WILLEM Drew wants to justify Port Adelaide's decision to give him a contract extension after an injury-interrupted start to his AFL career.
Foot injuries have limited the Koroit export to 10 games in his first four seasons at Alberton.
But Drew, now 21 and having overcome his latest setback, feels confident he can have an impact after signing a two-year contract extension.
"I have learned so much along the way going through injuries. Every sportsperson has to go through that at some stage," he told The Standard.
"That has happened pretty early for me. I have learned a lot about resilience and not taking things too seriously, putting things into perspective. I am really grateful to be doing what I am, playing football as a sport, and I am pumped to be doing it for another two years and hopefully longer."
Drew spent his first season in the system playing for Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL before a foot injury wrecked his 2018 season.
He bounced back last year, earning an AFL debut and playing 10 games as an inside midfielder. But an injury setback in November halted his progress.
Drew, knowing he was out of contract at season's end, admitted he was concerned his time at the Power could be cut short.
"I was a little bit worried the second time it happened (in March)," he said of his latest foot injury.
"The first time I was in pre-season and I knew I wasn't going to be out for too long.
"I eventually got back and was in the JLT side (for the pre-season) and I knew after that game I did something again so that one was pretty flattening.
"It did (my contract situation) go through my mind obviously being pretty injured but I am pumped to stick around the club for another two years and hopefully I can get another run at it.
"I am just really grateful for the club to show a bit of faith in me."
Drew believes cracking into the ladder-leading Power line-up this year will be difficult and is taking a longer-term approach.
He has played three trial matches - the only second-tier option available in a season impacted by coronavirus restrictions - and is feeling confident in his body.
"It's good just to get back out there and enjoy being back playing, not taking anything too seriously," Drew said.
"In rehab it's a pretty lonely place when you're in there by yourself and I am just enjoying being back out on the park."
Drew, who enjoys getting back to Warrnambool and Koroit to visit his family, girlfriend and mates, said Port Adelaide was managing his workload.
"I am not going to set too many expectations on myself on how many games I have to play (next year), it's more about getting the body right and being able to stay on the field for pre-season and get a good amount of work in my body," he said.
"I feel like if I can keep improving, keep learning and working hard, everything else will follow on from that."