The Diamond in the Sydney Rough

It’s funny – there was a time that I’d mention the name of James Rowbottom in a game review, and Swans people would respond with comments agreeing with me, surprised I was giving him a run, and telling me that I “get it” when it came to the Sydney Swans.

He was a bit of an acquired taste to begin with – a little messy with the footy, at times, and a little over-aggressive, but when you look at a player in their formative years in the league, you look for signs, and there were plenty of signs with Rowbottom. He was a tough customer – looked like a male model, but played like a junkyard dog.

And I love seeing a bit of mongrel in a young player – it translates well into a powerful presence as they develop.

In a fantastic indicator as to how far he has come, and in terms of his standing in the Sydney team, if I happen to miss the efforts of arguably the league’s best tackler in a review, I am called out on it immediately. Hell, just this past weekend, I got two emails from people telling me I needed to pay more attention to the way Rowbottom was funnelling the ball out to his teammates in my reviews. That was all well and good, and I took it onboard…however, I didn’t write the review this week.

Anyway, the point was taken – Sydney supporters are well aware of what James Rowbottom is bringing to the table, and they’re now happy to point it out.

And that’s a good thing – it’s probably about time the remainder of AFL fandom got onboard, as well.


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