LRT credits versatility for his longevity

"I learnt that I can't push my body to the limit all the time": Lewis Roberts-Thomson. Photo: Anthony Johnson
"I learnt that I can't push my body to the limit all the time": Lewis Roberts-Thomson. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Lewis Roberts-Thomson's says his ability to be a jack of all trades has been a key to his long career – and it could be the ace up his sleeve to keep him in the side when Sydney's big guns are all available.

It would be easy to conclude the Swans cult hero will come under intense pressure for his spot when, or if, Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes and Sam Reid are all fit but his flexibility also makes him difficult to discard to the seconds. Goodes trained with the Swans main group for the first time this season on Friday.

Much has changed at the Swans since Roberts-Thomson's injury in the corresponding round of last season, but not so his role in the team.

He is again expecting to be swung to all parts of the ground, whether it be to back up Mike Pyke in the ruck, like he did in round one, playing alongside Franklin inside the forward 50, or helping out Ted Richards and Heath Grundy in defence.

Roberts-Thomson said he has no preferred position – any will do so long as he gets a game. While his position may change from week to week, Roberts-Thomson's attitude does not.

"It's about playing a tough, contested brand of footy. If you apply that to any position on the field, then hopefully that helps the team out," Roberts-Thomson said.

Roberts-Thomson's return of five possessions, two marks and a goal against Adelaide appears humble but his ability to make space for Franklin was noted by the team's leaders.

"As individuals coming into the team, they do have specific roles and if you're able to adjust that and play a number of positions and roles, that can be an asset for the side," Roberts-Thomson said.

"Fortunately for me, I've had to adapt my game to different positions and hopefully in the coaches' eyes, it's been helpful for the team make-up."

The Swans could have done with Roberts-Thomson's versatility during their injury-ravaged premiership defence last year but the big man was battling a troublesome knee injury which ended his year in round four.

Roberts-Thomson said the pressure he placed on himself to maintain the conditioning required to play at the elite level hampered his rehabilitation.

"It was one of those things where you learn a bit from it. I learn that I can't push my body to the limit all the time," Roberts-Thomson said.

"I need to be patient and sit back and take my medicine.

"It's one of those things where the team was so successful on the field you want to get back and you want to be able to contribute in any way possible.

"The thing is, with the injury, you want to push those boundaries to get back, you don't want to lose too much fitness so you continue running. It's a fine line getting all that right."

Roberts-Thomson believes he has found that balance and said his knees felt fine.

In a testament to his longevity, Roberts-Thomson, a Swans life member, is one of only three players remaining at the club from the 2005 success.

The contract extension he signed in 2012 expires at the end of this season but Roberts-Thomson wants his career to extend into a 14th year.

A chance for a crack at a a third premiership could also beckon if the Swans can rebound from their slow start to the season.

"I don't want to jinx anything but the team we have at the moment is very exciting," Roberts-Thomson said.

"The mix of inside and out is very good. If we have the right attitude every week that will really help."

This story LRT credits versatility for his longevity first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.