The Unsung – Round 3: Sam Wicks and Harrison Jones



Round 3 provided some memorable games with down to the wire finishes. Some of the games were absolute thumpings, including Sydney’s surprising (shocking in the true sense of the word) demolition of the premiers. Some more unsung players played really impressive games.


Sam Wicks (Sydney Swans)


Sydney’s list of young kids gets more impressive to view every week. With another Academy graduate looking fantastic, it has become a huge talking point to see how impressively Sydney grow their talent. Sam Wicks, a rookie listed player from 2018 who made his debut in 2020, took a step up from his level last year. Wicks, who has very similar characteristics to his teammate Papley, has an incredibly high IQ throughout the forward half of the ground. Either hitting a target, or if it involves the goals, Wicks knows where the goals are from any part of the forward 50.


Wicks also imparts a manic level of pressure, doing the dirty work to create stoppages and turnovers, which was a crucial formula in leading the Swans to what was a famous win at the MCG against the premiers. The numbers back up his dominant play; Wicks kicked three goals, gathering 21 disposals while being in 8 score involvements. What Sydney is doing to start the 2021 season is beyond anything anyone expected.


In addition to featuring names like Gulden and Warner already throughout this column, Wicks is another impressive talent to put with their young building core. The future is bright in Sydney, and everyone has been warned.


Harrison Jones (Essendon)


After the horrid fortnight that Essendon has had with injuries to key players, Essendon is going down the youth moment, which backed up an extremely impressive thumping for St Kilda. Harrison Jones, who was the 30th pick in the 2019 draft, is a young raw key forward who is going to get games now that Joe Daniher has moved to Brisbane. He has an opportunity to take the key forward role.


He showed some signs of being a capable forward. Jones, who spent most of the time down forward, consistently put out leads, helping to bring the St Kilda defenders away from each other to open space. When he got near the ball, his instincts were good to bring the ball to the ground and to try to get to the next play.


For such a tall man, Jones showed an ability to make contests to and work off the ball, which is such an important part of the modern forward’s role. The numbers do not jump off the screen with just nine disposals, but he did kick two goals and have 6 score involvements. However, the eye test backs Jones showing good football instincts and with more experience and strength – consistent marking and scoring will come.


With Essendon focusing on its youth, Jones is going to get plenty of opportunities to develop into the forward role, and the more games he can have like this, the better Jones will become.


I also want to give a shoutout to some other Unsungs this week. Alec Waterman who made his debut for Essendon, has battled some serious adversity in the past with glandular fever, ruining his first chance at West Coast, had another chance and played very well. He kicked two goals, showed an ability to hit the contest and to not get pushed around; being 24 years old he can be more physical than most rookie players.


Max Holmes from Geelong, making his debut on a big Easter Monday game, showed the ability to win the ball in the forward and back half of the ground to make the contest. He showed good composure for a younger player and helped to contribute to a nail-biting win.


Round 3 provided some tough moments, contested down to the wire games, but also some strange results with some dominations coming out of the blue, with some young players playing key prominent roles in good teams. If Round 4 can be anything to the standard of some games throughout Round 3, it can produce some strange and exciting results.





To read more of The Unsung by Chris Mangos click HERE



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  1. No surprises to see the Swans featuring heavily in this column, Chris.
    Especially given that they are 3 from 3 for Rising Star nominations.

  2. Great to have your article each week, Chris, and especially as the Swans guys have been prominent!

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