Swallow's season over

Sportal August 12, 2012, 10:54 am
David Swallow

Getty Images © Enlarge photo

David Swallow's season has ended prematurely, after the Gold Coast Suns opted to wrap the resilient midfielder in cotton wool for the rest of the year.

The tourist strip side posted their second win in 2012 - and their first ever at Metricon Stadium - with a 30-point victory over fellow expansion side Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.

No.1 draft pick Swallow, who was under an injury cloud ahead of the game, was central to the historic result.

With his knee heavily strapped, the 19-year-old had 24 disposals, six marks and three clearances as the Suns exacted revenge over a Giants side who claimed an upset win over them back in Round 7.

But that performance was the last of the year for the rising star, who has been troubled by various fitness problems throughout his sophomore season in the AFL.

"David here is hanging his boots up for the rest of the year," coach Guy McKenna said after the win.

"He's seen enough action and duty for this year, so we want to make sure he's right and ready to go for next season."

As a ball-winning, inside midfielder, the nature of Swallow's courageous approach to the game - combined with his young body - means that each week, he is at risk of injury.

After a difficult season, McKenna said that the decision to withdraw him from duty would help him going forward.

"He's such a combative footballer. (This year he's had) one cork, got another cork, a crook ankle ... it's just the way he plays," he said.

"I'm sure in time, when he gets battle-hardened, it'll be able to help him - but I think we can fast-track that by giving him the rest of the season off.

"He's done enough and proved enough to us that he knows what to do and how to handle himself.

"How he plays and conducts himself, he's number one on the field and probably off the field as well.

"For him to go through that, it's something you don't want to do with young players - and there'd be only a select few you'd do it to, but he's of that character.

"He's always going to end up on top of things, so full credit to him."

The flip side of the Swallow decision means that the Suns will have a difficult time picking a team that will be competitive for their final three games against Hawthorn, Carlton and Adelaide.

Small forwards Aaron Hall (ankle) and Liam Patrick (hamstring) joined a lengthy injury list after the Giants game and are now both likely to miss the game against the Hawks at the MCG next weekend.

Gold Coast made six changes for the GWS match, prompting speculation the side was tanking in order to pick up boom Victorian midfielder Lachie Whitfield, who looms as the standout talent for this year's draft.

But McKenna had other, more important priorities.

"We've got enough good young kids. What we haven't got a lot of is wins at home and confidence and belief in what we're trying to set ourselves up for in the future," he said.

"Tonight that was the goal, and that will be the goal for the next three games.

"We picked our best 22 this week. Why? Because we wanted to win. We want to build confidence.

"This is probably going to be the darkest era of this football club, but when the tide turns we're going to become a powerhouse."

COMPARE & SAVE