Hawthorn football boss Rob McCartney says backman James Sicily is looking “fantastic” in his recovery from a ruptured ACL suffered in 2020.
Sicily was regarded as one of the most promising defenders in the competition when he went down in round 12 last year, the 26-year-old putting together consistent seasons before his injury.
He didn’t play any football in 2021, but McCartney says Sicily has been spending more time at the club during Victoria’s lockdown to speed up his rehabilitation.
“He’s looking fantastic,” McCartney told SEN’s Bob and Andy when asked how Sicily was progressing.
“Sadly, all Victorians and particularly Melburnians are kept pretty close to home at the moment.
“He is in at the club on a regular basis because he can’t be anywhere else at the moment and he’s running around on the oval, kicking the footy and looking like the James Sicily just before he went down over in the west last season.”
Drafted with pick 56 in the 2013 AFL National Draft, Sicily originally showed promise as a forward.
However, a switch to the backline unlocked his potential, showing huge upside as an intercepting defender.
Set to become a restricted free agent next season, McCartney hopes Sicily will see out his playing days at the Hawks and become a “future leader” at the club.
“It’s pretty exciting in terms of what the limit is for this kid,” McCartney said.
“He’s a kid with a lot of natural ability and probably hasn’t had to work as hard to get there, so what I think he’s found is this has been a real awakening period for James.
“It’s a bit of a reality check and he wants to make the most of every moment.
“He’s a future leader of our footy club young James, and we definitely want to make sure that he sees himself as a one-club player at Hawthorn.”
Current captain Ben McEvoy is 32-years-old, and a lack of senior leadership at the Hawks makes Sicily a strong candidate to lead the club in the near future.