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Roos skipper Swallow unscathed after VFL hitout

North Melbourne Andrew Swallow in action during the 2013 AFL Round 10 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the St Kilda Saints at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on June 02, 2013. (Photo: Greg Ford/AFL Media)
Andrew Swallow has performed well and emerged unscathed from his first VFL match
He got a fair bit under his belt today, but the AFL intensity is a big step up. But then again we're talking about a bloke who's played a lot of AFL footy
North Melbourne development coach Ben Dyer
ANDREW Swallow's comeback game in the VFL has gone perfectly to plan, with the North Melbourne skipper gaining considerable match fitness and touch and, most importantly, emerging unscathed.

In his first game since rupturing the achilles tendon in his left leg in round 18 last year, Swallow amassed 23 possessions in three quarters, logging 70 minutes of game time for Kangaroos affiliate North Ballarat against Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Sunday.

The inspirational midfielder is now a chance of returning to captain North Melbourne in the big clash with Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium next Sunday.

"'Spitter' ticked all the boxes we wanted to tick today," Kangaroos development manager Ben Dyer told AFL.com.au.

"He played the number of minutes we were looking to get into him, and he had a run around and had no problems, and he got enough of the ball.

"I think he'd be able to handle it (at AFL level next week), if that's the decision that's made.

"He'll obviously sit down with (coach) Brad (Scott), and the medical and conditioning staff. He's the kind of bloke who needs to know everything's been ticked off. I'd say there will be a fair bit of consulting this week before a decision is made.

"He got a fair bit under his belt today, but the AFL intensity is a big step up. But then again we're talking about a bloke who's played a lot of AFL footy."

Swallow's possessions were spread consistently across the three quarters, comprising quarter tallies of eight, eight and seven respectively.

Dyer said the three-time club champion improved as the game wore on.

"He was super-keen so he was running pretty hard early on and it caught up with him at various stages, as you'd expect," he said. 

"He was also a little bit fumbly, a bit rusty early, as you'd expect too, but he ran to good spots and a couple of times he cut inside really well and you thought, 'That's a bit of class – he's going OK'.

"He's done a fair bit of training and he's probably as well prepared as you could be in his situation.

"People who have been around the club for a while think he's running better than he's ever run before. He's never been super-quick but he's covering the ground really well and training the house down. He's probably been ready to go for a little while now."