2020 has thrown up a lot of hard luck stories but Jarrod Lienert does not consider himself to be one of them.
The 26-year-old would break into the Port Adelaide line-up, play well, but then get dropped again in favour of a more experienced teammate.
He managed five games in 2020 without playing consecutive matches, and with COVID-19 ruling a line through the club’s SANFL participation, there were limited opportunities to build form.
But Lienert did everything right and maintained a positive attitude, and has been rewarded with a contract extension, keeping him at Alberton until the end of 2021.
“I’m absolutely pumped to be hanging around for another year,” he told portadelaidefc.com.au after his extension was announced on Wednesday.
“The club’s going in a really good direction and I’m really keen to work hard and keep getting opportunities.
“I just want to give it absolutely everything. You don’t know how long you’ve got in the system so I just want to put 100% into becoming the best footballer I can be over the next 12 months and whatever happens, happens.
“There are a lot of unknowns (in footy) so you’ve just got to put your head down and work hard and hopefully the opportunities come.”
Despite his positivity, Lienert admits it was a difficult season.
Watching from the sideline as the side got to within a kick of a Grand Final was not part of his plan for 2020.
But the 18-game backman remained positive about his contribution and the work of his teammates.
“I played the five games and couldn’t really hold my spot at all but at the same time I was pretty proud with how I conducted myself when I got a game and pretty happy with a few of my performances,” he explained.
“I was happy with my attitude as well. I could have easily gotten a bit negative about things but I worked hard on trying to stay positive, and had a good support network around me as well, which kept me in a good headspace.
“Obviously, I didn’t get a game in the finals or play the games I wanted to, but at the same time it was great to see the guys doing so well and so many playing well.”
Already back in at the club a few times each week for some running and gym sessions, Lienert is focussed on returning for pre-season training next month in good condition.
The club has added former Sydney defender Aliir Aliir in the trade period and hopes to draft NGA prospect Lachie Jones in the National Draft, adding to the pressure for spots in the backline.
Lienert is looking forward to the selection squeeze, saying it can only make the side better.
“Those guys are quality players and they will certainly add to the group,” he said.
“I’ve just got to keep working hard and working on my game, just keep putting my head down and getting everything out of myself over the next 12 months and whatever happens, happens.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of working hard and also very excited that those guys are coming in and hopefully helping us win a premiership.”