Darcy Wilmot in action during the R6 match between Brisbane and Geelong at the Gabba on April 20, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

DARCY Wilmot is a young man who marches to the beat of his own drum.

When Brisbane travels, the 20-year-old is happy to cart his own pillow around airports and hotels to ensure a good night's sleep. No matter what ribbing he gets from teammates.

He'll eat cheap fried rice before an away game.

Wilmot bought his first house this year., yet unlike most Lions that live in Brisbane's inner east, he headed to the leafy west, closer to the club's training facility in Springfield and at least 15 minutes from any teammate.

"I've always been like that, just do my own thing," Wilmot told AFL.com.au.

"I'm not really one to follow people."

Darcy Wilmot handballs during the R4 match between Brisbane and North Melbourne at Norwood Oval on April 5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Yet, he's like a magnet, popular among his peers, both young and old. The coaching staff love him, and it's little wonder.

Since starring in his 2022 elimination final debut against Richmond, Wilmot has not missed a game, playing 42 straight ahead of Saturday's trip to Adelaide Oval to face Port.

And in 2024 he has made the half-back position his own, averaging 20 disposals and demonstrating a great combination of attacking flair with defensive desperation.

Darcy Wilmot tackles Dylan Moore during the R11 match between Brisbane and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium on May 26, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

He has been one of Brisbane's most dependable players.

"Consistency is something I value and if I can be consistent and be at the top of my performance each week, I'll know I'm helping the team out," he said.

Developing that consistency has come through trial and error.

After being taken with the 16th pick in the 2021 AFL Draft, Wilmot – the youngest in his draft pool having been born on December 31 – had to bide his time in the VFL during his first season with Brisbane.

Darcy Wilmot at Marvel Stadium after being drafted by Brisbane in November 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

It gave him a chance to see what worked, and what didn't.

"Fried rice obviously worked," he joked.

"Getting into a good headspace … I just make sure I'm happy and have a clear head.

"I'm not superstitious, it's more OCD with certain things. 

"With footy, I try and keep it as simple as I can. But the radio has to be an even number. I can't have an odd number. Everyone knows that gets to me."

Same goes for the pillow. It's now a must-have on away trips.

"I think people get embarrassed to take it with them. I don't know if they want to be seen walking around with a pillow, but I don't care," he said.

"I'd rather have comfort over a bad sleep at the hotel.

"A lot of the boys respect it because they know pillows can be uncomfortable. It's all fun and games – I sleep happy."

Darcy Wilmot celebrates with fans after the qualifying final between Brisbane and Port Adelaide at the Gabba on September 9, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Wilmot made his debut in the highest pressured environment and immediately looked right at home.

He was safe and sound against the Tigers, and after receiving a 50m penalty in the second quarter, showed nerves of steel to calmly slot his first career goal.

Brisbane knew it had a player for the long haul.


"The energy comes from the feeling that I want to do it," Wilmot said.

"I'm a very expressive person. If I'm in a good mood, I'll just show it. The boys get around it. Sometimes I can be over the top and they'll tell me to pull my head in."

His energy is juxtaposed with old school values. Buying a house early in his career was a goal, a "hobby" as he put it. And it didn't matter how far away from his teammates.

"I'm in my third year now and I came in with some good savings," Wilmot said.

"It was just being wise with my money and investing in a good way.

"For me, it was more about what I liked, the position of where I wanted to go. I didn't really factor in where the boys live, I don't care about that.

"I've always been around older people.

"I get my silly, immature side from my mates, but aside from that I'm around older people all the time, so I think I'm starting to get that really nice balance of when's the right time to do things and then when's the right time to be mature."


Co-captain Harris Andrews said his young backline teammate had bought so much value to the club in his two-plus years.

"His ability to be offensively driven and get the ball moving is fantastic, but also defensively at the back of a stoppage, he's great at getting a hand in and turning balls over there so we can go the other way and score," Andrews said.

"He's great fun. He can be a bit of a pest at times. Sometimes he does things and you're wondering why he does it, but we absolutely love playing with him and think he's got a really, really bright future here."

And for Wilmot, that future means constantly improving.

"I'm always trying to get as good as I can get," he said.

"That will always be my drive. Being good isn't good enough. Each year I want to get better, each game I want to get better.

"Hopefully at the end of my career I can say each game I got better. Let's see how far I can go."