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Think Local

He's not about to say AFL is better than NRL - and how could he, we all love the mighty Sea Eagles on the Northern Beaches! - but Callum claims there are many reasons to also start watching the Sydney Swans play.

"AFL is such an exciting game as a bystander. There's not many games like it in the world," the 20-year-old simply states.

"Scoring happens all the time, which is great for the spectators. Also, the atmosphere at our home ground [the Sydney Cricket Ground in Moore Park] when we play is spectacular. Sometimes the stadium Is packed - it can hold over 40,000 people and we've had close to that at some matches."

The training schedule has been "pretty full on" leading Into finals time -Callum and his teammates have to be at Moore Park by 7am until 3pm five days a week. So, would the peninsula local ever consider moving over that way and leaving the Northern Beaches?

"No way... I love the openness of the beaches here and how everything is spread out... in the Eastern Suburbs, it seems like everything is on top of everything," he states.

"Plus, I love surfing around here so much, especially at Mona Vale." The AFL star says that, while he loves watching the Sea Eagles play from The Hill at Brookvale Oval and has always had an interest in rugby league, AFL is in his blood.

"I do have a few favourite Sea Eagles players - it's great watching Martin Taupau play - he's a beast! And obviously Daly Cherry-Evans," Callum acknowledges.

"But my grandfather played AFL for Perth - he played 110 games there - and Dad has always played locally just for fun, and he got me into AFL Auskick when I was a kid - even though all my mates were playing rugby union!"

This is Callum's second season playing for the Sydney Swans, and he references the devastating loss to the Western Bulldogs in the finals in 2016 as both the highest and lowest point in his career.

"It was a great experience - the fact we got into the grand final was great - but losing it was the most depressed I've felt," the former Northern Beaches Christian High School student reflects.

The AFL star believes the Sydney Swans are going into the finals in fine form this month.

"We started the season off pretty slowly, but we have been coming back and starting to play really good AFL Hopefully we will continue along this path and bring it back at finals time," he says.

Due to his love of the sport, the Terrey Hills resident believes local kids should have a go at AFL -especially with all the opportunities on the peninsula at present.

"There's the Pittwater Tigers Junior AFL Club and the Manly Bombers just to name two clubs. It's a great game - it's really fun and social, and there's great pathways at the moment into AFL academies," he notes.

Callum's advice for aspiring AFL stars is simple. "Kick the ball around as much as you can," he urges. "Kick the ball at recess, at lunch -whenever. You will be surprised how much it will help your skills."


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