THE SYDNEY Swans’ great surprise packet of the 2014 season, Jake Lloyd, is ready to lock down a midfield spot after signing on with the club for the next two seasons.
The 21-year-old played 21 consecutive games last year, including the Grand Final, after being elevated from the rookie list to make his debut in round five against Fremantle.
Lloyd told AFL.com.au he was excited by the chance to build on such foundations and hopes to extend his role by "having a crack in the midfield".
"Hopefully I can continue to repay the faith that they (the Swans) have shown in me by playing good football going forward," Lloyd said.
His first step is to consolidate his position on the wing as he admits he never felt as though he had cemented his spot in the side last year.
"[There] were a lot of quality players in and out of the side missing through injury or playing good football through the reserves," Lloyd said. "If I didn't play great football in the seniors there were other guys stepping up in the reserves."
Lloyd earned a NAB Rising Star nomination after round 21 and won plaudits for his work ethic and determination. He only made his way to the rookie list after being overlooked in two drafts.
He averaged 15 disposals a game last year, tackled hard and kicked eight goals.
Although a disappointing Grand Final result was a bitter pill for Lloyd to swallow, he says the Swans were moving forward and trying to get better.
"It hurts a lot but [you have to] move on and try to put it in the back of your mind and use it for motivation for this year," Lloyd said.
Playing in a losing Grand Final was a rare experience for Lloyd who played in the Swans' reserves grade premiership in 2013 and was part of four premierships in his hometown of Horsham in western Victoria.
He said captain Jarrad McVeigh has provided enormous support on and off the field, continuing the clear direction Lloyd received from coaches when developing his game.
"[He] always gave me very clear instructions on what to do when I was bit stuck," Lloyd said.
Swans football manager Tom Harley said the club was pleased Lloyd had signed on for two years.
"This time last year, Jake was one of the young players who really stepped up from the rookie list and was able to go on and have a big impact at senior level," Harley said.
"Over the off-season, he has been upgraded to the senior list and we hope he can take another step up in 2015."
The Swans have a great record developing their rookies with premiership players Brett Kirk, Tadhg Kennelly, Nick Smith, Mike Pyke and Kieren Jack and emerging youngsters Lloyd, Harry Cunningham and Dane Rampe all former rookies.