The Unsung – Round 2: Chad Warner and Francis Evans



Last week I said that AFL is back. But it’s only when you turn on any news outlet or look at social media and the only thing that comes up on your phone is fans blasting umpires for bad calls, that you know AFL is officially back. Round 2 brought us some fantastic games, with scores in a couple of games under single-digit margins, and solid performances from some younger players.


Chad Warner


Sydney has been the most impressive team throughout the first two rounds of the 2021 season, with a great mixture of young kids. Last week, Errol Gulden was the big standout. This week: Chad Warner.


Warner was the 39th pick in the 2019 draft, played two games in the 2020 season and looks ready to show his potential. From East Fremantle, Warner is a midfielder who can play inside and outside (mostly inside) but can adjust to the team’s needs. On the outside, Warner is more than capable, with good skills by hand or feet.


Warner looks like Josh Kennedy’s successor, feeling no intimidation of getting physical, even though he is just 19 years old and has excellent cardio ability to get to each contest. Warner has an excellent work rate, working back to help his defenders whilst rebounding and getting the ball in the forward half of the ground. Warner did look strong around the ball, considering he is just 19 years old and has not grown into his body yet; Warner will get stronger, which will improve his contested game.


The numbers back up his impressive game; Warner gathered 20 disposals against Adelaide, kicking two goals with half of his possessions split between contested and uncontested, showing his midfield versatility. McDonald headlines Sydney’s young players along with Gulden and Campbell; Warner is the name to keep an eye out for. Having a solid veteran core Like Kennedy and Parker to teach him the right way to play, Warner will be a problem for other teams to handle.


Francis Evans


If you wanted to take any guess of how Francis Evans got into the AFL, it is not the standard route by any circumstance. Evans, who was the 41st pick in the 2019 draft, was selected through Brunswick NOBS D Grade amateurs in the VAFA.


Evans, who played a small forward role for Geelong in his debut against Brisbane, looked very comfortable around the contest. Even though Evans lacks size, he was not afraid of taking hits to get the ball.


Evans showed impressive goal awareness with the tremendous left foot goal to join the elusive club of first kick – first goal. His potential is there, but he needs to work on his endurance, and with Geelong’s midfield having lots of depth, he will have to wait for his chance.


The numbers do not jump off the screen with only seven disposals, but those seven disposals were very effective and impactful. He kicked two big goals when Geelong needed it and he did not look phased by the moment.


The eye test comes into play more than numbers; Evans played the current small forward role, showing strong marking ability and working hard to pressure the opposition. With injuries and suspensions to some key Geelong players, Evans will get more time; the more time he gets, the better Evans will be.



Honourable mentions to some other Unsung players of round 2: Nick Murray from Adelaide, making his debut after getting picked during the AFL’s pre-season supplemental selection period. With injuries and the movement of crucial Adelaide defenders Murray got his chance, looked good at times solid overhead marking and defending 1v1; was just under pressure all game against a good team.

Jacob Koschitzke from Hawthorn, who was in a similar position to Nick Murray. Playing a strong side and probably against the best defence in the last decade, Koschitzke showed strong marking ability, creating contests bringing the ball back to the ground. With more time which he will get, Koschitzke will gain that confidence in the forward 50.


Round 2 provided some controversial moments, with some strong games from some unsung players showing big upside. With some big games coming up and youngsters pressing for spots, hopefully Round 3 can be just as entertaining.



To read more of The Unsung by Chris Mangos click HERE



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE


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  1. The Francis Evans story is a cracker.
    All the way from D Grade Ammos to the AFL.

  2. DAN HOBAN says

    Nick Murray (Adelaide Crows) was playing for Ganmain Grong Grong Matong last year. Was only added to the Crows list about 3 weeks ago. Another, great story.

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