The Sydney Swans are confident highly touted first-round draft pick Matt Ling will put an injury-troubled two years behind him to add to the club's developing list in season 2020.
Ling is yet to feature for the Swans since he was recruited to the club with pick 14 at the 2017 AFL Draft, having battled significant toe and Achilles injuries.
The constant setbacks have led to a frustrating time in the AFL system for Ling, who demonstrated the excitement he could bring with his speed and outside run both in defence and on a wing for the Geelong Falcons and Vic Country in his final under-18s season.
Ling played 10 NEAFL matches last season but failed to consistently string together a series of appearances due to injury. It continued a horror run on the medical front for the 184-centimetre defender, that began with a broken toe that virtually wiped out his entire 2018 season.
However, having returned to full duties this pre-season, the Swans are hopeful Ling will work his way into the side's plans for the senior team during the upcoming campaign.
"He's been training, which is good," Sydney coach John Longmire told AFL.com.au.
"His development has been hindered because he hasn't been able to train, let alone play.
"It's so frustrating for him. He's such an even-tempered young bloke, so for him to be able to stick at it the way he has is a credit to him. He keeps upbeat, he keeps fronting up all the time and hopefully he'll get some reward for that now.
"He's back into training and he's enjoying that. He's competitive and he's a runner. We looked at that a couple of years ago, which is why we recruited him … to help us with that two-way running.
"He can play half-back or wing and he can really give us some run. He competes hard."
Ling isn't the only exciting Swan to have endured a two-year injury nightmare, with promising ruckman Sam Naismith also returning to full training this summer.
Naismith hasn't played for successive campaigns after rupturing his ACL in 2018, before dealing with a number of knee setbacks throughout a frustrating campaign last season.
However, the Swans have high hopes for the 206-centimetre big man, who is set to challenge Callum Sinclair for the club's primary ruck position throughout the early stages of the year.
"He's been training and he played a bit last week," Longmire said.
"He'll play more this week. He's back doing stuff and it's great to see.
"His ability at the centre bounces … you really notice it. He's been training and he's doing everything at the moment, which is great. Hopefully that continues on the way it's been going."