Key personnel: Kurt Tippett, Buddy Franklin and Sam Reid. Photo: Wolter PeetersSam Reid has been told by Jarrad McVeigh don’t be afraid to leap over Sydney’s million-dollar twin towers.
After spending much of the first half of the season working around the Swans’ superstar forwards, Reid says he is now working with them.
It is a subtle change but one which has brought pronounced results for Reid, 22, who had been billed as the Swans’ great forward hope before the arrival of the pair dubbed the Bondi millionaires, Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
While the combination of Franklin and Tippett delivered results almost instantly, Reid said it had taken him longer to learn how to fit into the Swans’ star-studded forward line.
“It was more trying to figure out where to slot in with those guys and not necessarily working around them but with them,” Reid said.
“They’re two pretty big names and they’re really talented. It was always going to take a while to gel with two completely new guys in the team.
“I was more so waiting to see what they were going to do. We’re starting to work well together now.”
McVeigh had a suspicion Reid may have been slightly daunted by Franklin and Tippett.
“At the start of the year, he was probably trying to fit around Bud, Goodes and Tippett but now he’s taking the game on,” McVeigh said.
“I think he knew his role but he was just a little bit intimidated by those guys, I’m not too sure.
“But we’ve said to him we love the way he attacks his footy and goes for his grabs. If they’re there, fly over the top, because he’s a super mark.”
It is clear Reid has heeded the advice as his high marking gave Carlton’s defence plenty of headaches in his last game before the Swans’ bye.
His four-goal performance caught the eye of both coaches, who gave him votes in the AFL Coaches’ Association Player of the Year award.
Also notable was Reid’s new confidence in front of goal. Reid said he was not the most reliable kicker early in his career, but he has improved since nailing down a routine with the help of the Swans’ kicking coach Ben Moore, Nick Davis and Henry Playfair.
After a wayward 22.26 in 2011, Reid now has a 65 per cent accuracy rate. In fact, he is on a streak of eight goals without a behind.
“It wasn’t an overnight fix, it wasn’t like this year it’s just come along and I’ve started kicking goals. It’s something I’ve worked on since day one when I got here,” Reid said.
“I did a lot of work in the past two or three years getting a comfortable routine down pat and transitioning it into games.
“It’s pretty basic. Keeping my body straight, getting a fluent run-up and following through with the kick. It sounds easy but it takes practice and I needed to do it over and over again to get that repetition happening to do it in games.”
Reid is enjoying his new role in the Swans team. No longer is he the young key forward being doubled-teamed by opposition back lines, he now has a wider brief, playing at both ends of the ground with the odd stint in the ruck to relieve Mike Pyke.
The floating role seems a neat fit for Reid, whose long reach, strong running and discipline has been hailed by coach John Longmire.
Reid said he had enjoyed his time in the ruck, even if his frame is better suited to the high jump.
“At the centre bounces, I’ve had a few blokes jump at my head. I’ve enjoyed the role – just being able to run around a bit and get on the move,” Reid said.
“It’s something that can work to my advantage if we get a big lumbering ruckman from the other side. It doesn’t hurt having someone with a bit more running ability to blow up their ruckman a bit and give Pykey a hand when he needs it.”
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