In August last year Aaron Sandilands signed a one year deal to play on for a remarkable 17th AFL season with Fremantle.
Sandilands has an impressive playing CV from his 265 games at AFL level that includes multiple Best & Fairest honours and four All-Australian selections.
Originally drafted as a rookie, the ruckman has forged a career as one of the most influential big men in the game for over a decade. Injury however has derailed output the last three seasons with the Western Australian restricted to only 26 games during this time frame.
The ruckman celebrated his 36th birthday last week and will enter the 2019 season as one of the oldest players in the competition.
The trade period
Fremantle was an active participant in the trade period at the end of the season. Which saw the arrivals of Jesse Hogan, Reece Conca and Travis Colyer.
One of the most important acquisitions however was Rory Lobb from GWS who can play both ruck and forward.
While Lobb has acknowledged he sees himself primarily as a forward, he will spend time in ruck. And at 25 years of age the former Giant should have his best football still ahead of him.
The Dockers also have Lloyd Meek and Scott Jones on their list. The latter contracted for next season having played five games in 2018.
The heir apparent
In 2018 it was Sean Darcy who finished the year with the main ruck duties. The 20 year-old playing seven of the last eight games of the season.
Drafted with pick 38 in the 2016 draft from the Geelong Falcons, the Victorian is highly rated by Ross Lyon. He recently signed a 2 year contract extension tying him to the club until the end of 2022.
Fremantle football manager Peter Bell obviously delighted with the deal.
“It’s safe to say we’ve been spoiled by the contribution of Aaron Sandilands for almost two decades. And while we expect that to continue, having Sean sign on means we can head into the future with confidence.”
Ross Lyon will be hoping Aaron Sandilands can still play a significant role next season. But worst case scenario, if injury and age catch up with the veteran, the Dockers are well placed to cover his absence next year and beyond.