It seems like Callum Mills is linked with a move into the Swans’ midfield before every season — is this the year it finally happens.
It seems like Callum Mills is linked with a move into the Swans’ midfield before every season — is this the year it finally happens.

Running joke set to become reality for gun footy player

Not even Callum Mills is sure if this is the season he finally leaves the backline behind to make the midfield leap.

The star Sydney Swan gets a laugh at the annual 'Mills-to-the-midfield' stories, but there is genuine reason to believe he will be a full-time member of the on-ball brigade in 2021.

Mills' time in the middle spiked slightly last year and he's fresh from playing there for all of last week's practice game against Greater Western Sydney.

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His 15 centre-square attendances trailed only Luke Parker for the most at the Swans.

Mills also spent the summer attached to Parker and club great Josh Kennedy, trying to soak in as much information from them as he can.

"I'm really excited by (the move) and I've enjoyed the pre-season this year," Mills told TheDaily Telegraph.

"I'm constantly learning new things as well, so it's really nice, but the main thing is the team dynamic and what's best for the team.

 

"'Horse' (coach John Longmire) is really open about how he sees it, and things change pretty quickly. Injuries can happen and you have to adapt in the AFL … you plan for one thing, but you never know."

One thing Mills is certain of is that 32-year-old Kennedy needs more help in the centre than just from Parker.

Longmire has overhauled his midfield group behind that pair in recent seasons, with the likes of James Rowbottom, Ollie Florent, Chad Warner, Nick Blakey and Dylan Stephens set to join Mills in there this year.

Isaac Heeney will likely remain a pinch-hitting midfield option because of his value up forward.

"Josh has done a tremendous amount for the club, but he needs a lot more support," Mills said.

"It's really important we step up and take some of the load off his shoulders."

Callum Mills is primed for a big year. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Callum Mills is primed for a big year. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

The Swans won only five of 17 games last season as their youth movement continued.

They invested heavily at the top of the draft again last year, bringing in key forward Logan McDonald and Sydney Academy prospect Braeden Campbell in the top five.

However, it's another Academy product, Errol Gulden, the No.32 selection, who Mills is tipping as a bolter this year.

"The draftees who've come in this year are really mature and understand the way we want to play. The roles they've played have been pretty big already," Mills said.

"It's been a bit of a shortened pre-season, but they've made real strides and I'm really excited to see what they can do, because they all have big potential.

"Errol Gulden's had a really good pre-season and he's been really good applying pressure for us on the half-forward flank, but also with his ball use - he's one fans should get excited about."

 

 

Originally published as Running joke set to finally become reality for gun Swan


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