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All eyes on Harry

Saturday, 27th September, 2014

Swans midfielder Harry Cunningham with cousin Hannah Muscat (left) and aunty Karyn (Muscat). Swans midfielder Harry Cunningham with cousin Hannah Muscat (left) and aunty Karyn (Muscat).

By Ethan James

One household in particular is keeping an extra close eye on this afternoon’s AFL Grand Final. 

The extended Bearman and Cunningham families will be decked out in Swans colours to get behind youngster Harry Cunningham when he runs out at the MCG to take on Hawthorn. 

Harry’s grandmother Margaret Bearman is hosting a small grand final gathering with plenty of red and white.

Karyn, whose brother is North stalwart Brian Bearman, said there would be butterflies in the stomach before the opening bounce. 

“You can’t really concentrate on the game because you’re just so nervous.”

Harry started on the club’s rookie list at the beginning of the season but has had a dream year, playing every match en route to the last Saturday in September.

He’s averaged 13 disposals per game and chipped in with 15 goals.

The Swans picked up Harry with pick number 93 prior to the 2012 season. 

“His name seems to be on everyone’s lips but we spoke to him earlier and at the moment he’s keeping calm,” Karyn said. 

“He’s trying to stay out of the media spotlight but it’s a bit hard when it’s grand final week.

“But win or lose it’s a fantastic experience and we’ll all be proud.

“He’s only 20 and some players never get the opportunity to play in a grand final ... he’s very lucky and he knows he is too.”

She added Harry was beginning to developing quite a following in the Silver City, with many becoming honorary Sydney supporters for the day.

“I don’t think they’re giving up their regular teams but plenty keep an eye on how he’s going.”

As is the case in Broken Hill, Harry’s parents Mark and Sandra and his brothers and sisters will be on the edge of their seat.

However, they’ll be in the thick of the action at the MCG. 

The family made the trip from Wagga for the match. 

“All the family are very excited for Harry and we’ll be right behind him,” Mark said.

“He’s had a very good year and to top it off with a premiership would be amazing.”

The midfielder played a key role on North Melbourne’s Brent Harvey in the preliminary final but it remains unclear who he’ll pick up in today’s decider. 

His job on Stephen Hill in the Swans’ qualifying final against Fremantle drew praise from coach John Longmire.

Speaking on SwansTV, Cunningham said he expected to play “a bit forward and a bit on the wing” based on previous matches against the Hawks.

“To experience 2012 as a spectator was great, but I’m glad to be on the other side of the fence as a player, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Cunningham said.

“It was a childhood dream of mine to be in the last weekend of September and to make it a reality this year is amazing.”

Cunningham earned a nomination for the AFL Rising Star Award for his performance against the Giants in Round 15, the club he debuted against in 2012.

For the record, Karyn is tipping a Swans victory by three goals.

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