One Giant leap
Friday, 11th May, 2018
By Tyler Hannigan
Broken Hill’s Isaac Cumming will make his long-awaited AFL debut this weekend when the GWS Giants host the West Coast Eagles at Spotless Stadium in Sydney.
Cumming was taken with pick 20 by the Giants at the 2016 national draft having been a part of their academy for a number of years. Before being drafted, Cumming won Under 18s and League premierships with the North Football Club.
He spent the entirety of 2017 playing for GWS’ reserves in the NEAFL, eventually winning the NEAFL Development award at the Giants’ best and fairest night last year. That form continued into 2018 where he has regularly featured in their best players and found a lot of the football.
Cumming started the season with 27 disposals, 5 marks and 6 tackles against the Sydney Swans reserves, followed that up with 30 touches against the Gold Coast reserves and a season high 33 possessions and nine marks against Southport last weekend.
This terrific form has seen Cumming named as an emergency on countless occasions - including as the travelling emergency last week for the game in Geelong - before finally getting the call up to face the Eagles tomorrow.
“I’m very excited,” Cumming told Giants media.
“I got the call Wednesday afternoon and have been counting down the minutes since. I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s been a long time coming, especially with not getting an opportunity last year, but I suppose last year was a good learning experience.”
Cumming is sure to have a huge contingent of family and friends making the trip to Sydney and he said he’s grateful for the support.
“It’s absolutely blown up back home, the footy club has gone crazy, they’re as happy as I am,” Cumming said.
“It’s a bit difficult for Broken Hill people to get to Sydney because flights are so expensive but what people are doing to get here is ridiculous so I’m very glad that some of them can come.”
Cumming is set to play on the half-back flank, using his exceptional ball skills to rebound from defence and set up the attacking moves for the Giants.
His debut is the second from a Broken Hill-born player this season with Kobe Mutch, who was taken in the same draft as Cumming, making his senior debut for Essendon against Melbourne in round six.
Cumming will also be the fourth North Bulldog in recent history to play in the AFL after Dean Solomon (Essendon and Fremantle), Taylor Walker (Adelaide) and Mutch.
The North connection remains solid with Walker one of the first to congratulate Cumming on his debut.
“Me and ‘Tex’ (Walker) keep in touch pretty often as he does with Lachie Tiziani as well,” Cumming admitted.
“He found out on Wednesday when I did and he gave me a buzz and just told me to enjoy it. He didn’t tell me how to play or what to do when I’m out there, just to simply enjoy it and have fun.”
The Giants are reeling after being belted by Geelong last Friday night by just over 10 goals and are desperate to find some form at home. That will be no easy task against the second-placed Eagles who have lost only one game - in round one versus Sydney when Lance Franklin kicked eight goals.
GWS has made three changes to their side with experienced players Jeremy Cameron and Rory Lobb joining Cumming as the inclusions with Dylan Buckley, Jonathan Patton and Nick Shipley all omitted.
West Coast will be without star ruckman Nic Naitanui who was controversially suspended as well as gun midfielder Luke Shuey and Jack Petruccelle. Young players Brendon Ah Chee, Fraser McInnes and Brayden Ainsworth come in.