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Go west or bust

Nathan Schmook  December 12, 2012 10:00 AM

Meet the Rookies: Callum Sinclair Recruited from Subiaco FC, this Victorian is will look to develop his ruck skills under experts Cox and Naitanui
callum-sinclair-press200.jpg

Probably towards the last couple of months of the year I played more of a full-time role in the ruck.

CALLUM Sinclair says moving across the country was the change he needed to earn his AFL chance after being snared by West Coast in Tuesday's NAB AFL Rookie Draft.

The tall forward was considered a strong draft chance in 2010 when he was playing for VFL club Port Melbourne, but he was overlooked and suffered knee problems in 2011 that hurt his chances.

Prompted to look into a move to the WAFL, Sinclair made the shift and was a key player for Subiaco in 2012, kicking 26 goals in 16 games and rotating through the ruck.

Unveiled at Patersons Stadium on Tuesday morning after being selected with pick No.12 in the Rookie Draft, the 23-year-old said his move west had paid off.

"I needed a change in my football and I just said, 'why not?'" Sinclair said.

"I probably think the whole move to Perth made me develop a bit more personally; it made me grow up a little bit more.

"In terms of footy it probably forced me to do a lot more work on my fitness with the bigger grounds and less stoppages over here."

The Eagles have followed Sinclair's progress since he was flagged as a draft chance in 2010 and jumped with their first pick on Tuesday morning before selecting delisted Melbourne utility Jamie Bennell with pick No.27.

Measuring in at just under 200cm, Sinclair was selected for his talent and versatility, not as ready-made ruck depth should Nic Naitanui be sidelined at the start of the season following groin surgery.

"I think ideally they want to see me playing that role between ruck and going forward," Sinclair said.

"This year I played the first half of the year at centre half-forward and pinch-hit in the ruck.

"Probably towards the last couple of months of the year I played more of a full-time role in the ruck."

Sinclair said he was looking forward to meeting Naitanui and champion ruckman Dean Cox and learning under them alongside developing ruckman Scott Lycett.

He is expected to start training on Wednesday morning while Bennell, who spent four years with Melbourne, will continue his recovery from a knee reconstruction when he arrives.

"It’s great to get another opportunity and I am really looking forward to it," Bennell said.

"I am about five months down the rehabilitation path after a reconstruction on my left knee, and after training on my own it will be good to get into a professional environment."