Jake Lloyd in action in 2021

Jake Lloyd in action in 2021. (Credit: Sydney Swans)

Jake Lloyd has taken advantage of the new rules this year to take his game to another level, and his leadership skills too.

Jake Lloyd and the Sydney Swans have found their form, after a strong win over the West Coast Eagles last weekend at GMHBA Stadium. Lloyd starred with 26 disposals at 88% efficiency as the Swans ran out 92 point winners.

Lloyd’s strong performance is why he has become one of the elite players of the AFL, winning the Bob Skilton Medal in 2020 as the Swans Best and Fairest. That growth has been enhanced with the new rules this year.

He’s been the only player in the competition to play on from the kickout at every opportunity this season.

“Its one advantage to the new rule, that we’re able to gain metreage out of the back half, and get the ball further away from our goals,” Lloyd explained to The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s about making the right decision with ball in hand, and that’s why I’ve got the duty to kick in and play it how it is.

“One strength of mine is my kicking, and being able to find a target, whether its long down the line, or creating some play along half-back, I’ll have a look at everything.”

With that jump into another level, he has also taken on a leadership role. He has taken some of the young Swans under his wing, and is trying to accelerate their development.

“Braeden [Campbell] is a very talented kid, and for me, as a little older and wiser head, its for me to try and fast track the likes of Braeden, and Justin McInerney, who’s gone back to play half back this week,” Lloyd said.

McInerney was the Rising Star nominee after the victory over the Eagles, his second nomination in two years.

“It’s just about helping those guys out as much as I can and bringing their game up to speed as quickly as I can, because they’re really good players, who have a lot of footy ahead of them.”

Campbell is one of the players who has come through the Swans Academy, and was involved with Sydney before he was drafted to the club. Lloyd however, did it the hard way, and was drafted from the Horsham Demons in the 2013 Rookie Draft.

He’s has always stuck true to his roots, and still identifies with those country football clubs years later. Over the last couple of years, many of those clubs in rural Australia, and particularly rural Victoria, have faced hard times.

“A lot of country clubs are struggling at the moment, due to COVID-19, and not having footy played on the weekend,” he said.

For those clubs struggling, Volkswagen has partnered with the Sydney Swans, to try and help those clubs out. Lloyd was all too happy to help explain the program, and the difference it can make to those country football clubs.

“The initiative being shown by Volkswagen, to donate $50,000 in eight separate grants, and two worth $10,000 and another six worth $5,000 is amazing,” he said.

“Anyone from any local club can nominate their footy team to win one of those grants, through the Sydney Swans website and apply for one.”

Lloyd, and the Swans aren’t just helping out local footy clubs. The Swans are fully behind a bid for an AFLW team in 2022.

“The club is really pushing to have a women’s side enter the competition next year,” Lloyd explained.

“Our girls academy has great numbers at the moment, and those kids are pushing for an opportunity.”

“We’re really looking forward to expanding the footy club in the future, and adding a women’s side, so we keep pushing for that,” he said.

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Lloyd is also focused on his play, and the team’s success for the rest of the year.

“We’ve got tough games of footy coming up, and we don’t know where we are going to be playing yet,” Lloyd said.

“There’s no point wasting our energy thinking about that, we’ll just focus on the Bulldogs this week, and try and get the job done, following up from last week’s performance.”

Jake Lloyd and the Sydney Swans play the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at Marvel Stadium at 3:20pm.

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