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From rookie to Rising Star, Swan Jake Lloyd makes his mark

Lloyd goes from rookie to Rising Star Watch the best of round 21 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Jake Lloyd
Jake Lloyd of the Swans in action during the 2014 AFL Round 13 match between the Sydney Swans and Port Adelaide Power at the SCG, Sydney on June 14, 2014. (Photo: Anthony Pearse/AFL Media)
Jake Lloyd has earned his place in the powerful Sydney Swans side since making his debut in round five
THE SYDNEY Swans' knack of unearthing rookie draft gems has delivered the flag favourites another NAB AFL Rising Star nomination, with Jake Lloyd receiving the round 21 gong.

Lloyd produced an eye-catching display against St Kilda on Saturday, collecting 21 disposals and booting a goal in the Swans' 71-point triumph.

He also hauled-in a career best 10 marks and used the ball at an elite 90 per cent efficiency.

The Rising Star nod sees Lloyd join teammate Harry Cunningham in the running for the prestigious award.

Both wingmen started their careers in Sydney on the rookie list, but have quickly carved out spots in a strong outfit – with Lloyd paying tribute to the Swans' leaders for fast-tracking their development.

"We've certainly got great leaders at the club and great coaching staff as well that really put a lot of time and effort into the younger guys and really demand a lot out of them," Lloyd told AFL.com.au.

"Those guys are really driving us and wanting us to get the best out of ourselves."

After being overlooked in two national drafts, Lloyd doesn’t lack determination.

"Those setbacks certainly do hurt at the time but it just makes you want to prove to people that haven't shown faith in you at the start," he said.

"It's every kid's dream to play AFL football. I was always told to bide my time and play consistent football and if I was able to do that I would get an opportunity.

"The individual accolades are something that I'm pretty proud about but I'm just grateful for the opportunity I was given early in the year to be able to win this award."

Lloyd, 20, made his debut as the sub in round five against Fremantle and has played every match since.

The 180cm has impressed with his speed and endurance through midfield and in attack, and is averaging 14 disposals, four marks and three tackles in his 16 games.

With finals just around the corner, he continues to hold the likes of veteran Ryan O'Keefe and Tom Mitchell out of the side.

Although the Swans are flag favourites, Lloyd won't let himself think about adding an AFL premiers' medallion to his swag of four senior flags with hometown club Horsham and last year's Swans' reserves premiership.

"I don't look too far ahead. There's a lot of quality players in the twos and I've just got to perform each week," he said.

"Hopefully I get another opportunity this week against the Bulldogs and perform and give myself the best opportunity to play finals footy."

TAC Cup: North Ballarat Rebels
Junior club: Horsham Football and Netball Club