FULLY fit and with some muscle added to his slight frame, Tom Scully is settled in Sydney and growing in confidence as he strives to take a big step forward in his young career.
Following a controversial, highly publicised move from Melbourne Football Club to Greater Western Sydney, Scully then endured a somewhat subdued first year with the Giants.
He averaged just over 20 disposals across 19 games, but ultimately lacked the attention afforded to some eye-catching rookie teammates such as Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene.
The ongoing saga over high profile Giant Israel Folau's foray into, and eventually out of, the AFL also stole many of the headlines.
It allowed the No.1 pick in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft to quietly go about his business as he developed his game filling a variety of assignments, including an unfamiliar run-with role.
Now, at the age of 21 and with 50 games under his belt, the Giants have noticed a change in Scully's demeanour as he tries to fulfil the expectations that come with a hefty, long-term contract and being a No.1 pick.
"His composure in training, his leadership, his direction, his status in the group, has really gone to another level in comparison to last year's pre-season," Al McConnell, GWS' head of development, told AFL.com.au.
"He's training with a real composure and a belief he can take his game to another level.
"I think our whole group has improved, which is clear along a whole range of parameters – obviously physically, skills – but in Tom's case it's more in terms of his composure and the way he carries himself.
"It's been very evident and very positive. He just has a greater air of confidence about him."
A knee injury limited Scully to 10 games in his second and final year with the Demons and also interrupted his first pre-season as a Giant.
But the knee is no longer an issue and he is encouraged by his debut campaign with the AFL's newest team.
"Certainly it was a big year on and off the field," Scully said.
"But I feel really comfortable here now. Looking back last year I was able to play 19 games.
"I looked at that as a bonus from the previous year, when I only played 10.
"From the outside people saw that we only won two games, but we genuinely think we made some big inroads and there were some encouraging signs.
"Obviously we've got a long way to go, but this year is going to be exciting."
The former Dandenong Stingray has added about three kilograms of muscle and is finding a balance between getting stronger and still maintaining his running ability.
A young man who prefers to lead by example rather than with words, Scully is also keen to develop his leadership skills.
"I'm coming into my fourth year and a lot of guys here are in their first or second year," he said.
"There's a lot of real talent here and I want to help get the best out of everyone and keep pushing each other to really get where we need to go.
"It's an area I've been focusing on and working with the coaches to try and improve that area in my game."
James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD
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