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Swans re-sign young gun before senior debut

Draftee Ryley Stoddart has signed a one-year contract extension with the Swans - Sydney Swans,AFL,Ryley Stoddart,Contracts
Draftee Ryley Stoddart has signed a one-year contract extension with the Swans

EXCITING Sydney draftee Ryley Stoddart has signed a one-year contract extension with the club just eight games into his debut season.

Stoddart, who is yet to play a senior game and won't turn 19 until October, is now locked in at the Swans until at least the end of 2020.

The Eastern Ranges product told AFL.com.au he's already learnt plenty from his mentor at the club, former co-captain and star defender Jarrad McVeigh, as well as his other established teammates.  

"The guy has so much experience and knows more about the game than anyone I know, so I couldn't ask for a better guy to be paired with," he said.  

"I also speak with Dan Hannebery a bit and he's been really good with ensuring I keep my standards high.  

"It's the same with Nick Smith in terms of my defensive stuff, he's really open to questions and has been huge in helping me with my one-on-one defending.  

"The whole club has been unbelievable since I arrived here, and I couldn't be happier."  

Stoddart was impressive during this year's JLT Community Series where his speed and ball use stood out on the wing, but coach John Longmire has earmarked the youngster for a spot across half-back.  

He was heavily considered for a round one debut but was overlooked when, ironically, McVeigh recovered from a pre-season calf injury to be shock inclusion in the team that travelled to West Coast.

A back injury then ruined Stoddart's chances of senior call-up early in the season.

"I backed into a pack against the Giants in a scratch match and copped a knee in the back, so that was pretty sore for a couple of weeks," he said.  

"That'll teach me for trying to help out the boys."  

The young left-footer has shown some recent form in the NEAFL, without being dominant, and a debut might not be far away after he was named as an emergency for the Swans' clash with Fremantle on Saturday night.  

Stoddart said NEAFL boss Tadhg Kennelly has been instrumental in developing his confidence playing in the back half, along with fellow former defenders Rhyce Shaw and Jeremy Laidler.  

"All three of them have played the same role as me so having them to talk too has been so good," he said.