A season-ending knee injury dashed Sam Naismith’s 2018 campaign before it had begun, but a three-year contract extension has seen the towering ruckman put his disappointing year behind him.
The 26-year-old suffered an ACL rupture in the closing stages of Sydney’s pre-season, but he is now set to remain a Swan until at least the end of 2021.
Naismith said his contract extension had brought a big plus to 2018.
“It shows that the Club really wants me here and it’s a show of faith that they see me here long-term,” Naismith told SwansTV.
“That’s a really good incentive for me to push myself and really repay the faith.
“My pre-season’s pretty much started. I’m ready to get stuck in and hopefully when we come back I’m a few steps ahead of everyone. Then I can join in with the skills and take it from there.”
While Naismith has watched on from the sideline as the team has progressed to a ninth straight finals campaign, he says 2018 has given him the chance to develop in other areas.
Naismith has leant a helping hand to the Swans’ NEAFL side, combining forces with development coaches Tadhg Kennelly and Jeremy Laidler to help Sydney lock up second place on the ladder.
“Just helping out on game day with Tadhg Kennelly with the younger generation coming through has been great,” Naismith said.
“It’s been really beneficial to sit on the sidelines, sit in the box, help Tadhg with positioning, helping with rotations, seeing it from a different perspective.
“When you’re out on the field it’s a lot different to sitting up in the box.”
Naismith signed with the Swans at the 2013 Rookie Draft.
His load of responsibility increased when ruckman Mike Pyke hung up the boots at the completion of the 2015 season, piling up 27 games across 2016 and 2017 as he became a key fixture of the Swans’ AFL side.
After putting pen to paper to remain a Swan for a further three years, Naismith said the Club’s personnel had made his decision easy.
“The people around the Club have been great for me this year,” Naismith said.
“It’s been a tough year for me and the support that I’ve had and the friends that I’ve made here have been great.”