Sam Lloyd is a man on a mission. Whether it be slicing through opposition defenses on the field or carefully planning for life after football with a building course at the Trade Institute of Victoria, his drive and determination is refreshingly palpable.
Sam Lloyd: Preparing for the next big game: Photo source: Richmond FC
Sam Lloyd: Preparing for the next phase of his life.
The pathway to AFL stardom however, has not been a traditional one for Lloyd, who was drafted from the VFL as a mature age player with selection 66 in the 2013 National Draft. It is perhaps for this reason that Lloyd has always been mindful of life after football and already has a vested interest in the building and construction industry. “Before Richmond drafted me I was studying a construction management course in melbourne and working part time with building companies for around three or four years,” Lloyd says.
That experience has proven invaluable for the dynamic small forward who is now, along with eleven other Richmond footballers, on a pathway to become not only a qualified Carpenter but also a Registered Builder at the Trade Institute of Victoria, located in Williamstown in Melbourne’s inner west, by undertaking the trade building courses, Certificate III in Carpentry and Certificate IV in Building and Construction simultaneously. “The course has been great – really beneficial,” Lloyd says. “Everyone at TIV has been really helpful and super professional,” he adds.
The flexibility that TIV offers in their courses is quite unique in comparison to other RTOs in the industry, and that has allowed the Richmond model to be created giving professional athletes the opportunity to pursue their interests away from the football field. “It’s great to come into TIV on our day off and switch off from footy and learn as much as we can about the building and construction industry,” Lloyd says.
“We’ve got a group of twelve players doing the course now, who all get along really well and we enjoy getting out there and getting hands on.”
Whilst studying the trade course at TIV is forming the basis of setting Lloyd and others up for their professional careers beyond AFL Football, Lloyd admits the course has also been beneficial in his preparation for games and has actually helped his on field performance on match days in 2016. “Since I started the course I’ve definitely been playing more regular senior footy,” he says.
“I’ve been really impressed with the space and the area at TIV, and how smoothly the whole program is run down there at Williamstown and also the new facility at West Footscray,” Lloyd adds.
Lloyd’s performance, both on and off the field comes as no surprise to his trainer at TIV, Bill Spencer. “Sam is an absolute ripper!” Bill says. “He is very reliable, always on time, he gets back to me straight away if we miss each other and he will always let me know if he is injured or can’t be somewhere for whatever reason.”
That building course professionalism extends far beyond just his attendance in class, according to Bill. He is a natural leader and has a clear direction of where this course will take him in the future. “Lloydy is very switched on and knows exactly where he wants to be when he finishes the course,” Bill says. “He always volunteers for positions of responsibility and you can see the others follow when Sam is leading the way,” he adds.
There is a refreshing certainty to Lloyd’s response when asked about his hopes and expectations upon successfully completing the TIV program. “I’ll get my Certificate III and Certificate IV signed off which is a good start.” Lloyd says smiling. “Then down the line I’ll look at getting my hours up, getting my builders license, and in the mid to long term future my brother and I can start up our own building company.” he adds.
They are comforting words from Lloyd, who admits to being pleasantly surprised about how smooth a process it has been since commencing the building course at TIV with his Richmond teammates. “I was concerned early on that maybe it would be a really slow process, but it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Lloyd says. “I’ve been really impressed with how much trust Bill puts in us and how professional everyone has been at TIV.”
The relationship between the Richmond Football Club and TIV gains even further credibility when you consider the Tigers’ poor start to the AFL season in 2016. It is during these times of adversity where newly formed relationships can suffer or even fracture completely, however that couldn’t be further from the truth in this case – and Lloyd agrees. “It’s a credit to the boys, we all stick together and get along really well,” Lloyd says. “Everyone at TIV has been great – they’ve looked after us in terms of giving up their own time and teaching us, and been really receptive to us also.”