Just four months ago, Sydney Swans star and then-co-captain Callum Mills came under fire for a poor off season, headlined by a freak injury during Mad Monday drinks, that led to shoulder surgery, after reportedly wrestling a teammate.
Now, he’s been named the club’s standalone captain for the 2024 season, making him just the third to have the job solely since 2005.
It’s a stark difference to the Mills who fronted the media after the incident that has cost him a chance to play the opening portion of the season.
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But, four months on, the club, which announced Mills as the sole captain on Tuesday, is ready to forgive and forget Mills’ mishap.
Swans coach John Longmire put to rest speculation that the club would likely remove Mills from the leadership group for this season.
“Obviously, what happened at the end of the year, it certainly didn’t change our minds,” Longmire told SEN Radio.
“But we needed to put a bit of time in between that and the announcement.
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“Everyone makes mistakes as Callum’s put his hand up to, but in the end, he was the man to lead us forward and we’ve got full faith in him to be able to learn from his experiences, but also be just a wonderful captain for this club.
“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 the sole captain.”
Mills, who has already played 155 games for the Swans since being drafted in 2015, is an All-Australian, a club best and fairest and has signed on a mega deal until 2029.
Longmire admitted that the club and its fans expected Mills to eventually lead the club alone one day, with his impressive on field record speaking for itself.
“He has been a reasonably obvious choice (to take over as sole captain) to those internal … at the Swans for a long time,” Longmire said.
“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 he has been superb for a long period of time.
“From that regard, I think most people internally would have thought it was a natural progression for Callum.”
Sydney will kick off their 2024 campaign as part of the league’s new Opening Round, where they’ll host Melbourne at the SCG a week before round one.