AFTER recovering from off-season shoulder and ankle operations, Tom Boyd says he's ready to build on his starring role in the Western Bulldogs' fairytale premiership triumph.
Much maligned during his first two seasons at Whitten Oval, the high-priced key forward has gained plenty of confidence from his September heroics and expects to play in the early rounds of the JLT Community Series.
The 21-year-old's breakout game in the 22-point Grand Final win over the Sydney Swans was threatened by a shoulder concern he managed from the mid-point of last season.
"(The shoulder) is feeling better than ever now that I've had the reconstruction done and I can't wait to get back into games," told Seven News.
"(Surgeon) Greg Hoy did a terrific job, and to the medical staff's credit they really looked after me last year and got me through until the end (of the season), which was a significant challenge."
After enduring constant scrutiny in his first two seasons at Whitten Oval due to his huge salary and modest form, Boyd went a long way to silencing his critics with a finish to the season he believes matured him as a player.
The No.1 draft pick's performances up forward were complemented by stints in the ruck, a role he expects to reprise in the club's premiership defence.
"I think the whole back end of the year was a real growing experience for me and I felt more and more comfortable out on the field," Boyd.
"I take great confidence in how I finished the year."
While he's only watched a replay of the Grand Final once, Boyd looks back fondly on the last of his three goals, where a fortuitous bounce in the dying minutes all but broke the club's 62-year premiership drought.
"I was surprised (the ball) sat up like that, but that's footy because we play with an oval ball and that's the fickle nature of the sport," Boyd said.
"I was fairly excited about the initial moment, but Liam Picken got over to me pretty quick.
"He said 'just focus, because we've got a little bit of time to go'."
The task of replicating his September feats on a more regular basis in 2017 will be made easier by the arrival of Travis Cloke, and the return of Stewart Crameri from a year-long doping ban.
Boyd says the former Magpie has fitted in "seamlessly", and he's looking forward to forming an imposing partnership with the two-time All Australian.
"Trav has slotted into the club extremely well and he's a terrific guy," Boyd said.
"It's really nice have another big body (up forward), and with Stewart Crameri back as well, it's an exciting time."
Tom Boyd celebrates his vital last-quarter goal in the 2016 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos