Friday, 9 August 2019


Flinders local James ‘Belly’ Bell, will debut for the Sydney Swans in tomorrow’s match against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval. 

The 20-year-old signed as a rookie with the Sydney Swans in 2017 and has since become a stand out member of Sydney’s North East Australian Football League (NEAFL), recognised for his fine form and speed. 

All four of James’ sisters played AFL growing up and when his older sister, Talarah, became a NSW representative in the national league under 16s and 18s, James decided he too wanted to get out on the field.  

Shellharbour Swans Junior AFL Club President, Rob Cabor, said James began playing for the club when he was 11 years-old. He was identified early on as a player with high potential – he was dedicated, skilled, well-balanced and fast.

At the age of 14, while he was a student at Corpus Christi Catholic School, James was picked up by the QBE Sydney Swans Academy and later moved to Endeavour Sports High in Caringbah.

His athletic abilities also extend to soccer. When he was just 15, he became a part of the Western Sydney Wanderers under 20 train-on squad and also played trial matches for them. 

This year James had been working as a groundskeeper at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Going to work at the Sydney Swans home ground meant that between his shifts he had front row seats to watch the Swans train.

Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba congratulated James on his debut for the Sydney Swans and wished him the very best of luck.

“From Shellharbour Swans to now the Sydney Swans, James has displayed great competitive success and dedication to AFL that is truly admirable, particularly to local budding athletes,” Cr Saliba said.

“He has made the Shellharbour community extremely proud to call him our own and we wish him the best of luck in his first game tomorrow as a Sydney Swan,” Cr Saliba said. 

A win for the Sydney Swans tomorrow would mean a comeback from their current five-game losing streak. 

Media queries: Kelli Wells 0448 361 008.


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Last updated : Mon 12 Aug 2019