Sydney Swans young gun Errol Gulden will remain at the club until at least 2024 after signing a two-year extension, the club announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Gulden made an immediate impact at the Swans and quickly became a fan favourite of the club. Despite only being there for a season, Gulden has loved every moment of his time with the Bloods.
"It’s extremely exciting and incredibly humbling to get another couple of years here," Gulden told Swans Media.
"Ever since I walked through the doors 12 months ago everyone has been really welcoming. I’ve loved every second of my experience and I’m excited to continue my career here."
A member of the Sydney Swans Academy, Gulden was selected with the 32nd pick of the 2020 draft. He was their third selection of the night, with Logan McDonald and Braeden Campbell being taken in the top five picks.
RELATED: 10 Swans eligible for 2022 free agency
He credits the Academy program with preparing him for the AFL system, believing that it played a key role in his impressive start to his career.
"The QBE Academy provided me with a lot of tools to play AFL, and I believe that helped me get my start early last year. It gives you an insight into the AFL program and the day-to-day life of a professional footballer," Gulden said.
"I built a lot of great relationships at the club before I had even made the senior list, which helped make my transition into AFL a lot easier."
Charlie Gardiner, the Sydney Swans Executive General Manager - Football expressed his excitement in the quick development of the Academy graduate, crediting work ethic and a great attitude as to why Gulden was able to quickly adjust to senior football.
"Errol has enjoyed an impressive start to his career and has quickly shown an ability to perform at an elite level. He is a quality young man with an exceptional work ethic and is always looking to improve," Gardiner said.
"As a graduate of our Academy, we are proud of the way he has quickly transitioned into senior football and are excited to see him continue to learn and develop his game over the next two years."
Errol broke onto the scene in the first game of the season gathering 19 disposals and kicking three goals against the Lions. That performance earned him a nomination for the Rising Star Award.
He continued that form all season, finishing the year with 14 goals over 18 games. He also averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.9 tackles and 3.9 inside 50s. His impressive season resulted in him being awarded the AFLPA Best First-Year Player. He also finished fifth in the Rising Star Award, the highest of all first-year players.
Despite his impressive debut season, Gulden believes it still feels surreal to be a part of the Swans football club. In particular, he is in awe of some of the Swan's big-name players that he gets to line up with each week.
"I was pinching myself every time I ran out on the field and even still today at the club, when I see the names on the lockers of the players that I get to play alongside – the likes of Josh Kennedy, Dane Rampe, Lance Franklin – to be playing footy with those names is really special," he said.
Gulden's extension follows Braeden Campbell who was also extended in the off-season until 2026. The pair are close friends and were members of the Sydney Swans Academy in 2020.
The Swans begin their season against cross-town rivals GWS on the 19th of March. They will be hoping that the 2022 season has the same level of success as their off-season.
Round 1 gives the Swans the opportunity to take revenge against the Giants, the team that knocked them out of the finals last year.