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Rising Indigenous Talent Jack Callinan Shines in Lead-Up to 2023 AFL Draft



Jack Callinan, a talented young Indigenous forward, is attracting attention as the 2023 AFL Draft approaches. The 17-year-old has been showcasing his skills with the Tasmania Devils, impressing with his performance in the Coates Talent League U18 competition, where he has already kicked 16 goals in just six games.


Among his notable achievements this season was a standout performance against the Northern Territory, where he scored seven goals and was named best-on-ground. He has also had two three-goal games against the Western Jets and the Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy. Callinan's versatility allows him to not only excel as a small forward but also make an impact in the midfield.


With an impressive football lineage, Callinan has inherited his talent from his father, former Adelaide player Ian Callinan, and his grandfather, Des James, who is a member of the Tasmanian Hall of Fame and is regarded as one of the state's greatest Indigenous footballers. Callinan credits his father and grandfather for their influential role in his football journey, expressing gratitude for their support.


Growing up, Callinan immersed himself in the sport, spending weekends playing or observing his father's games. He emphasizes the positive relationship he has with his father, appreciating the constructive feedback he receives after matches. Since moving back to Hobart, Callinan has developed a strong connection with his grandfather, who has been instrumental in assisting him with training and other aspects of his football development. The support from both his father and grandfather has played a significant role in Callinan's growth as a player.


Callinan's talent has not gone unnoticed, as he was selected for the AFL Academy team, which faced off against Port Adelaide's SANFL side in April. He is also considered one of Tasmania's top prospects for this year's draft. Additionally, he earned a place in the Allies squad alongside five other Tasmanian players. In January, Callinan had the opportunity to train with Collingwood, further showcasing his potential to AFL scouts.


In the previous season, Callinan made his mark in the NAB League, scoring 21 goals for Tasmania. He also made his senior debut for Clarence in the Tasmanian State League. His grandfather, Des James, who was a candidate for the Australian rules football Indigenous Team of the Century, acknowledges Callinan's talent, praising his football intelligence, skill set, and dedication to training. James considers it a pleasure to witness his grandson's growth as a player and highlights Callinan's receptiveness to guidance and feedback.


As the 2023 AFL Draft draws near, Jack Callinan stands out as a promising young player with a bright future in the sport. His impressive performances and family support have positioned him as one of Tasmania's most exciting prospects, and AFL clubs will undoubtedly be closely monitoring his progress.


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