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Player Profiles

Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly

Recruited from:
East Brighton (Vic)/Sandringham U18

David Joyce – Head of Athletic Performance

David leads the Athletic Performance Unit. He joined the club at the start of the 2015 pre-season and has worked in professional rugby and soccer both in Australia and in Europe and at two Olympic Games (2008 with Team Great Britain, and 2012 with Team China).

Andrew Bahnert – Senior Athletic Performance Specialist (Fitness and Conditioning)

Andrew is responsible for fitness and conditioning of the players. He ensures the physical load and recovery of players is accurately planned and managed for training and games. Andrew came to the GIANTS from the Adelaide Crows in 2012 with expertise in the use of GPS for physical load monitoring. He has published research assessing physical load and recovery patterns of players across an AFL season.

Alex Natera – Senior Athletic Performance Specialist (Strength and Power)

Alex joined the GIANTS at the end of 2017, having previously spent 4 years as the Senior S+C coach at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in Qatar. He has also previously worked at the South Australian Sports Institute, the English Institute of Sport and Crystal Palace Football Club in the English Premier League.  Alex brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our APU, as well as enhancing the Unit’s international profile, since he is one of the world leaders in programme design and power development.

Mick Byers – Athletic Performance Specialist (Strength and Rehabilitation)

Mick joined the GIANTS full time for the 2016 season, having been a trainee here in 2015. He has gained a lot of experience as both a teacher and a Strength and Conditioning background, where he has worked at Western Force, the Australian Rugby Union Academy and Cronulla Sharks. He is also completing his Masters in S&C. Mick’s day-to-day role sees him look after the strength and power development of the club’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd year players, as well as all injured players. 

James McBrien – Athletic Performance Specialist (Science and Analytics)

James “Cookie” McBrien is our athletic data specialist. He produces detailed reports on the work the players do in training and games and how it affects them. This is critical to ensure that we get the balance between work and recovery absolutely spot on. James previously worked with the GIANTS Academy as a Strength and Conditioning Coach before becoming a founding member of the GIANTS as they entered the AFL competition.

Dean Norris – PhD Scholar / Strength Scientist

Dean joined GWS as a FastTrack Trainee in 2015. He made such an impression that he was awarded the first ever PhD scholarship offered between the GIANTS and Western Sydney University. Dean’s major role at the club is in data analysis, providing great assistance to coaches in his ability to synthesize data into meaningful information. Dean completed an Exercise and Sports Science degree at ACU. He has completed a Masters of High Performance in Sport, also at ACU.

Patrick Dillon – PhD Scholar / Sports Scientist

Pat joined the APU for the 2017 season as our second WSU PhD scholar and sport scientist after spending the previous 2 years at Carlton. He has a Bachelor of Commerce as well as a Bachelor of Sport Science with honours (1st class). His role within the APU is as a sports scientist and has match day roles with both our AFL and NEAFL sides, specifically with GPS monitoring.

Dr Katherine Rae – Chief Medical Officer

Dr Rae joined the GIANTS in 2018 as the Chief Medical Officer. A highly respected sports physician, Dr Rae comes to us from Sydney University where she has worked for close to 20 years. She has been Team Doctor for Australian teams across a wide range of sports and was a competitive runner herself.

Dr Peter Parkes – Club Doctor

Peter joined the GIANTS APU in 2014. A GP with a Diploma in Sports Medicine, Peter brings a wealth of sporting experience to the GIANTS having provided his expertise to a number of teams over the years including; Western Sydney Wanderers (since their foundation year of 2012), the Canberra Raiders and St George's Dragons Junior Rugby League.

Mike Lancaster – Senior Athletic Performance Physiotherapist

Mike joined the GIANTS in the 2017 season, arriving at the club from Worcester Warriors in the English Rugby Premiership where he served as Head of Medical Service for a number of years. Mike was also a team physiotherapist for the England National Rugby team and worked with the Royal Ballet. Mike made an immediate impression at the club in his first year with his injury diagnosis and management expertise and was rewarded with a promotion to Senior Physiotherapist, a role he shares with Luke Heath.

Luke Heath – Senior Athletic Performance Physiotherapist

In charge of rehabilitation and getting injured players back in the game as quickly & safely as possible, Luke Heath plays an integral role in ensuring the coaches have plenty of options at the selection table. Born and bred in Sydney, Luke has previously enjoyed successful stints as a sports physiotherapist at the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Australian Rugby Union, most recently with the ARU National Sevens Program before joining the GIANTS prior to the 2015 season.

Nalesh Murti – Athletic Performance Physiotherapist

Nalesh has been part of the GIANTS Athletic Performance Unit as a full time physiotherapist since 2015. He has previously been part of the APU as an intern physio and also completing his Honors with the club in 2011, as part of the physiotherapy degree that he attained at the University of Sydney. This season Nalesh is our lead NEAFL physiotherapist after having run our AFLW programme in its inaugural year.

Jess Cunningham - Sports Physiotherapist and Movement Specialist

Jess holds a unique role at the GIANTS, using her background as a sports physiotherapist and gymnast to ensure the players' bodies are balanced with optimal alignment and that they have efficient movement patterns. When Jess isn’t working at the GIANTS she works in private practice or travels with the Australian Sailing Team and winter sports. Jess has over 10 years experience with winter sports having travelled with both the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia and New Zealand national teams. She was Australia's snowboard half pipe and ski slopestyle team physio at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Jess also has experience with professional surfers on the ASP surfing tour. 

Holly Brasher - Sports Physiotherapist and Movement Specialist

Holly has consulted to the GIANTS over the past couple of seasons, helping Jess Cunningham out where needed. This year, our Resilience programme has expanded and Holly will be sharing this role with Jess.  An outstanding clinician, she is the Chairperson of the Australian Sports Physiotherapy Association and brings an expertise in Pilates, movement correction and Real Time Ultrasound assessment.

Chris Beckmans - Athletic Performance Physiotherapist

Chris had an outstanding year as our FastTrack trainee in 2017, and was rewarded with a contract to stay on staff this year, where he will continue his development as NEAFL physiotherapist and also work in private practice with Holly Brasher.

Andrew Le-Tang - FastTrack Trainee - Physiotherapy

Continuing the successful APU and Macquarie University Physiotherapy School partnership, Andrew joined the APU at the start of the 2018 season where he forms part of the physiotherapy team by assisting in pre-training screening, assessment and rehabilitation. Whilst he completes his studies will also act as our NEAFL Head Sports Trainer. Andrew is a very hard worker and a former competitive powerlifter.

Jessica Spendlove – Athletic Performance Dietician

Jess graduated her Bachelors degree in Science (Nutrition) in 2007, quickly moving into a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics, graduating from Sydney University in 2010. Jess has been the senior dietician here at the GIANTS since 2014 and also works with our Netball team.  Jess is expecting to complete her International Olympic Committee Diploma of Sports Nutrition this year, whilst simultaneously, Jess runs her own business called the Health and Performance Collective and works as the dietitian for NRL side Cronulla and NBL side Sydney Kings.

Merv Lopez – Head Trainer

Merv has been a sports trainer for over 23 years having worked in the NRL for Penrith, Cronulla and Canterbury. After starting at the GIANTS in 2015, Merv has progressed from NEAFL trainer (2015-2016) to now senior AFL and AFLW sports trainer. His role at the club is to prep players to perform at both training and during games.

Simone Freeman – Athletic Performance Specialist (AFLW & GIANTS Netball)

After initially excelling as a FastTrack trainee in 2016, Simone came onboard in 2017 to lead the design and implementation of Strength and Conditioning for the newly established GIANTS Women’s AFL and GIANTS Netball teams. In addition, Simone continues to help in the delivery of strength programs with the men’s AFL team. Simone has an excellent understanding of what it means to be an elite athlete, having represented Australia in Softball over recent years. In 2017, Sim was awarded the title of ASCA Female Strength Coach of the Year.

Alex Munt – Athletic Performance Dietician (AFLW & GIANTS Academy)

Originally from Adelaide, Alex graduated from the University of Sydney with a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2016 and joins the GIANTS as a nutrition trainee in 2017. Alex has previously been involved with rowing as an athlete and coach at the school and state level. Alex will be helping with overall player performance by being involved with hydration testing, diet planning and player education.

Claire Rees - Athletic Performance Physiotherapist (AFLW & GIANTS Netball)

Claire joined the club at the end of 2017 to take over the reins of our AFLW and Netball sides.  Claire has her Masters in Sports Physiotherapy and has many years working with elite sporting teams across a number of sports including cricket and netball.

Billy Macklin - FastTrack Trainee - Strength & Conditioning

Billy was the number one candidate out of over 100 applicants for this season’s FastTrack traineeship position. An outstanding S+C coach in the making, Billy has previously worked at Canterbury Bankstown in the NRL and at Westfield Sports High School. He is responsible for helping our S+C coaches with the programme design and implementation and is set to be our 2018 NEAFL Runner.

Amanda Gaukroger - FastTrack Trainee - Nutrition & Dietetics

Originally from Canberra where she went to Daramalan College, Amanda will graduate from her Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours) programme at the University of Newcastle in 2018.  Amanda joins our APU this season as our Nutrition FastTrack trainee and will run our NEAFL matchday nutrition and hydration programme.