It's been a different journey to footy for Darcy Fort.

Overlooked in his draft year, Fort had to do things the hard way, spending two years in the VFL before venturing west to play with Central Districts in the SANFL for three years all while obtaining a degree in Civil Engineering.

After toiling away, Fort's hard work was rewarded in 2018 with Geelong using Pick 65 to select the 204cm ruck/forward.

The 29-year-old made up for lost time in his debut, showcasing his hybrid ability with 18 hit-outs and an impressive three goal haul against a then formidable Western Bulldogs outfit. 


But the opportunities didn't come all that frequently for Fort, with experienced players like Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs often winning out at the selection table. 

After managing eight games across his first three seasons in the competition, 'Forty' packed his bags and made the decision to move north in hopes of new opportunity. 

Fast-forward to the end of 2022 and not even Fort himself could've predicted his 18 game, 306 hit-out, nine goal season.

Speaking on his remarkable year, the tall target admitted he was just relieved to get into the AFL team. 


"I was really happy to just get in the team in the first place and thankful for that opportunity," he said.

"I just tried to play my role to be honest. We have so many talented players at the Club and my mindset was to come in and get the ball in their hands, whether that be as a ruck and giving them first use or as a forward and bringing the ball to ground."

Having never played in a final, Fort was given the sole ruck duties in the Lions historic semi-final against Melbourne after Oscar McInerney was made unavailable under concussion protocols. 

Against an imposing Max Gawn and Luke Jackson duo, the 29-year-old stood up with 29 hit-outs, 12 disposals and a crucial goal in his sides hoodoo-breaking victory.

While many players would've been shaking in their boots preparing for such a clash, Fort said it was nothing but excitement. 

"Coming into the semi, it was pure excitement," he said.

"Obviously it was my first final but I knew all I had to do was come in and play my role.

"It was a great feeling afterwards and it will certainly be something me and my family cherish for a long time but again, there were so many guys around me who made my life so much easier."

Now with the 2023 season just weeks away, Fort said his goals are simple.

"I think the teams placed really well going into 2023, we have some great additions with Dunks, Jack and Conor as well as Will and the draftees, they're super players and it takes the group to another level.

"For me, I'm just trying to match that energy that everyone else has and put my best foot forward so if that I do get the opportunity on game day, I'm ready to help the team at my best ability."