James Rowbottom was drafted by the Swans last year. Picture: Phil Hillyard
James Rowbottom was drafted by the Swans last year. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Rowbottom’s warning to Swans draftees

THE hunter is about to become the hunted but Swans midfielder James Rowbottom is in no mood to roll over and surrender his turf to the new kids on the block.

The 2019 AFL Draft will deliver a crop of hungry, talented youngsters through the doors of Swans HQ early next week.

Rowbottom was in their shoes just 12 months ago and knows the new boys will be desperate to impress.

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They will be welcomed, encouraged, guided and supported but they won't find anyone willing to surrender their spot in the senior side.

There's no free pass to the big time.

Rowbottom, 19, was secured by the Swans with pick 25 in last year's draft, arriving alongside Nick Blakey (pick 10), Justin McInerney (pick 44), Zac Foot (pick 51), Durak Tucker (pick 12, rookie draft) and Harry Reynolds (pick 28, rookie draft).

After just three AFL appearances in the first half of last season, Rowbottom was selected for the clash against Gold Coast Suns in Round 15 and never looked back.

He played the remaining nine games of the campaign, averaging 13.7 disposals and kicking four goals.

The midfielder was rewarded for his progress with a two-year contract extension and is again expected to be a regular contributor next year.

Young Swans midfielder James Rowbottom in action. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Young Swans midfielder James Rowbottom in action. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Swans recruitment chief Kinnear Beatson is delighted with Rowbottom, saying that the youngster's first season had "exceeded expectations" .

And in his post-season review, assistant coach Brett Kirk hailed a hard, tough youngster who is "really driven and really knows where he needs to get to".

But as pre-season training steps up, Rowbottom knows the pressure is on to keep performing as the new faces prepare to land. He knows the consequences if he doesn't.

"I remember having a conversation with Luke Parker when I first arrived," Rowbottom said.

"He said it was a case of them (the senior players) working to keep you out of the side to keep themselves getting better. So of course there's competition and more to come (from the draft recruits).

"It's on a player to drive himself and his career but we have a good group of staff and coaches around us. We all drive each other and ­really get the best out of ourselves every day.

"All us boys are enjoying being around each other again and I think that's massive in keeping us moving forward. I'd like to pick up where I left off at the end of last year and hold my spot.

"We have talked about it and we're ready to have a crack this year."

Rowbottom and his teammates will enjoy a change of pre-season scenery when they head to Coffs Harbour on December 8 for a four-day camp.

News Corp Australia

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