When Jesse Hogan booted 44 goals as a 20-year-old budding Melbourne Demons star, he was everywhere.
A young stud of high draft stock and unlimited potential, Hogan had seemingly delivered on the hype and was being billed as the next big thing. At the time it was unheard of to see a Dees player on the back page of the Melbourne papers, let alone the front, but Hogan’s hot form was a walking headline.
Bob Murphy once (failingly) sledged him as Melbourne’s “great white hope”. Hell, people even started watching Melbourne Demons games…
A similar, yet slightly less momentous, hype train left the station for Aaron Naughton when he tallied 32 goals as a 19-year-old Bulldog. Another took off for teammate Jamarra Ugle-Hagan’s 35 goals as a 21-year-old in 2023.
Ben King (47 as a 21-year-old), Charlie Curnow (34 as a 21-year-old) and Joe Daniher (34 as a 21-year-old) all received similar coverage.
So, I bring up all of this to ask: Why is Freo’s Jye Amiss seemingly flying under the national media’s radar?
Now, I can’t stress this enough: this is NOT a column designed to stir the pot on the East v West debate. We all know that’s been done to death, and in all honesty it’s one of footy’s more tedious arguments from both sides.
First off, I fully understand Amiss’ uphill battle in playing for a Fremantle side that inspires maybe the least amount of headline relevance in the country. Right now, the Dockers are far from an attractive watch, and the reality of the situation is that a lack of media coverage inevitably hurts players like Amiss in getting their due recognition.
But I want to push narrative, geography and the media aside, and focus solely on the footy.
The numbers tell us Amiss kicked 41 goals from 22 games at just 19 years of age in 2023. Good enough for equal 16th on the AFL goals leaderboard, tied with Ollie Henry and Eric Hipwood and ahead of guys like Ben King, Ugle-Hagan and Darcy Fogarty.
Amiss’ efforts are also backed by a series of factors outside the numbers, including:
He had little to no help in terms of a backup key forward threat (particularly when Luke Jackson moved up the ground and filled a Sean Darcy-sized hole in the ruck).
He produced this in what was basically a debut season for the young gun, having missed more than 90% of 2022 with a kidney injury.
He often produced big games in the face of double teams from some of the elite backs (three goals against Steven May and Jake Lever in a road win springs to mind).
All of this equates to a highly impressive season that stacks up well among the best young star forwards mentioned above in this piece.
Yet somehow, national media types can rattle off long lists of the game’s best forwards without so much as a mention of Amiss. One even referred to him as more of a “third or fourth” forward option (looking at you, Dwayne-o and Kane-o).
Okay, now that’s the West Aussie in me cherry-picking a little, fair enough. However, my original question remains valid. How is Amiss not garnering attention? If the analysts are basing their opinions on what they see and not what they hear, how are they missing what Amiss produced in 2023? How are they not excited to see whether he can build on that?
Here at The Mongrel Punt, we have been bullish on Amiss all off-season. HB has compared him to a young Jack Riewoldt for his ability to time leads and somehow mark the footy, despite being out of position. He has been mentioned as someone who could one day be one of the best goalkickers the Dockers have had.
And from the mainstream media?
Amiss now enters his third season in an AFL program having announced himself the year prior. It’s a big campaign looming for a now 20-year-old key forward, who by all accounts (including those of my own eyes) has hit the gym hard over the summer.
He slotted three goals in a recent Freo intraclub game, and looks ready to continue his ascent.
To reiterate, this column is not intended to be a whinge fest about disparity between West and East. Largely, I think the West-based media beat that drum far too frequently, and to their own state’s detriment.
Really, I just wanted to give a young stud his due props, and point out that he’s on a trajectory similar to those viewed as the elite of his age group.
To sum up this far too long-winded yarn… just keep an eye on Jye.