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David Swallow to continue to build game time

JLT1: Swallow Post-Match GC SUNS midfielder David Swallow speaks with SUNS TV after the win over Brisbane Lions in JLT1
MERRIMAC, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 19: Ryan Bastinac of the Lions breaks a tackle from David Swallow of the Suns during the AFL 2017JLT Community Series match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions at Kombumerri Park on February 19, 2017 in Merrimac, Australia. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Played two and a bit quarters and body felt good so it’s a tick and look for next week.
GC SUNS midfielder, David Swallow

There were several new faces representing the Gold Coast SUNS in their first pre-season game of 2017 against Brisbane at Broadbeach Sports Club on Sunday.

But also among the squad of 26 was a man that is essentially a new top class recruit for coach Rodney Eade, a former number one draft pick that won a club best and fairest award at just 21 years of age in the same year Gary Ablett finished equal second in the Brownlow Medal count.

In a massive boon for the club, David Swallow played his first game of senior football since July 2015. His combative nature and attack on the footy was on show for all to see, with the West Australian’s strength around the contest particularly impressive.

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Swallow finished with 15 disposals and four tackles in just over a half of footy, admitting it took him a little while to adjust to the speed and intensity of the game but he was pleased to get through unscathed.

“Played two and a bit quarters and body felt good so it’s a tick and look for next week,” Swallow told SUNS TV post-game.

“Probably the first couple of minutes I was blowing pretty hard. I felt the pace of the game was probably a bit quicker than I remember so just getting used to that.

“I felt like I worked into the game a little bit, just skills let me down at times but it’s the first hit-out so just happy to get through.”

New additions Michael Barlow, Pearce Hanley and draftee Will Brodie all spent time in the centre square and a SUNS engine room that has been decimated by injury in recent years now looks to be a real strength going into 2017.

“I think they were all pretty good, they all had reasonable games,” Swallow said.

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“Pearce brings some good run and carry, I thought he was really good today. Micky Barlow was good in close and used his big body and Will Brodie contributed so across the field it was a good contribution from everyone and it’s exciting.”

Swallow will get another opportunity to work on his skills, touch and match fitness against Essendon in Mackay this Sunday, with Eade revealing in his post-game press conference the 24-year-old would play all three games of the JLT Community Series with a gradual build up of game time in the lead up to round one.

“I thought it was real positive. We got 55 minutes or so, which is about right,” Eade said.

“Next week we want to give him about 70 so we’ll build him up, but overall I thought it was pleasing. His dash back, his grunt, his contest was good so I think he’ll gain a lot of confidence out of that.”