ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Tom Papley of the Swans celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 22 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans at Adelaide Oval on August 18, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Despite fervent interest from numerous rival suitors, Sydney small forward Tom Papley will remain in the Harbour City until the end of 2023.

The offensive livewire was again highly sought after by Carlton, but credited the influence of head coach John Longmire as the main reason for remaining a Swan.

The 24 year-old also stated that some of the personal factors surrounding a potential move back to Victoria have alleviated within the past 12 months.

“I love the boys and the club, and it’s the same last year, but I had a bit of family stuff going on last year,” he toldΒ AFL Media.

“I felt for me the best thing was to try to go back home and be there to support and help what the family was going through and that didn’t happen.

“This year my family’s fixed it up and they’re all going well which helps. You want to always help your family and I’ve been away for a long time and haven’t been able to help, but they’ve fixed it up and it helps.

“I had my best mate move up which played a massive part as well as the boys at the club… but probably the biggest part was ‘Horse’ (Longmire).

“The care and the role he’s given me, he’s just a genuine good man. He’s caring, very passionate and invested in where the club wants to go and I love that about him. He was a very big reason for why I stayed.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 03: Tom Papley of the Swans watches on during the round 20 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Sydney Swans at GIANTS Stadium on August 03, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/AFL Photos via Getty Images )

The Swans were able to exhale their bated breath after their star forward informed them he would no longer be seeking a much publicised move south.

“Obviously everyone in the media probably thought I was going to leave and [the decision] was always on my mind but I wanted to get it off my mind and I was confident that it was the right decision. I was comfortable and happy and I like where we’re going as a football club.

“There is a bit of relief and weight off the shoulders. It was getting to that time of the year again and there was a little bit of talk in the media and I’m sure the club would have been talking about it as well.

“When I told Horse he was over the moon and I told the boys. I’m pretty invested in everything I do and I give my all in everything I do and I think I’ve shown that this year.”

Papley spent the Covid break back in Victoria with family and friends. The Gippsland Power product stated that having a close friend move in with him back in Sydney had helped ease his homesickness quandaries.

Although Carlton’s interest in the league leading small forward was no secret, Papley explained that he had never seriously entertained their advances. He says he now feels at home in Sydney.

“It’s just playing it year by year and if I am struggling then talking to someone, whether it’s to my mates or to Horse or to the psychologist, just keep working through whatever’s going on,” he said.

“I just love playing footy and that’s what I want to do and hopefully we can go deep into next year.”

Papley has fought tooth and nail to fill the Lance Franklin sized void left in the Swans’ forward fifty this season.

His 24 goals from 17 appearances has him leading the club’s goal kicking tally with some suggestion his early season form may have him in contention for an All-Australian blazer.

There are a further pair of unique reasons as to why Papley chose to stay a Swan.

Firstly, being a blood is in the blood with both of his grandparents (Max Papley and Jeff Bray) having donned the red v in the sixties.

In addition to this, Papley stands to finish the 2020 season stuck on 99 games, a game shy of immortality in the Sydney locker room.

“I had it in my mind a little bit and had a little look. It will be great to get my name up there on the locker,” he said.

“There’s a long way to go – I need to get through a pre-season and one more game to go this year – but I’d be looking forward to playing my 100th in round one next year and hopefully plenty more.”