Callum Mills has revealed his devastation at suffering a serious shoulder injury in a Mad Monday mishap, but insists he's still the right man to lead the Swans. Kane Cornes is among those who have called for Mills to be stripped of the Sydney co-captaincy, after he had to undergo surgery last week following the injury at post-season drinks.
Mills was wrestling with a teammate when the injury occurred, although he didn't realise how serious it was until a few days later. According to reports, he is little chance of being ready for the first game of the 2024 season.
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"This is not a reflection of the captain I aspired to be and I'm gutted that this will potentially put the start of my season at risk," Mills said on Wednesday as he fronted media with his left arm in a sling. "I made a bad mistake. I put myself at risk and I take full responsibility. One thing I do want to assure people is, I'm doing everything I possibly can to get back as quick as possible."
The 26-year-old has been co-captain of the Swans since 2022, along with Dane Rampe and Luke Parker. Club officials have yet to sit down with Mills to make a call on whether they will strip him of the captain's armband.
"That's a decision for the club to make at the right time ... but what I will say is, I absolutely love leading this club," he said. "It's something I hold deep to my heart and it's a position that I don't hold for granted."
Mills was reportedly wrestling Jacob Konstanty when the injury occurred, although he refused to mention which teammate was involved. He said he informed coach John Longmire of the matter straight after he had scans to determine the severity of the injury.
"The next couple of days, I didn't know what I'd done, how bad it was," Mills said. "It wasn't that bad at the time but obviously it is what it is now. I was in his office as soon as I found out. It was extremely hard but that's the respect I have for Horse, to be able to own it and take full responsibility and he was disappointed."
Cornes, a 300-gamer for Port Adelaide, previously said the Swans shouldn't have to pay Mills while he's sidelined. “You are a professional footballer for the time you are a professional footballer, so when you are contracted to be that you need to act like that,” he said on SEN.
“This is a guy that’s contracted by the footy club...they can’t win the premiership without him...You can surf big waves, you can snowboard, you can wakeboard, you can jump off a cliff, but if you get injured, for the time that you’re out, the club shouldn’t be forced to pay your contract.”
"I made a bad mistake and put myself at risk, and I take full responsibility."
Sydney Swans co-captain Callum Mills has shown his remorse and apologised to the club after undergoing post-season shoulder surgery. Watch now.
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) October 4, 2023
Sydney Swans 'disappointed' with Callum Mills
It's not the first time Mills has been injured in bizarre circumstances. He missed most of the 2018 season after breaking his foot when he tripped and fell while throwing an American football with teammates on the way back from a cafe.
"Losing players to injury in the off-season is always disappointing," Swans football boss Charlie Gardiner said in a statement. "Callum is our captain and an important member of the squad.
"We are extremely disappointed this injury has occurred. Callum is equally disappointed, as you can imagine, but he is recovering well and will get to work on his rehabilitation immediately."
Mills has played 155 games since debuting in 2016. Sydney finished eight this year and were knocked out in the first week of the finals by Carlton.
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