself."