A skilful display from the young Rising Star has cast doubt on whether 2nd year blues will be a factor in 2017.
Among the best for the Swans, the defender-cum-midfielder racked up game-high 29 disposals and took 8 marks, flying high between midfield and defence. Hoping to spend more time in the midfield in 2017, his performance certainly hasn’t hurt his chances.
Stepping into the role Kennedy vacated, Mills played his natural best. Combining well with Jones, Hannebery, Parker and Heeney, the young star carved the Roos open on numerous occasions and read the play brilliantly throughout the game, taking a vital intercept mark in the last quarter.
Kirk was in charge for the Swans first pre-season game and spoke glowingly to AFL.com.au of Mills’ performance.
“(Mills’ performance) speaks volumes of his attitude and the way he goes about it. He’s a really determined character,” Kirk said.
“We’d like to play him up a bit more through the midfield at different times but given Jake Lloyd pulled out early and we were missing another couple of defenders, (Mills) played predominantly down back.
“There’s not ups and downs with Callum. He’s got a pretty good balance in the way he plays his footy and attacks the game.
“I think he’ll say he turned a couple over which he needs to improve on because he’s pretty strong on himself.”
He’s going to be become a great midfielder in due time, but I don’t think it’s going to be this year. Without a tackle to his name and less than 60% DE, it’s hard to argue against defence being his best position.
With 8 marks, 8 rebound 50s and 9 contested possessions, he’s more than capable of making the transition, but his importance in defence cannot be understated. The dominant partnership with Aliir Aliir was one for the ages, and can lead us to ultimate success in 2017.