“There wasn’t much awkwardness, I probably just felt it myself really.
“The boys are the boys; they’re always going to look after you and help you along the way.
“It’s just about getting that confidence back and the trust back of the group, I suppose, [teammates] knowing you want to be there.”
Swans coach John Longmire has praised Papley’s professionalism in recent months.
Utility Harry Cunningham has also been thoroughly impressed with how the 23-year-old has attacked pre-season training as Sydney seek to return to September after missing finals for the first time since 2009.
“It was just business as normal. Tom fronted the group and explained his situation,” Cunningham said, speaking alongside Papley at Thursday’s launch of the Australia’s retro kit for cricket ODIs in March.
“His actions from then on have showed he is nothing but fully committed to this footy club.
“That’s why we love Tom and love having Tom in our team.
“His actions speak louder than his words … we’ve moved on and are really looking forward to getting into the season and playing alongside him, I know everyone loves doing that.”
Sydney start their season against Adelaide on March 21, while their first pre-season clash is against GWS on February 29.
Jarrad McVeigh, Kieren Jack, Heath Grundy and Nick Smith retired last year, taking with them some 1048 games worth of experience.
“I don’t think we need to shoulder any burden or anything like that but if every individual can step up, it’s a weight of numbers thing; it’ll go a long way to helping this team,” Cunningham said.
“We’ve seen great signs over the summer, hopefully that continues into the season.”