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Callinan joins SANFL club Central District

Jackson Clark -

SANFL club Central District have announced the signing of 18-year-old small forward Jack Callinan.

The young Tasmanian recently missed out on being drafted into the AFL despite attracting plenty of interest from recruiters.

Callinan had a strong showing in 2023, featuring in 11 games and kicking 23 goals for Tasmania in the Coates Talent League.

The crafty small forward also represented the Allies at the U18 National Championships this year.

His father Ian Callinan is a champion of the Central District Football Club, having played in four consecutive premierships from 2007 to 2010.

He also won the Jack Oatey Medal for best afield in the 2010 grand final and claimed two best-and-fairest awards in 2007 and 2010.

Jack is the grandson of Tasmanian Hall of Fame member and one of the state's greatest ever Indigenous footballers, Des James.

Jack Callinan (middle) alongside his father Ian (left) and grandfather Des James (right). (Image: Nikki Davis-Jones/The Mercury)

James – who was shortlisted for the Australian rules football Indigenous Team of the Century – told the Mercury newspaper earlier in the year that his grandson always possessed talent.

"He was always showing early promise when he was younger as he's a very smart footballer and always had the skills," James said.

"His commitment to his training and his love or the game is outstanding and it's been great to watch his development and how he's evolved over the journey."

Central District Football manager, Mark Ross, spoke highly about his club's new signing.

"It was a successful season of representative football for Jack, who also played all four games in the Allies title-winning Under 18 National Championships," he said.

"(He earned) a reputation as the elusive, clever, and goal-scoring small forward that all clubs look for.

"Jack is also a very good cricketer, which has in the past inhibited him from completing a full pre-season of training.

"So, with the ability for him to get the extra runs under his belt before the 2024 SANFL season commences, we feel Jack will be in good shape for an exciting season."

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