AFTER doing things the hard way to reach the AFL Horsham’s Jake Lloyd has become a key cog in the Sydney Swans game plan.
The hard-working midfielder has been busy putting together another consistent year at the club to average just under 28 possession a game.
“I feel like I’ve been playing good consistent footy for most of the season,” he said.
“The start of the season was unfamiliar territory for a lot of players at the club but we have managed to turn things around.”
After playing off in the 2016 grand final the Swans lost their first six games this season.
Lloyd said the team went back to basics to basics to get things back on track.
The side is now in the top-eight having won eight of its past nine games.
“I couldn’t afford to get down on myself because of the team’s form when I was still playing well,” he said.
“I had to focus on continuing to do my job and helping to lift the players around me.”
After being taken by the Swans at pick 16 in the 2012 rookie draft Lloyd spent a year playing with Sydney’s reserves side in the North East Australian Football League before his 2013 debut.
He said the time spent playing junior and senior football in the Wimmera for the Horsham Demon’s set him up well to make the jump to the top level.
“Stuart Farr gave me my first chance at senior level when I was just 15,” he said.
“Getting that experience against seasoned bodies early on meant I was better prepared to take the step up.
“Coming up to Sydney I still had to earn my spot in the team by playing in the NEAFL but I’m really enjoying it up here.”
On the field he enjoys playing with a good group of players but he said the weather was also bonus.
“The climate is so great up here and Sydney has some of the best beaches in the world,” he said.
“It’s also a proud club the team has had plenty of recent success and hopefully I can be part of more success in the future.”
With 84 games under his belt Lloyd feels more comfortable at senior level now than ever before and said he would love to take on a leadership role in the future.
“It’s not something I’ve really thought about though,” he said.
“I’m still focused on improving my own game.”
Lloyd still keeps updated on the Horsham Demons, especially with brothers Billy and Matty involved at senior level. He said it would be dream if Matty could join him at Sydney in a couple of years time.
“He’s still got a lot of work to do though as a bottom age player in the TAC cup,” he said.
“If he can keep level-headed then hopefully he can get an opportunity at the next level.”
Lloyd could not explain why so many Wimmera players were now making the grade at senior level but said he enjoyed coming across Seb Ross on field.
“We played a lot of footy and basketball together growing up,” he said.
“I’m rapt to see him playing so well.
“It’s always good to lay a big tackle or bump on him when we play against each other before catching up after the game.”