At just 21, James Rowbottom featured in his third season in the AFL.
A second pick in the 2018 AFL Draft, Rowbottom played 17 games this season, bringing his career tally to 45 games.
A consistent performer on the field, Rowbottom continued to show his clean use of the footy, explosiveness at the stoppages and his outstanding tackling ability.
He featured in his first finals game, a heartbreaking 1-point defeat to the GWS Giants in an Elimination Final in Tasmania, but reflecting on the season just gone, the level headed midfielder says the season was a ‘massive step in the right direction’ for the Sydney Swans.
“It was obviously another hub experience, but it was a bit different this year with the families and partners able to come down which was a really added bonus,” Rowbottom said.
“From a footy point of view, reflecting on this year from last year, it was a massive step in the right direction for us.
“We ended last year pretty well, with a couple of wins in the hub, so to go from five to fifteen wins this year was really good.”
Rowbottom had an interrupted season, playing the first game before being ruled out with an injury. He returned to the senior side in Round 6 after returning with a strong in the VFL.
He finished with 15.4 disposals, 6.7 contested possessions, 2.1 marks, 6.2 tackles, 2.5 clearances on average across his 17 games this season.
He had a stand out performance when the Swans faced eventual premiers the Melbourne Demons in Round 8, with 22 disposals, 4 marks and a career high 12 tackles.
The ball-magnet hoped for another strong pre-season to spur him on for improvement in 2022.
“The loss to the GWS Giants in our last game of the year will sting for a bit but we will use that,” Rowbottom said.
“I had an interrupted year with injuries so that was a bit frustrating, but if I can get my body right, hopefully can build to have a bigger and better year next year.”