Richmond has signed former Sydney Swans ruckman Sam Naismith as a delisted free agent.

Naismith, 31, joins the Tigers following a consistent 2023 season with Port Melbourne in the VFL, where he averaged 14 disposals and 37 hitouts per game across 14 matches.

Prior to spending last season at the Borough, Naismith played 30 games for the Swans between 2013 and 2022, after originally being selected via the rookie draft at the end of 2012.


From mid-2016 to the end of 2017, the 205cm ruckman from Gunnedah featured regularly in the Swans' senior side, including the 2016 AFL Grand Final, before several knee injuries hampered his career.

Naismith said the second chance at an AFL club "means everything".


"I'm super excited. It was an opportunity that I didn't think was going to happen, and I think my last five years of working really hard to get back to this position is paying off now," he said.

"Everyone that has supported me over the last few years, it's been pretty tough times through that journey and this just validates everything that I've worked hard for during that time.

"The finish line is not done, I'm keen to attack pre-season and meet everyone and I just want to get a game."

The new Tiger credits his year at VFL level for reigniting his passion for the game.

"As soon as the season started, I was super keen to just get back on an AFL list and prove that I'm ready to get back," Naismith said.

"Once I stepped on the field and started playing, I just enjoyed the process. Finding the love for the game again through Port Melbourne, I had so much fun especially with the group there... When you're happy, you play your best footy, and I found solace in that.

"I've learnt a lot of stuff about my body and I'm in a position now where I know what works for me and I'm feeling fit and strong."

He will be reunited with fellow ruckman and former Sydney teammate Toby Nankervis, the pair having spent three seasons together between 2014 and 2016. 

"I can't wait to play with Toby. I think we played some of our best footy together when we were in Sydney and I want to wind back the clock to those days," Naismith said.

"With Ivan (Soldo) going to Port Adelaide, there was an opportunity there. If there's a position to help the young guys develop... and to work with Toby again... to push each other and also the developing guys.

"I love tackling, I love hitting bodies, and protecting my teammates... Whatever the team needs, I want to do it."