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Swallow an AFL inspiration for Sun Rowell

3 minute read

Gold Coast young gun Matt Rowell says the longevity and consistency of teammate David Swallow is an inspiration as he nears the end of an injury-free season.

MATT ROWELL. Picture: Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/Getty Images

As he closes in on a full season of AFL football, Gold Coast young gun Matt Rowell has hailed the impact of teammate David Swallow on his own burgeoning career.

After two injury-affected years following the barnstorming start to this career in 2020, Rowell has been an ever-present in the Suns' midfield in 2022 and will line up for his 19th appearance of the year on Sunday against West Coast.

The clash with the Eagles at Metricon Stadium will be Swallow's 194th, having set a new games record for the Suns in last weekend's loss to Brisbane at the Gabba.

A foundation Sun, Swallow has endured his own injury woes - including being sidelined for the entire 2016 season - but Rowell says the 29-year-old has shown it is possible to forge a long career in the AFL despite playing a combative style which takes a toll physically.

"I draw inspiration from Dave every week to be honest," Rowell told AAP.

"He's a leader. He's a team man.

"To be able to break that record, obviously he's had those injuries, and to keep sticking at it, sticking at the club when it was hard in those first few years, didn't have much success, I look up to him a lot.

"He gives me great energy every week and I really look up to him."

Having burst onto the scene in 2020, Rowell made five appearances that season before a shoulder injury ended his maiden campaign.

A knee injury on his return in the 2021 season opener against the Eagles then sidelined the 21-year-old until the back half of the year.

Injury concerns seemingly banished, the 2019 No.1 AFL draft pick is now focused on a big finish to the year with the Suns, with the club just one win away from statistically their best campaign since joining the competition in 2011.

"I've learned a lot this year in terms of being able to push through things ... obviously you have little niggles throughout the year and I think it'll give me a lot of confidence, being able to string these games together, and I can just keep getting better and better," he said.

"I've really enjoyed playing my footy this year and looking forward to the next part of the season and keep pushing myself."

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