Midfield ultimate goal for Cunningham

Permanent fixture: Young Swan Harry Cunningham wants to become a key part of the Sydney midfield. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Permanent fixture: Young Swan Harry Cunningham wants to become a key part of the Sydney midfield. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Sydney youngster Harry Cunningham has set himself the goal of becoming a long-term member of the Swans' powerful midfield after being nominated for the Rising Star award.

Playing mainly as a forward this year, Cunningham has also performed roles in the defence and the midfield but wants to spend more time on the ball in future.

"That's the next step I need to take," said Cunningham, whose last two club mentors - Kieren Jack and Ben McGlynn - have both blossomed into key midfielders.

"They play similar roles in the forward line and midfield and to bounce off those blokes is enormous for me. They're massive impacters on the game and they're leaders on and off the field."

Cunningham's Rising Star nomination, the Swans' first this season, comes after collecting 17 possessions against Greater Western Sydney, which overlooked him in 2011.

Cunningham, 20, was  part of the Giants academy before being secured by the Swans with pick No.49 in the rookie draft of 2011.

He played one game in the Swans' premiership year, another five last year when the club was decimated by injury, but is yet to miss a game this season.

The speedy flanker from Wagga Wagga attributed his success to a strong pre-season but knows there are plenty of teammates in the reserves wanting his berth in a side tipped to head deep into September.

"It just makes you want to get better and improve and cement a spot in the 22," Cunningham said.

"We've got a very good team this year and a lot of guys playing well. It just keeps you on your toes and accountable to improve."

Cunningham hit a flat spot approaching the middle of the year but starred against Gold Coast, kicking a career-best four goals, a week after starting in the substitute's vest.

The ability to pressure and chase are keys in Cunningham's game but knows he needs to make every kick count while playing a role that does not produce a prolific possession count.

"That's the thing, if you're one of those forwards you have to work hard and pressure the opposition, when you do get the ball try to make good decisions and have an impact on the game that way," Cunningham said.

"I've been trying to have an impact with my pressure and that leads to getting the footy and kicking goals. That's always at the front of my mind when it comes to games."

This story Midfield ultimate goal for Cunningham first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.