Sam Reid has put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension as the defender adds another chapter to his remarkable football story.
After joining the GIANTS from the Western Bulldogs as an uncontracted player in 2011, Reid has since retired, been re-drafted as a rookie, delisted and then re-rookied twice.
Now in his 10th season in the AFL, the 29-year-old is enjoying his most consistent season yet and has not missed a game.
To say Reid is pleased about the new contract is an understatement.
“Obviously it feels pretty good, I’ve been through some shit,” he said with a laugh.
“To play the football I have this year and have the confidence in myself, and from my teammates and coaches has been good.”
Reid’s journey has been far from easy, with the Queenslander happy to own the multiple delistings and his unique record for longest time taken to reach 50 games.
“It’s excited to sign on and be here again,” he said.
“I retired in 2014 and I thought I wouldn’t get back and now I’m in a stint where I really want to get to that 100-game mark which I never really thought I would with the injuries, retirements and delistings that I’ve had.”
For former Western Bulldogs and GIANTS teammate, turned Player Welfare Manager Dylan Addison, Reid’s journey is one he’s watched closely.
After being drafted by the Western Bulldogs with pick 35 in the 2007 Draft, Reid lived with Dylan Addison.
“When he got drafted, he moved in and lived with us for the first part of his career,” Addison recalls.
“He was just a young bloke from Queensland and with me being from New South Wales we had a bit of banter early on around Origin and still do.
“He’s grown as a footballer and we all develop as people as well – it’s (re-signing) exciting for him and for his wife.”
The duo played just two games together at AFL level (for the Bulldogs in rounds 20 and 21 of the 2009 season) but played together in the GIANTS’ NEAFL side during 2015 where Reid was also a development coach.
Addison believes the two years Reid spent ‘retired’ was a great period of learning for the hard-running defender.
“Certainly, it was a very unique experience for him to be involved and playing for the club but in a new role as a development coach,” Addison said.
“He was certainly a more relaxed player and learned how to appreciate football for what it is; it’s a big part in everyone’s life but it’s not everything in life.
“That’s carried into the second phase of his career. He’s always been hard working, but I think the life balance he’s got now really shines through.”
Part of Reid’s resurgence has been his change of diet and the help of his now-wife Elissa who is an Osteopath.
Addison said Reid’s eating habits had changed drastically since they shared a house in Melbourne.
“I’m not actually sure what diet he’s on currently because it seems to change fortnightly, but certainly there was no diet early on,” he said with a laugh.
“He explores different options which is something unique about him, he’s always trying different options to get himself to the next level.”
Reid’s experimentation with his diet started as a way to manage his type one diabetes, but as he tried different foods, he found some were helping him recover between games.
“It was initially diabetes control, but I found that through what I was eating I was starting to feel better in my body and I was recovering a lot quicker,” he said.
“So I started targeting more foods and then that rolled into the football side of things.
“It’s allowed me to train more and have two or three full pre-seasons. I’m running out games and having more game time, wearing my opponents down each week.”
Reid’s aim to play 100 games is more than realistic, with his 81st game coming in the GIANTS’ win over Collingwood.
While there is a milestone on the horizon, he’s just focusing on playing his role as the GIANTS push for fourth consecutive finals series.
“We want to sort of finish the next five weeks strong,” Reid said.
“We had a good result against Collingwood and now we want to finish the next five weeks well and put ourselves in a strong position.”
It could be a very busy September for Reid with his wife Elissa due with the couple’s first child on September 28.
That’s Grand Final day.
The couple have already had discussion of what Reid will do should the GIANTS make it to the last Saturday in September.
“We had the discussion early when we first found out the date,” he said.
“She came back to me six weeks ago and she gave me the all clear to play.
“She’s doing some visualisation to get it done the week before and if not she’s going to have to hold on.”