LATE-blooming backman Sam Reid is a prime example of how GWS’ push for a maiden AFL premiership has both substance and style.
Nothing has come easy for the thrice-drafted Reid, who has dealt with Type 1 diabetes and plenty of injury setbacks during a 75-game career that started in 2008.
Reid even acted as his own manager while brokering one-year playing contracts for 2016 and 2017, having retired in 2013 then refreshed body and mind while spending two years as part of the Giants’ coaching staff.
The 29-year-old, gearing up for a potential battle with Adelaide’s Tom Lynch on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval, is now enjoying an extended run of career-best form and fitness.
“He’s just improved,” coach Leon Cameron said.
“His last 10 years … it’s an extraordinary story. You take your hat off, his perseverance is fantastic.”
Reid is one of 11 players to have featured in every game this season for second- placed GWS.
The unsung hero, who shut down Gold Coast’s leading goal-kicker Alex Sexton last Saturday, has bucked conventional wisdom by making dramatic improvements at an age when many footballers start to slow down.
“This year is definitely the best football I’ve played,” Reid told AAP.
“I’ve gotten quicker, which shouldn’t happen as you get older.
“I’m playing 90 per cent game time and full quarters.
“The coaches have confidence in me to play a big role on a dangerous forward every week and that gives me more confidence.”
There is no single reason for the development of Reid, who is expecting his first child with wife Elissa later this year.
The utility – previously deployed as a midfielder, tagger, winger, forward and backman – has settled as a defender in 2019 and feels that has played a part.
Reid turned up to some games in 2018 not knowing what his role would be, whereas now Cameron regards him as a go-to defender who “likes to grind his opponent down”.
Completing a full pre-season in 2018 and 2019, a luxury Reid never enjoyed during the first phase of his career, has obviously helped.
Especially when he found himself manning the likes of Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene during intra-squad games.
“I spoke to Leon throughout the pre-season about how I wanted to be our hardest player to play on,” Reid said.
“I tried to play on Toby whenever possible. We ripped into each other, I kept him on his toes and vice versa … there was a bit of lip.
“We both hate getting beaten, hate losing.”
© AAP 2019