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Guard of the goals: The Knights defender who loves the contest

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Roar Rookie
29th September, 2021
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Despite an interrupted season, Darcy Wilmot and his Northern Knights teammates have been thriving throughout the fluctuating 2021 NAB league season.

Wilmot, an attacking half back flanker for the competition’s third placed side, is averaging over 15 disposals this season, embracing his role as one of his team’s most pivotal players.

After playing seven out of the Knights’ nine games, Wilmot is happy with his season so far, and felt he’d been putting together a consistent string of games before Victorian’s lockdowns returned.

“I think from the start of the season to where we are now… I feel like I’m playing pretty good footy,” he says.

The Knights’ success has been the product of a strong buy-in from the playing group, with Wilmot saying goals were set high at the beginning of the season.

“Going into the start of the year we were very focused and team cultured.

“Heaps of us boys have known each other for, like, four years.”

The star backman has been part of multiple teams this year, playing representative matches for Victoria Metro’s U-19 side, as well as making his senior debut for Montmorency in the Northern Football Netball League (NFNL).

The 17-year-old was grateful for the experience against hardened bodies and expected it to be a more contested game than what he’d become accustomed to in the NAB league.

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“In the northern area it’s always been rough and tough,” Wilmot says.

“It was good to learn the different ropes in senior footy (compared to) NAB league, and to kind of mix your game into both.”

It’s an experience that will hold him in good stead in years to come, with the backman looking to transition straight onto an AFL list in season 2022. Experts predict Wilmot to be a top-20 selection, with the young gun saying he’s “pretty comfortable” in the back six and could see himself playing a role for an AFL club next year.

Those who’ve watched Wilmot play will tell you he’s never taken a backward step in his life and embraces the contest. It’s just one his traits that have been so endearing to recruiters.

Modelling his game on Collingwood’s Jack Crisp as a dashing half back flanker, with a good balance of attack and defence, Wilmot identified a few clubs who could benefit from his services.

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“A Victorian team, probably, who I can be successful with, but also play my game and help out the team.

“Bachar Houli’s (Richmond) just retired and (Jason) Johannisen (Western Bulldogs) is getting a bit old.”

The laidback teenager even fantasised about becoming a one-two punch with emerging Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith when asked what AFL clubs would suit him best.

“The dynamic duo… at the Bulldogs, you know Bailey Smith through the midfield, connection through Darcy Wilmot, kicks a ripper of a goal,” he said.

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It’s this confidence in his own ability that has clubs eager to snatch one of the most highly touted medium-sized defenders in this year’s draft crop, with the potential to transition through the midfield as well.

“I’ve had some talks with clubs to later on in the year develop into an inside mid.

“I feel pretty good about my form this year.”

Wilmot’s name was among a privileged group of youngsters when the draft combine invite list was announced on August 25, another step in the right direction for the defender’s draft prospects.

He’ll find out his fate in just a few short months, with the promising Northern Knights product sure to play a key role for an AFL side in the not-so-distant future.

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