Coming off a commanding summer on the training track, the reliable defender appeared primed to make an impact in midfield in 2021 and started the season in encouraging form in an engine room missing Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey.
Duggan collected a career-best 36 touches in the round five triumph over Collingwood, but just three weeks later he was sent for a clean-up operation on his knee and missed the next five games.
While he returned for the epic round 13 win over Richmond, the 24-year-old had some ongoing issues and seven matches into his comeback Duggan’s season was shut down when he was sent for significant posterior cruciate ligament surgery that will keep him in a brace for several months.
While it was a disappointing end to his season, the silver lining for Duggan is that he will hopefully put his lingering knee issues behind him and be ready to play again by the time pre-season matches come around.
Billed as a future leader of the club, Duggan also re-signed this week for an additional three years, which will take him through until the end of his 10th season as an Eagle in 2024.
Standout performance: A glimpse into the future?
The Eagles have flirted with the idea of using Duggan in the middle throughout his time at the club after drafting him as an onballer, and in his seventh season opportunity opened up for the trusty left-footer through injuries to several stars.
Unfortunately, Duggan couldn’t remain fully fit, but his round five performance against the Magpies showed what he is capable of.
Running rampant against a strong opposition onball brigade, Duggan picked up career-bests for disposals (36), kicks (29), marks (13), metres gained (751) and AFL Fantasy points (148).
Where his future main position lies is up for debate - and he could swing between defence and the engine room for a large part of his career to come - but there is no doubt he has the capability of making an impact in the midfield.
Disposals – 18.9
Pressure Acts – 14.9
Marks – 6.7
Contested Possessions – 5.1
Score Involvements – 3.1