How good has Callum Mills been going? The Sydney Swans midfielder returned in fine form on Sunday against Essendon to continue his strong 2021 season.
After an unexpected two-week layoff due to being a close contact of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, Mills picked up where he left off with 33 touches and a goal.
Coach John Longmire said it was good to have Mills back, alongside Harry Cunningham who also returned to the side.
“He’s a quality player, he’s in our leadership group, he’s kept himself pretty busy during the quarantine period, and made sure he’s in the best possible nick he could be and came back out, he and Harry Cunningham spent the time away, and then they came back,” he said.
“It was good to have them back, they give some more energy to the group.
“We’ve been able to find little bits of pieces of things along the way that provide the group with real energy, that’s a really important part of it, and ironically those two coming back in last week was good to give the boys a lift, and that’s been a big part of it.”
Mills’ year in the Sydney midfield has seen him average 28 disposals, five tackles, and five clearances. He has also registered over 30 disposals eight times, including his last five games in succession.
His form in his new position has been exceptional, though that doesn’t surprise Longmire.
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“We knew Callum could play in any position on the ground, he’s a quality player,” Longmire said.
“He’s also a very good half-back, we already knew he could play midfield, we’ve been looking at our defence and having players get that- you know get that back seven together over the period of time – we’ve made a few subtle changes over the last three-four weeks as well.
“(Nick) Blakey and (Justin) McInerney and those guys have been back there, so we still feel like we’re still developing and learning and growing as a team, and that’s been the exciting part of what we’ve been through as well – we’re seeing the development of different players in different positions.
“And we’ll continue to do that over the next few weeks, it’s an important part of where we’re going as a footy team.”
Nick Blakey was struggling for form in the first half of 2021, being dropped twice.
But since his return to the Sydney side, Blakey has moved into the half-back line and has performed well in his new position.
But Longmire said any position changes down the line will be related to what the team needs, rather than form.
“It’s not so much doing it for out-of-form reasons, more about what the team needs at any particular point in time. We feel like we’ve got some flexibility in the team now,” Longmire said.
“Whether that’s midfield, forward, back, we’ll continue to do what we need to do, and I think we’ve added that flexibility over the last six to eight weeks.”
Sydney takes on St Kilda on Saturday night at Marvel Stadium in the annual Pride Game.
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