The Unsung – Round 8: Isaac Cumming and Trent Rivers

Round 8 had some big wins, some close games controversial talking points. There were many unsung players this week, and in this column, I would like to introduce Issac Cumming and Trent Rivers.

 

Issac Cumming (GWS Giants)

 

With senior players returning to the team, the GWS Giants have found some good form in the last fortnight, with Issac Cumming playing great football. Cummings, who played junior football with North Broken Hill, eventually moved to the GWS Academy, where he was selected 20th overall in the 2016 draft. He only played ten games as he has had to manage his injuries and compete against established players. Cummings won the 2017 NEAFL developmental award, exponentially improving each year, and with players retiring or leaving, he has become a consistent player for GWS.

 

Playing all games so far in this 2021 season, Cummings is a medium-sized defender who has excellent skills either by hand or foot. He has good speed for this position, which aids with quick ball movement and one-on-one contests. Against Essendon, Cummings was mainly in the defensive half of the ground, either on his direct opponent or helping a teammate. Throughout the game, Cummings showed composure to set up his teammates with good decision making. He works hard off the ball to put constant pressure on the opposition, forcing turnovers or creating a stoppage. Cummings gathered 20 disposals against Essendon while going at 80% disposal efficiency. At times, he put himself out of position when in a zone, but this is become a common occurrence with how fast the game is played. Cummings, with more match level experience, will understand where to position himself. The last four weeks have looked better than the first four for the Giants, with younger players like Cummings who have impressed, and this will help them build for the future and contend for a finals spot.

 

Trent Rivers (Melbourne)

 

The Melbourne football club has been a fascinating team this short season, not losing a game yet. There are many factors which contribute to the success of the Demons, with the play of Trent Rivers being a pleasant surprise. Rivers was selected with the 32nd pick in the 2019 draft, played for East Fremantle as a big-bodied midfielder. He came second in the best fairest while only playing nine games due to injury. Rivers has continued his form from the end of 2020, showing a massive improvement from last year.

 

Rivers has played in all games so far this season, and for most of the season, playing in a half-back role as a rebounder with his efficient skills. For 19 years of age, Rivers has a remarkable ability to read situations, whether making the correct decision, filling the space, or helping with the attack. He has impressive composure; he does not let anybody speed him up in his decision making, which is not typical for someone his age. Although Jake Lever is the main person for intercepting, Rivers also can read the ball in the air and help his taller defenders. Against Sydney, he gathered 17 disposals, with room for improvement in what was a challenging contested game with lots of skill errors throughout. Like so many youngsters, his conditioning needs work so that he can run out an entire match; with more time playing, this will improve his game. This could lead him to potentially be used in the middle, with his decision making and skills, would be another positive for Melbourne. Rivers, like his team, have been a shock to the AFL world, and with Rivers and others impressing, the sky is the limit for Melbourne.

 

I also want to give a shoutout to Anthony Scott from the Western Bulldogs. Scott, who kicked two goals and putting lots of pressure off-ball, has played his small forward role very well. Playing in all the games, he has been impressive in his debut season on a solid team. Another mention goes to Brad Close from Geelong, playing a small forward role in a big win against Richmond. Close played an essential part in maintaining consistent pressure on the Richmond to help with getting turnovers and fumbles.

 

Round 8 was a great round to get more insight into contending teams playing at a high standard. With more youngsters getting to play at the highest level, we can expect great football in round 9.

 

 

 

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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