Recruited by the Richmond Tigers ahead of this season, Sam Naismith is on track to play his first AFL game since 2020 and his third since 2017.

Naismith was delisted by the Swans at the end of 2022 after 30 games and nine years with the New South Wales side, having battled a number of injury setbacks related to his hampered knees.

He would then be signed by the Tigers after they lost second-string ruckman Ivan Soldo to Port Adelaide during the trade period.

After an impressive pre-season, the injury-plagued ruckman is reportedly in the frame of playing in the club's opening-round match, which will force coach Adam Yze into making some tough decisions.

This especially comes after first-choice ruck and skipper Toby Nankervis is racing the clock to be fit and ready for Round 1.

"He had a great year at VFL level, so he deserved this opportunity. Getting him into the footy club, he knew at the start he was going to be a back-up, because we needed some support for 'Nank' just in case," Yze told

"But he has come in and trained the house down. Right now, he has thrown his hand up to be our first ruck in (Opening Round), which is awesome.

"There is the footy element, where he is a great player and a great guy to have around the club, great runner and powerful man, with really strong ruck craft.

"But his character is what stood out when I first met him and we spoke about getting him across.

"He has obviously been through a lot as a kid and with his family and then his knees.

"He has had all this adversity, but you wouldn't know; he is always asking about other people and making sure everyone else is OK."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Sam Naismith of the Swans trains during a Sydney Swans AFL training session at Sydney Cricket Ground on July 4, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old spent last year plying his trade for VFL club Port Melbourne, where he would average 14 disposals and 37 hitouts per game in 14 matches for the Borough to be among the competition's premier ruckmen.

His strong season at the state league level has seen Naismith earn another chance in the top flight, with the Tigers signing Naismith on the opening day of the 2023 delisted free agency period.

"That type of character is exactly what we want at our footy club. I'll be really excited for him to make his debut for this footy club, because he will deserve it," he added.

"We're not just going to give him a game – we've got Samson Ryan who is another good back-up to 'Nank' – but when he gets his chance he will deserve it.

"Sam will play again next week against Collingwood and who knows for the Gold Coast game?"

Naismith will now link up with ex-teammate and Richmond co-captain Toby Nankervis in Adem Yze's ruck ranks from 2024, offering further tutelage to emerging tall Samson Ryan in the process.