Fremantle's Darcy Tucker runs with the ball against Sydney in R19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE midfielder Darcy Tucker says he is running the best he has in his career as he looks to become an important cog in the Dockers' wing rotation in 2022.  

Tucker spent the majority of last pre-season away from the main group as he recovered from hamstring surgery, playing 16 games after resuming in round seven in a mix of midfield and half-back roles.  


But after a gruelling off-season running program and an uninterrupted summer program so far, the 24-year-old is keen to use his new running power on the wing and onball in 2022.   

"Coming into last year off a serious hamstring injury I was very limited in the off-season and I couldn't run … so I felt that really hindered my performance last season," Tucker said on Friday.

Darcy Tucker has eyes only for the ball during a Fremantle training session ahead of the 2022 season. Picture:

"This year I've had a full off-season doing the running program, which was a very hard program set by (high-performance manager) Phil Merriman, and I was able to get through it. 

"That really set me up for this pre-season and I feel like I'm running the best I ever have, which is allowing me to burst from stoppages and really reach high speeds as well. 

"I feel like that part of my game is really going to help me for the wing as well this year."

Tucker said there was plenty of internal competition for wing roles this summer, with Liam Henry, Nathan O'Driscoll and Blake Acres among those impressing in match simulation. 

DIFFICULT NEWS Gun Docker left 'upset' after WA border backflip 

The absence of captain Nathan Fyfe (shoulder) and veteran David Mundy (ankle) during internal trials, however, has also allowed Tucker to shine inside the contest. 

"In the match simulation so far I have been playing onball, which has been really good," he said. 

"But speaking to 'JL' (coach Justin Longmuir), I do need to have that flexibility of roles as a lot of our mids do, so working on that wing stuff and midfield craft as well.   

"When it comes time for the season, we'll see how the team flexibility goes and see where I can play. 

"I do see myself around the ball and on the wing, playing a bit of both this year."

Darcy Tucker in full flight during a Fremantle training session ahead of the 2022 season. Picture:

The Dockers trained in searing heat on Friday morning as temperatures eventually pushed towards 41 degrees, with Tucker impressed with the team's ability to handle some tough recent sessions. 

"We're ramping things up and it's probably the best time of the year when we're starting to have more match simulation and game practice," he said. 

"It's good to see we're having tough sessions and everyone's getting through it and training really well.

"We had three weeks off over Christmas, but we still got together in training groups and trained hard and really kept each other fit and accountable to each other."

Tucker reflected on the recent death of friend and former teammate Harley Balic, with the pair drafted together from Victoria in 2015. 

He described Balic as a much-loved person with a contagious smile who put a smile on everybody's faces during his time with the Dockers between 2015 and 2017. 

"I was extremely close to Harley. I knew him before he was drafted and we were drafted in the same year," Tucker said. 

"I lived with him for the first year as well, so he was like a brother to me in the first year here and it was really hard to hear. 

"I really feel for his family and close friends. I love being around him so it's really sad."