With football just around the corner in the form of the SUNS’ opening NAB Challenge game against the Brisbane Lions at Moreton Bay on February 21st, match simulation training has been ramping up at Metricon Stadium.
Running alongside the likes of dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett and ball magnet Dion Prestia in these drills has been a surreal experience for Darcy MacPherson with the rookie soaking up every ounce of knowledge he possibly can from some of the game’s elite midfielders.
“It’s awesome. You see them on TV and Gary Ablett, the greatest of all time, it’s just amazing to train with someone so good,” MacPherson told SUNS TV.
“Just learning a lot off how he goes about it. It’s a thrill to learn off the best player.”
Since commencing at the SUNS in December last year, MacPherson has been hard at work dotting his i's and crossing his t’s, ensuring every box is ticked as he looks to impress his coaches and peers on the training track.
SUNS TV: Darcy MacPherson
In less than three months, the 18-year old has loaded on close to several kilograms of muscle in the gym and increased his fitness considerably.
“I’ve put on 6.6 kilos of lean muscle so that’s a big tick,” he said.
“I felt like I’ve got fitter. I did a 2k time trial back from the break and ran a pretty solid time.
“Haven’t done one since then but I feel really fit on the track. I’m eating healthy, everything’s going well.”
MacPherson is under no illusions when it comes to gaining a senior opportunity. As a rookie-listed player, the Northern Knights product will need to rely on a senior player being placed on the long-term injury list and strong form in the reserves and at training to be any chance to be elevated to the primary list.
But Pick No. 20 in November’s rookie draft will do everything in his power to put his hand up, starting at this Saturday’s Open Day intraclub match at the home of the Gold Coast SUNS.
“We’ve got the Open Day intraclub match this week so gotta give everything I’ve got to show the coaches what I’m made of and then hopefully get a run in NAB Cup and see how I go there," he said.
“It would be a dream come true (to play senior footy).
“Just getting a gig playing in front of a big crowd would just be awesome.
“I’d just play my role and do the best I can to help the team win.”