Main content
Proudly Sydney

Persistence personified

Rose blossoms - Rd 12, 2019 Sydney earn their third consecutive goal with some brilliant ball movement

What goes 268, 28, 261, 8, 7, 13, 6, 295, 425 and 306? 

It’s the tracker counting the days in the lead-up to each of James Rose’s 10 games with the Sydney Swans.

Since he was drafted on November 27, 2014 until his 10th game on Sunday against West Coast, Rose has lived the life of an AFL footballer for more than four and a half years - 1617 days - for a return of about 20 hours of actual match play.

A product a SANFL club Sturt taken at pick 37 in the 2014 National Draft, Rose became Swans player No. 1396 when he debuted in Round 21, 2015. Since then he’s seen 26 players do likewise.

Five of the 26 debutants are no longer at the club. Eight other draftees have come and gone without playing at senior level. And another nine are yet to play. All the while, Rose has stuck at it.

He is persistence personified.

The now 23-year-old forward/midfielder, admired and respected by all at the Swans for his willingness and ability to keep working hard, has put together career statistics from his 10 games of five wins, that includes 107 disposals and six goals.

His 10-game and 100-possession milestone hasn’t created headlines. But to Rose, playing his first game of the season in the Swans’ 45-point win over the defending premiers, they will be little ticks in his battle to consolidate a place in the senior side.

Since his debut Sydney has played 89 games. Rose has played nine of them.

He was 295 days between his seventh and eighth game, 425 days between his eighth and ninth game, and 306 days between his ninth and his 10th game.

Yet, proudly, he sits equal 785th on the club’s all-time games list. And while Nick Blakey played his 11th game in his first season on Sunday, Rose’s 10th game leaves him one of 639 Swans players to have played 10 games or less.

Remarkably, in a measure of his persistence, none have done it over five years.

The Swans player who could reasonably argue he did it as tough or even tougher than Rose was Mark Whitzell, who was once famously described by then teammate Dermott Brereton as “having more tattoos than Angry Anderson”.

Whitzell, a Victorian under-17 representative from Altona North, debuted with South Melbourne as a 17-year-old against Fitzroy at Lake Oval in 1981 on the same day Paul Morwood played his first game and Barry Round his 250th.

Whitzell waited 664 days for his second game and ended up a 12-game player over six years. When he played his 12th and last game in 1986, his year-by-year games tally from 1981 read: 1, 0, 4, 3, 2 and 2.