What is better than one Sam?
Two, of course.
Tamworth’s AFL-loving youngsters were treated to the double act as Sydney Swans duo Sam Naismith and Sam Fisher visited No.1 Oval on Tuesday.
For Naismith, a Gunnedah export, the visit brought back memories of his days playing in the region.
“I was a late starter to footy, but I can remember playing here for the Gunnedah Bulldogs,” Naismith said.
“We’re here trying to create some excitement and growth in this region when it comes to the AFL, and it’s been a great trip.”
Naismith enjoyed a breakthrough 2016, playing 12 AFL games, culminating with an appearance in Sydney’s grand final loss to the Western Bulldogs.
The tallest player to ever don the famous red and white jumper, 206cm ruckman Naismith has had a lighter pre-season after two operations.
“I played the back end of last year with no AC joint in my shoulder, so that needed operating on,” he said.
“I also had an issue with a broken finger, so that has also been fixed up.
“I trained fully for the first time on Monday and I’m hoping to be fit enough to go in round one.”
Naismith is a wonderful example to the next generation of AFL North West players that you can make it in the big time whether you’re from Tamworth or Traralgon, Gunnedah or Geelong, Armidale or Adelaide.
“I’ve been coming home for the past four or five years and noticed that footy is growing here,” he said.
“I came through the Swans academy, got an opportunity on the rookie list and seized it.
“Nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough.”
Fisher is still in the early stages of his AFL journey and at 18, the Canberra half-forward/midfielder relished the opportunity to pass on his skills to the youngsters.
“I’m still pretty fresh when it comes to these clinics, but Sam’s taken me under his wing and looked after me,” Fisher said.
“It’s been enjoyable being part of a great footy club in the Sydney Swans.”
The Swans duo was in Tamworth and Gunnedah as part of the AFL Community Camps program.