On a six-game winning streak under new coach Adam Kingsley, the Greater Western Sydney Giants have lit up the AFL competition and one of those playing a crucial part is North Broken Hill export Isaac Cumming.
Now with 10 wins over their first 18 games, the Giants are sitting inside the top eight at position seven on the same win-loss ratio as the two teams above them on the ladder, sixth-placed St Kilda and the West Bulldogs in fifth spot, both with a better percentage.
Both last year’s premiers, Geelong, Carlton (ninth spot), plus Richmond (tenth) are just a half a game behind the Giants.
With the machinations of their run home and the quality of the competition the Giants simply must keep winning.
Cumming and his GWS team mates have a pivotal clash at Mars Stadium in Ballarat against the Bulldogs today – Saturday – starting at 1.15pm.
“It has been nice to have a bit of momentum currently,” Cumming suggested in a recent chat.
“This game is a big test for us. It is such a tight premiership table you just have to keen winning to stay in the top eight.”
Back in May, Isaac Cumming was sidelined until the mid-season bye with a calf injury. He returned to the AFL team for the thrilling and low scoring two-point win over Melbourne, being a solid performer with 14 disposals and five marks.
The following week he won 18 touches in the 13-point win over the Hawks, before being involved in the strong come-from-behind triumph over the Crows at Adelaide Oval in round 18.
His consistency continued with a 19-possession, eight-mark game in a strong victory of the Gold Coast Suns.
A medium running defender, the 188cm, 84 kg Cumming is averaging a highly respectable 19 disposals a game across his 12 matches played this season, which included 13.1 kicks along with an above average 389.5 metres gained.
With five rounds left in the regular season, Collingwood look primed at the top of the ladder, and the rest of the top four look settled, with Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne having a decent gap on the rest of the competition.
The Giants are in a large group of 10 clubs within two wins (or eight premiership points) of each other.
The currently 14th placed Gold Coast Suns, who have already sacked their coach Stewart Dew have eight wins, and if they get on a run, could finish with 13 victories and still sneak into the major round.
The Crows (13th) are also currently sitting on eight wins, and have a huge Showdown LIV (#54) match at Adelaide Oval on Saturday evening.
The Sydney Swans are a half a win in front of that pair, on 34 premiership points and a strong percentage of 111.8
Essendon has nine wins currently and in 11th position, but currently have modest percentage of 98.4.
The final five rounds of the AFL regular season promises to deliver plenty of excitement.