FOR THREE years, Darcy Fort played second – and sometimes third and fourth – fiddle in the ruck department at Geelong.
He managed just eight senior games for the Cats after being taken as a mature-age draftee in 2018, stuck behind Rhys Stanley, Zac Smith, Ryan Abbott, Mark Blicavs and Esava Ratugolea.
But in a Friday night blockbuster at GMHBA Stadium, Fort gets a chance to show the Cats his true value for his new club Brisbane.
Not only will Fort face his old side for the first time, but the 28-year-old will also take on a larger responsibility for the Lions in the absence of suspended sidekick Oscar McInerney.
Fort has fitted in seamlessly since being traded last October, splitting time with McInerney in the opening three rounds and proving a dangerous target inside 50.
He's quickly become a crucial cog in Brisbane's unbeaten start.
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Quietly spoken and standing an imposing 205cm, Fort says he has no extra motivation playing Geelong.
"It's just a good opportunity to go against a guy who I've rucked against in the past few years and hoping to have a good, solid contest with Rhys," Fort told AFL.com.au.
"We've had some good battles at training over the years.
"He's really athletic and uses his strengths well. I'll have to go in there and be really physical and see how we go.
"I don't have any animosity to Rhys, he was a big part in my development over the past few years."
Fort has averaged 10 disposals, including two clearances, 14 hitouts and kicked three goals in victories over Port Adelaide, Essendon and North Melbourne.
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He will play in front of family and friends and said going back to familiar surroundings would have its advantages.
"It's handy for me knowing how to play GMHBA Stadium and knowing how Geelong is going to play there," he said.
"It's a really tight ground, which makes it a really hard ground for other teams to come in and move the ball.
"We've got a real experienced team though.
"If we can keep it in the middle and keep the ball going north-south, you put yourself in good stead.
"I think it's going to be a great contest. Both teams value the contest, good match-ups at either end, so it should be really exciting."
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Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said he was confident Fort could stand up to the extra workload, with youngster Tom Fullarton coming in to replace McInerney and play a secondary role.
"The one thing we know about Geelong is you can't compete with them unless you compete at clearance and contested ball," Fagan said.
"It's the big battle. We like to think we can improve on what we did last week."