FORMER Horsham footballer Jake Lloyd has received the AFL Rising Star Award nomination for round 21 after another strong performance for premiership favourite Sydney.
Lloyd, 20, had 21 disposals, 10 marks, seven tackles and kicked a goal as the Swans thrashed
St Kilda by 71 points at the SCG on Saturday.
It was the Wimmera export’s 16th consecutive game – 15 of which have been wins – since being promoted from the Swans’ rookie list and making his AFL debut in round five against Fremantle.
Lloyd said it was rewarding to receive the award nomination.
“The individual accolade is something I’m pretty happy about,” he said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity I got at the start of the year.
“We’ve had a few injuries and I’ve been able to string a few games together, which is good.
“When I got that opportunity I just wanted to cement my spot.”
Lloyd has been able to do just that, averaging more than 14 disposals a game this season despite starting as the Swans’ substitute in a handful of matches.
The hard-running utility has been influential in a number of games, kicking a sealing goal against Port Adelaide in round 20 and collecting a career-high 29 possessions against Brisbane Lions in round seven.
The Swans, who sit on top of the AFL ladder, will face the Western Bulldogs and Richmond ahead of a qualifying final in three weeks’ time.
Lloyd said he and the star-studded Swans line-up would take each game as it came.
“It’s obviously exciting,” he said.
“We know we’re going to play finals footy but it’s all about the Bulldogs this week.
“It’s another opportunity for myself to cement a spot come finals and hopefully get a crack at finals footy in the next couple of weeks.”
Lloyd said he believed maintaining his training standards and not putting too much pressure on himself had been important to his success at AFL level this season.
He had been overlooked at two national drafts before the Swans selected him with pick 15 in the 2013 Rookie Draft.
After dominating last year in the NEAFL for the Swans’ reserves – averaging 28 disposals and earning selection in the competition’s team of the year – Lloyd has gone from strength to strength.
He said his advice to any Wimmera footballers aspiring to play football at the highest level was to be persistent.
“It didn’t happen easy for me,” Lloyd said.
“It’s all about never giving up and if you’ve got a dream, chase it.
“It doesn’t matter what other people say and think – if you work hard enough the results will come.”