Little did Callum Sinclair know towards the end of last season, that 2018 would prove to be a career defining one for him. With the unfortunate season-ending ACL injury sustained by promising ruckman Sam Naismith, Sinclair has been entrusted with carrying the Swans' ruck hopes all on his own.
With the Crayfish sidelined for the entire 2018 season, the spotlight will be on the enigmatic ruckman to come forward, and lead the Swans towards another tilt at that somewhat elusive premiership.
Callum's greatest AFL career moment by far came last year against the Saints, in what was a bolt from the blue. Resembling some form of super-human forward, he dominated the game and not only had the Swans fans in total shock, but the football world too.
The entire Swans fan base started wondering - will we ever see that again, and where the heck has that been during a lacklustre start to his Swans career.
This season will see the big man needing to step up in a different part of the ground. We all know about his flashes of adequacy down forward, but we all must wonder if Sinclair can shoulder the load as the number one ruck for an entire season.
Darcy Cameron will be required to help out at times during his first full season (given he was injured Round 1 last season), but Sinclair will still be tasked with banging in at the majority of contests, and drifting forward on a weekly basis.
Dean Towers, Sam Reid and Aliir will provide a chop-outs, and take the odd contest, giving Callum a breather. This is where I can see the opposition ruckman getting on top of the Swans.
We'll rely on our star-studded midfield more than ever this year, to try and shark the taps (eg. Aaron Sandilands during Fremantle's peak years, Richmond with Grigg and Port Adelaide with no rucks) of the other ruckmen.
How much impact this will have on the Swans' 2018 AFL Premiership hopes is yet to be seen, but I for one am confident that the Swans' engine room can minimise the impact. Captain Josh Kennedy will need to be at his bullish best, along with Parker and Hannebery.
Sinclair will be thrust into a somewhat unfamiliar position this season, as a “vital member” of the Swans make up, and our success largely weighs on his shoulders.
With all this in mind, I only have one thing to say - Over to you chief!
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