After an ankle injury de-railed his 2023 campaign, Norwood key forward Jackson Callow is “feeling as fit as ever” in the lead up to Round 1 at the end of March.
The 21-year-old 195cm forward returned to Norwood ahead of last season following 18 months on Hawthorn’s AFL list (three AFL matches), but managed just the one SANFL game in the opening 14 Rounds of the 2023 season as he recovered from a nasty ankle injury.
He came home with a flurry, booting nine goals in the last three matches, while averaging 19.3 disposals and 7.6 marks to set up a positive off-season and pre-season period.
Just under two months out from Round 1, Callow said he’s moving well and enjoying the pre-season.
“I’ve loved coming back, everyone is feeling fresh – we had a great training block before we went home for Christmas, and I have come back fit and rearing to go for 2024,” he said.
“I can’t wait.
“The ankle is fine – I had a rest over off-season to get it right.”
Callow said he was frustrated with his interrupted return season to the club.
“I hated being on the sidelines all year (in 2023), so to get out with the boys and enjoy the footy in the last few rounds was great.
“I didn’t put pressure on myself, I knew what I could do and fortunately it came together, and we won a few games.
“To get back and play a couple of games at the end of last year was good, and to know the ankle is fine and pulling up fine is a confidence booster going into 2024.
“I hope to build on that form and hopefully we get off to a good start.”
"I am coming into 2024 very confident, I feel as fit as ever."
Callow said he had a lot of confidence in the way the 2024 playing list was shaping up.
“The list is looking strong, we have a lot of boys who are fit and ready to go,” he said.
“There’s not too many injuries, and there’s a lot of new boys that have fitted into the club straight away – it’s great to see.”
Callow had been impressed by the new faces out on the track, including new arrival Ben Simpson who he’d played a lot of football with in Tasmania.
“Mitch O’Neill from South Adelaide has come across and we are happy to have him here, Billy Cootee has come from Essendon and has been a great contributor on and off the field,” Callow said.
“Ben Simpson was a captain at North Launceston and made the transition over to Norwood – he’s played in Premierships in the TSL, and has come over looking like a seasoned SANFL player already.
“I played alongside Ben for four or five years and looked up to him a lot when I was a junior, I can’t wait to see what he can do.
“He’s simple brilliance as an inside mid.”
Standing at 195cm tall, not even that can hold Callow back from squeezing into a go-kart over the offseason.
“I have a go, I have always enjoyed the hobby of go-karting – it keeps me fit and the body strong while I’m not at footy,” he said.
“I won a race in Victoria over the off-season and finished top 5 in the Victorian State Titles.
“It’s fun and something I do with my brother and Dad, but I’m back into footy now.”
Away from the club Callow works as a support worker, while studying Teaching at University.
“I have made a lot of mates since I’ve been here, I love Adelaide and I won’t be leaving any time soon,” he said.
Norwood will play it’s Round 1 match at Coopers Stadium on Easter Thursday (March 28) against rivals Sturt.
By Josh Teakle, Norwood FC