ANDREW Swallow’s comeback has been deemed a success by North Ballarat Roosters and North Melbourne.
Whether the North Melbourne skipper suits up again in the Victorian Football League next weekend depends on how well he pulls up in recovery.
Swallow chalked up 70 minutes before he was benched, as planned, at three-quarter time in the Roosters’ 25-point loss to Geelong yesterday.
He amassed 23 possessions, five tackles, six clearances and offered invaluable leadership for the Selkirk Roosters in what was his first game since rupturing the Achilles’ tendon in his left leg in round 18 last year.
Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said Swallow could only benefit from the run.
“I guess (his return to the Roosters) depends on what happens at their end, especially mid field-wise, whether they call
him up and on how he pulls up,” FitzGerald said.
“We’re happy to play a role in his return ... he’s a terrific captain and good leader.”
Swallow is not new to the Roosters – he played 26 games with the club as a young Kangaroo. This was his first Roosters game since the 2008 VFL grand final win.
FitzGerald said it was a pleasure to coach Swallow again – this time a much more experienced, well-regarded player with
great experience to offer teammates in the huddle.
Swallow preferred to not speak to media post-match, instead hoping to see how his recovery played out first.
He did, however, take to social media to thank well-wishers and said it was “great to be back on the park again”.
Kangaroos development manager Ben Dyer said Swallow had “ticked all the boxes” the club had wanted in the match but that Swallow was the kind of player who wanted to ensure everything was ticked off before he returned to the AFL.
This would involve extensive consultation with head coach Brad Scott and the club’s medical and conditioning staff this week.
“He got a fair bit under his belt today, but the AFL intensity is a big step up. Then again, we’re talking about a bloke who’s played a lot of AFL footy,” Dyer told nmfc.com.au.
“He was super-keen so he was running pretty hard early on and it caught up with him at various stages, as you’d expect.
“He was also a little bit fumbly, a bit rusty early, as you’d expect too, but he ran to good spots and a couple of times he cut
inside really well and you thought, ‘That’s a bit of class – he’s going OK’.”
The Roosters worked closely with North Melbourne to plan Swallow’s return and used him in a sub-like approach to the game, tag-teaming with Roosters’ 23rd man Liam Youl.