Swans ruck Sinclair proud of 100 AFL games

Sydney's Callum Sinclair will bring up his 100th AFL game against Hawthorn.
Sydney's Callum Sinclair will bring up his 100th AFL game against Hawthorn.

Sydney big man Callum Sinclair's path to a 100th AFL game is a story of persistence, having belatedly debuted at age 23 after almost accepting it was time to spend more time on his resume than ruck work.

The Swans' SCG clash with Hawthorn on Friday night will be the first major milestone of the 29-year-old's career.

Sinclair was overlooked in multiple drafts and had injury-marred stints in both the VFL and WAFL before West Coast signed him as a rookie in 2012.

The Victorian, who was traded to the Swans after playing in the side that lost the 2015 grand final, has since gone from strength to strength.

"When you're getting knocked back after a few national (draft) camps, have a couple of injuries, probably not playing the way you want to play then your confidence can take a bit of a hit," Sinclair said on Tuesday.

"I was a full-time university student, coming to the end of my course.

"I was going around town in Perth, applying for jobs. I had a handful of job interviews but luckily enough I was drafted so I didn't go down that path.

"I was extremely determined to live out my dream ... it seems like only yesterday I was keen to be given an opportunity at AFL level, 100 games is something I'm really proud of."

The Swans had an embarrassment of ruck riches in 2016, when Sinclair, Kurt Tippett, Sam Naismith and Toby Nankervis were scrapping over spots.

Tippett has since retired, while Nankervis joined Richmond.

Naismith, who underwent a knee reconstruction last year, is still fighting his way back to full fitness but hopeful of returning later this season.

It has made Sinclair, who signed a two-year contract extension in March, one of the most important players at the club.

"I have to give Sam Reid a plug, he comes in for a bit and can be quite damaging in ruck contests as well," Sinclair said.

Sinclair has also become one of the most respected players at the SCG.

The ruckman was voted best clubman in 2017 while his strong relationships with teammates have resulted in some insightful interviews on 'Conversations with Cal', a podcast the Swans launched this year.

Sinclair described his form as "a little bit patchy" in 2019 but felt both he and Sydney returned to their best during a last-start win over reigning premiers West Coast.

"I'd like to think I made some improvements and got some energy back into my game," he said, praising the help of assistant coach and former teammate Dean Cox.

"He (Cox) has played a fair bit against the guys still playing today. Drawing from his knowledge every week is really important."

Australian Associated Press