The Unsung – Round 1: Errol Gulden and James Jordan


Chris Mangos is a student at Deakin University. He’s a huge sportslover so, when it came time to turn his hand to regular writing, he looked to footy. We all love those footballers who sneak up on us,or come out of nowhere, those unsung players who announce themselves when given an opportunity. Each week, Chris will pick a couple of players who aren’t the big names, who are not the heavily-spruiked high draft picks, and introduce them to us.






The Unsung: Players you’ve never heard of but will



AFL footy is back! Round 1 was very exciting with some surprising results and great games, and fans finally back at games in Victoria for the first time since 2019 really did help with the atmosphere. Round 1 showed promise for some younger players Like Errol Gulden from Sydney who might not have been the most talked about young player leading into the draft or during the offseason, but their play will surprise the public that might not know who they are. ‘The Unsung’ is going to look at the younger players who deserve recognition after impressive performances.


Errol Gulden


The Sydney Swans have had a remarkable ability to recruit younger talent through the draft over the years. They have found another gem going with the 32nd pick in last year’s lottery. Gulden is a local product from the Maroubra Saints and been a member of the Sydney Swans Academy since his Under 11s. Gulden had an incredible debut playing a high half forward role getting up the wing at times using his highly effective left foot which was very efficient either hitting a target or having a shot on goal. Sydney used Gulden as main link option from the midfield to the forward line to use his silky skills to hit targets which opened up the forward line giving the Brisbane defence issues not knowing who to cover, playing a pivotal role in the upset win. The numbers back up his play, Gulden gathered 19 disposals while adding three goals to his name going at 84% disposal efficiency. Size around the ball will be an issue for Gulden, who is not the biggest physically, but as he gets older and matures, the size will come. Gulden’s technical skills are hard to come by. He showed veteran level instinct getting his teammates into open positions with his kicking and with Sydney going to the youth movement, expect to see Gulden’s role develop  as the season goes on. Gulden is a name to watch, with names like Mills and Heeney coming through the QBE Sydney Academy, Sydney has found another promising prospect for the long run.


James Jordan


With delays to the start of preseasons of veteran players Jack Viney and Jake Melksham, it provided the opportunity for James Jordan, who was the 33rd pick in the 2018 draft to prove his value. Jordan, who played with Oakleigh Chargers and Melbourne Grammar in his junior years, had shown promise through the VFL in 2019, took his opportunity with great promise against Fremantle. Jordan showed potential as a strong midfielder not being afraid of physical contact being very comfortable around the ball which lots of younger players because of size avoid the contact showing an ability to play inside midfield. Jordan off ball showed a strong work rate either putting pressure on the opposition or working to cover space with a willingness to put maximum effort. Jordan did gather 15 disposals on debut and land five tackles showing that was not afraid of the contact. Although Jordan did show some weakness with skills hitting targets as the game progressed, but the more Jordan plays he will adapt to the AFL level. The hard work throughout the off-season clearly shows for Jordan, who looks in fantastic shape physically strength and cardiovascular wise. Jordan who was just relegated to just playing in scratch matches during the 2020 bubble season, looking to prove that he is a part of the future and be a part of the Melbourne rotation.


Honourable mentions to some other unsung rookies, Tyler Brockman from Hawthorn kicking two goals and providing lots of energy in a big 40-point comeback against Essendon and Thomas Highmore from St Kilda, who had 19 touches in a challenging wet, contested game in Sydney against the Giants, playing in a big win away from home, playing a crucial part in an excellent defensive role. Congratulations to Paul Hunter, the 28-year-old ruckman from St Kilda who was not on a list five weeks ago, now competing very hard with the Saints against the Giants while they injuries to the two top ruckman Patrick Ryder and Rowan Marshall. He did a wonderful job in the wet. Persistence really does pay off!


With Round 1 in the books with some surprising results and surprising games from debuting players, hopefully Round 2 can bring a similar energy with exciting play, results and impressive play from younger players.




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  1. Yes, Chris, I like the look of the Sydney youngsters.

  2. Great idea Chris. I think people will enjoy getting to know some of these Unsungs in the coming weeks. I was at the Adelaide-Geelong game and the Crows have a few themselves.

  3. Yes great concept. Always interesting to watch the young blokes early and see how they cope with the rest of the season.

  4. Keiran Croker says

    Nice piece Chris and a great idea.

    It’s always good too when someone you know off reveals themselves to the broader footy public. Being a Melbourne based Swans supporter I took the opportunity to go and watch our Academy U18 team play a game over at Sandringham back in 2019.

    I’d heard a bit about both Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell and neither disappointed. Whilst still only 16 year olds they were clearly our two most talented players. The knock on Errol was always size. Fortunately in the last two years he has added around 5cm height and 5kg weight. Hopefully he has some more growth in him. It was revealing that last year with the NEAFL comp in abeyance Errol choose to play Seniors for his club side. He came 2nd in the Competition B&F. Despite his size he looks comfortable playing against men.

    I’m looking forward to seeing both Errol and Braeden develop in coming seasons.

    I’ll look out for your player pieces too Chris.

  5. Dr Rocket says

    Hey Kieran,

    The boy who won the medal in the Sydney comp – ahead of Errol last year was Jake Bartholomaeus from Sydney Uni – son of Grant, who you’d remember from the late 80s/early 90s.
    Jake is a top up player for the Swans in the VFL this season.
    He won the NEAFL com B & F in 2019. Uni beat UNSW-Eastern Suburbs in the GF last year.

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