Liverpool-esque Swans rally from hard week

James Rowbottom has likened Sydney's AFL culture to that of new premier League champions Liverpool.
James Rowbottom has likened Sydney's AFL culture to that of new premier League champions Liverpool.

There's been plenty of agony in recent times but the ecstasy of the AFL continues to drive Sydney footy addict James Rowbottom.

The Swans were dealt a devastating blow in last week's loss to the Western Bulldogs as luckless ruckman Sam Naismith suffered a season-ending ACL tear.

Melbourne's coronavirus woes have forced co-captain Josh Kennedy to remain in Sydney on Thursday to watch the funeral of his grandfather, Hawthorn legend John Kennedy Sr, via video link.

Second-year Swans player Rowbottom said it had been a tough week for the club but everyone had rallied around Naismith and Kennedy while adopting a Liverpool-esque mantra.

"No one walks alone here," he told reporters on Thursday.

"It was obviously disappointing we couldn't get the result for them but we move on.

"It (Naismith's injury) was real shattering post-game.

"The news hit us pretty hard... He begins his rehab in the next week or so and he'll get back on the horse."

To further complicate matters, Queensland's updated COVID-19 regulations necessitated a last-minute fixture change with Sydney flying out to face the Eagles at Metricon Stadium on Saturday rather than hosting Melbourne.

Rowbottom conceded it was "hard to keep (his) head" amid the unfolding chaos prompted by Victoria's infection rate spike.

But the Victorian-born midfielder is enjoying his footy despite the AFL's strict protocols and ongoing scheduling dramas which have altered the landscape of the 2020 season.

"I'm an addict of the game," Rowbottom said.

"I just love coming into the club every day.

"Not much has changed for me because I moved away from home last year so it's not like I can go out and see my mates and go have a drink."

Just 16 games into his AFL career, Rowbottom feels he's beginning to find his feet at the level thanks largely to Kennedy and fellow co-captain Luke Parker, who celebrates his 200th appearance on Saturday.

"The last few games I've built a bit of confidence and my hardness at the contest has lifted a bit," the 19-year-old Rowbottom said.

"As a group, the boys are just super supportive and I try and learn as much as possible off boys like Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker.

"They've been massive for me."

Australian Associated Press