The Rise of GWS Giants: From Formation to Two-Time AFL Premiership Preliminary Finalists

GWSTom Scully had the world at his feet in the summer of 2012 after emerging as one of the best youngsters in the AFL. He had justified his status as number one draft pick by winning the Harold Ball Memorial Trophy and had established himself as a key pillar in the Melbourne midfield. He could have coasted at the Demons, but he made the bold decision to uproot to Sydney and join the newly formed GWS Giants as their $6 million marquee man. The 20-year-old had to grow up fast as he was expected to be a leader in an extremely young team. Thrashings were commonplace as the new team was finding its feet and Scully took all manner of stick from rival fans, particularly the Demons crowd, but he now stands on the brink of greatness and his decision could be entirely vindicated.

Scully celebrated his 100th appearance for the Giants this season and he has been the consummate professional, which has allowed him to mentor his teammates and aid their development. He never bit when the fans goaded him and he has led by example on and off the pitch. He now stands as one of the greatest athletes in the AFL and possibly the best two-way runner in the business, with fantastic football ability and the respect of his peers. Scully has been on an upward curve for several years now and the team has followed that curve.

Tom Scully

The Giants racked up just three wins in their first two seasons, which is understandable as they were a new club. But in their third campaign, 2014, they won six games, and increased that to 11 in 2015. Last year they made it all the way to the preliminary finals and were agonisingly close to making the Grand Final – just one kick away, in fact. They were two goals up against the Bulldogs, but somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was a shattering experience for Scully and his tearful teammates, but they have responded emphatically this season and have a great chance of redemption this coming weekend.

For a team that was only founded five years ago to be going into its second consecutive preliminary finals is a fantastic achievement. They have had a great season and Scully has been central to it, alongside Dylan Shiel, Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly. But they are faced with a really tough challenge now against Richmond in the preliminary finals as they have to travel to an MCG stadium that has not been kind to them, overcome a pro-Richmond crowd and defy the odds. Check out the latest AFL odds and you will see that Richmond are the $1.62 favourites, while the Giants are out at $2.45. They are underdogs, but not overwhelmingly so, and it should prove to be a fascinating contest.

The aforementioned midfield quartet should cause the Tigers all sorts of trouble, while rebounding pair Nathan Wilson and Zac Williams will be exceptionally dangerous if they are given enough space to hurt Richmond. But the Giants have to overcome their MCG hoodoo if they are to progress to the Grand Final. They have won just once in 11 visits there and have typically faltered in front of large crowds. Some 90,000 fans will pack into the stadium on Saturday and the Giants will have to embrace the cauldron of animosity, overcome the baying mob and thrive in the face of adversity.

GWS have a great young team and it is time for them to really take the next step, and having experienced and mature leaders like Scully and former Tiger Brett Deledio can only help them do so. There have been highs and lows over the past five years, but that has fostered a great resilience in this group. Reaching the Grand Final would be a magnificent achievement and it would reward the fans and players like Scully that have stuck by the club through thick and thin. “If you dare to dream it would be the ultimate, but we’ve just got a bit of work to do,” Scully said. It will not be easy, but it is time for the Giants to live up to their name. The value is on the Giants as the odds are attractive, and certainly the 1.91 available on them with a +8.5 handicap looks great.

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February 10, 2019 by : Posted in Blog No Comments

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