Calming words from Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge have assured Sam Darcy the AFL club won’t put any unrealistic expectations on their latest father-son recruit next season.
Darcy officially became a third-generation Bulldog when he was taken at pick two in the national draft on Wednesday night, after the Dogs were forced to match a bid from GWS to secure their target.
The 18-year-old key position player has a strong desire to break into the senior team in 2022 but will focus on developing his 205cm frame while learning the ropes.
The Bulldogs were patient with last year’s No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who played just five AFL games in his first season and missed out on the finals campaign.
Ugle-Hagan had to wait until round 17 to make his debut and Darcy believes the Bulldogs will take a similarly patient approach with him.
“It will definitely be one of my goals to try and play AFL footy next year but I don’t think the club will put expectations on me,” Darcy said.
“I’ll work hard and try to build some size over the summer, and I’ll have the goal to play and put my hand up.
“I had dinner with Bevo the other night and he was really great about it.
“He was saying things will work out, whatever happens.”
Darcy trained with the Bulldogs in January and jumped at the chance to meet many of the players who seemed destined to become his teammates.
He adds to a strong group of key forwards and ruckmen at Whitten Oval, led by Aaron Naughton, Josh Bruce, Tim English and Stefan Martin.
“A few of the guys have been in contact with me recently – I’ve got some nice messages,” Darcy said.
“They’ve got an unbelievable list and the club’s heading in a really great direction.
“I’m looking forward to trying to soak up as much information as I can from those leaders at the club.
“I can’t wait to get stuck into it.”
Darcy joins Mitch Wallis, Lachie Hunter, Zaine Cordy, Rhylee West and Tom Liberatore as father-son recruits at the Bulldogs.
He is the son of 226-game former Bulldogs ruckman Luke Darcy and his grandfather David Darcy, who died last year, played 133 games for the club.
“I’m sure he’d be very proud,” Darcy said.
“He’d be so stoked and I just want to represent him well and keep working hard.
“Hopefully I’ll achieve what I want to achieve.”