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THE SYDNEY Swans have moved to secure ruckman Mike Pyke, signing the Canadian national to a two-year deal. Pyke started the season on the rookie list but has played every game since round seven, when he was called into the senior side as a replacement for injured ruckman Mark Seaby.
The 26-year-old’s journey to the AFL started while playing professional rugby in France when a friend suggested he could be a good AFL player and Pyke got himself an agent.
That led to a rookie contract with the Swans in 2009 which saw him play eight games that year, mostly towards the tail-end of the season.
As his understanding of the game has grown, Pyke has shown he is no flash in the pan, and has been important for the Swans in the absence of Seaby.
However, the international recruit admitted a lot of improvement was still required.
“I am really happy - it gives me an opportunity to feel settled in Sydney and I’m very excited to be put on the senior list,” he said.
“That is something I’m quite proud to have achieved in the last couple of years.
“Now I need to work on having a sustained impact in games. I’ve had patches this season where I’ve been contributing quite well, and patches where I go missing a little bit.
“I’ve showed that I’m capable of playing but to become really successful you have to do more than that, and that’s what I’ll be working on in the next two years.’’
Swans coach Paul Roos praised Pyke, saying he has developed into a genuine AFL ruckman.
“This year, if someone came to their first game, you'd have to point out that this is a Canadian rugby player now playing AFL football, and that's the biggest compliment you can give Pykey,’’ Roos said.