Sydney Swans coach John Longmire says Callum Mills’ infamous shoulder injury picked up during the club's post-season celebrations hasn't changed his mind that the Swans star is the right man to lead the club in 2024. Sydney confirmed on Tuesday that Mills would be the club's sole skipper this season, after previously sharing the captaincy with Dane Rampe and Luke Parker.
Mills' captaincy came into question when he required surgery after injuring his shoulder during post-season drinks with teammates. He reportedly was injured when wrestling with Jacob Konstanty at a Surry Hills pub last September.
But while Longmire admitted the incident was disappointing, he said it did little to change the club's mind that he was the right man to lead the club moving forward. The Swans coach told SEN Breakfast on Wednesday that they have "full faith" in him learning from his mistake.
"I guess the evolution of Callum’s captaincy has been reasonably obvious to those internal at the Swans for a long time," Longmire told SEN Breakfast. "He’s just got a great ability to be able to think ‘team’ and do things on the ground, as far as setting the tone, and off the ground has been superb for a long period of time. So from that regard, I think most people internally would have thought there was a natural progression for Callum.
"Obviously what happened at the end of the year, it certainly didn’t change our minds, but we needed to put a bit of time in between the announcement (on Tuesday). Everyone makes mistakes, as Callum has put his hand up to, but in the end, he was the man to lead us forward."
"That’s part of what happens in life is that you deal with some things that get thrown up and you have to negotiate the best way forward. And the best way forward for this footy club was still to have Callum as sole captain. That’s ultimately what we fell back on is the players knew it, the players understood it, they were really keen for that to happen and in the end it was, internally, certainly a reasonably obvious choice for us."
John Longmire hoping Callum Mills will be fit by mid-season
Longmire said he is hopeful Mills will be fit before mid-season but won't be rushing him back in prematurely. "He’s coming along really well," Longmire said.
"He’s doing a fair bit of training for us. Obviously none of the contact work, but he’s still running around and doing some drills and moving really well. The challenge will be we’ll have to hold him back – save him from himself, I guess, to some degree – in regards to he’d be pushing really hard to get back and play.
"We’re talking around the mid-season (for a return). Hopefully a bit earlier, but we’re not locking anything in at the moment. We’ll just keep it open and see how he progresses. But also it’ll be up to the surgeon about when he gets back, it won’t be up to what we say."
The 26-year-old has played 155 games since debuting in 2016. The Swans finished eighth in 2023 and were knocked out in the first week of the finals by Carlton.
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