Following a season where the Sydney Swans finished equal fourth with 15 wins, a proud Jake Lloyd says he is looking forward to the next few years with plenty of the young squad showing positive signs this season.
Reflecting on the year, Lloyd had a positive outlook on the future, pinpointing “a lot of good things” to come out of the year.
Forced into a hub outside of NSW for the second year in a row, Lloyd said the side’s ability to return to the Finals for the first time in two seasons was a good achievement for it’s young and developing squad.
“It was a unique experience this year with the group, but I am super proud of the boys,” Lloyd said.
“The efforts from finishing 16th last year, to bouncing back, being equal top fourth and making finals again, it was a pretty good achievement.
“Although we fell short against the Giants, which was really disappointing, if we reflect on the year itself, we have had a lot of good things come out of it and it holds us in good stead for the next couple of years.”
Sydney youngsters Errol Gulden, Braeden Campbell and Chad Warner received plenty of praise early as the club started it’s year with three Rising Star nominations.
Lloyd pinpointed the strong performances of Nick Blakey and Justin McInerney in the back half of the season were equally impressive.
“Our entire group have been really impressive. Our young guys have really stood up, Nick Blakey really turned his season around from the halfway point, Justin McInerney’s year in the way he was in the midfield and come down back to try and fill a spot there, he really relished in that position,” Lloyd said.
“Everyone really stood up and took their opportunity this year and hopefully we can do it again this year.
“The growth in this group, the jumps we made from this year to last year were so significant, and if we can add another 5-10% to that next year, it is going to be great for our fans and supporters to really watch us a group next year and I’m really excited for it.”
On a personal note, Lloyd had another strong season, continuing on from the strong form that saw him voted as the 2020 Bob Skilton Medallist.
This season, he claimed the Adam Goodes Trophy for second place behind Luke Parker in the medal vote.
He played in all games bar one, finishing with a career-high average of 27.9 disposals, 18.4 kicks, 9.5 handballs, 5.6 marks, 1.8 tackles and 476.7 meters gained on average from his 22 games this season.
The 28-year-old brought his career tally to 176 games after debuting in 2014.
However rather that focus on his own accolades and strong personal season, the defender turned his focus to the entire side and the resilience shown throughout the year.
He highlighted the Sydney Swans Round 18 victory over GWS, with the side facing plenty of adversity and disruption in the lead up, as his highlight of the year.
“I think the whole hub experience, and how we dealt with that, along with the omission of Millsy, Harry, Colin and that game on the Gold Coast against the Giants,” Lloyd said of his season highlight.
“It was flipped on it’s head just before we were about to run out and play.
“Just the way the boys rallied with the new guys coming in, we were down at half time, and the way we came back to win that game was pretty special.”