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INJURY-plagued West Coast recruit Nathan Vardy has never been more confident in his body and hopes a fresh start in Perth will revitalise his career.
The former Cat was let go to the Eagles on the final day of the NAB AFL Trade Period in an exchange for pick No.72, and will help fill the massive ruck void left by star Nic Naitanui after his ACL reconstruction.
With back-up big man Scott Lycett also undergoing a PCL repair and racing the clock for round one, securing Vardy was West Coast's priority during the trade period.
Although the 199cm ruck-forward has fought his own injury battles, managing just 25 games in six seasons at Geelong, he believes his wretched run with knee and hip problems is behind him.
"All up with NAB Challenge, VFL and AFL games, it was about 19 games (I played this year), so I think definitely my body has turned the corner," Vardy told 6PR from holidays in Bali.
"I've obviously put a lot of work into it, trying to get my injuries right and this year had the most confidence in it that I have, which was very pleasing.
"But I just couldn't put that into playing form this year, which was probably the frustrating part and hopefully a fresh start and a fresh set of eyes over my body and my football is just what I need."
Vardy was coming off a knee reconstruction two years ago when the Cats brought in versatile big men Mitch Clark (Melbourne) and Rhys Stanley (St Kilda), and he tumbled further down the pecking order when Zac Smith arrived from Gold Coast this season.
The talented 25-year-old only made one AFL appearance in round six and said leaving Geelong had "been coming about for a little while".
Searching for a new home, Vardy met with Eagles officials the day before the Grand Final and flew to Perth the next week for a medical, which raised no "red flags".
Despite interest from several rival clubs, including Port Adelaide, he saw West Coast as the best fit in the short and long term.
While Naitanui, 26, and Lycett, 24, both have lengthy careers ahead of them, there is a gap in the Eagles' attacking setup for a marking forward who can also switch into the ruck.
"They were looking for someone to come over for that (ruck) role, but in saying that, they feel like their forwards are mostly just forwards and they'd like to get someone in there who can play that ruck-forward role," Vardy said.
"So once those guys (Naitanui and Lycett) do come back, there will still be a spot for me somewhere.
"That's where I think I play my best football is when I'm playing forward and going into the ruck, so that was pretty appealing to me, and just the chance to work with some of the players they've got over there and also Dean Cox in his role (as ruck and stoppages coach).
"He's a champion of the game and being able to have him mentor me and help mould my football is very appealing."