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Ready For Impact

By Callum Twomey - AFL Media  February 23, 2015 12:09 PM

Impressive GIANTS mid won't be brought down by second-year blues, says coach.

Impressive GIANTS mid won't be brought down by second-year blues, says coach.

The second year is always tough, because the opposition know about you now, but with the pre-season that he's had, we're really confident he can have a good impact this year.

Josh Kelly is ready to back up his excellent debut year with an even stronger season in 2015, as Greater Western Sydney puts more responsibility on its second and third-year players.
 
Kelly, the No.2 pick at the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, took little time to show he will be a long-term AFL player in his debut season for the GIANTS last year.
 
In 18 games the left-footed midfielder averaged 17 disposals and kicked 13 goals, also underlined his standing as a future leader at the club.  
 
GIANTS coach Leon Cameron said he expected the 20-year-old to move into a more inside midfield role in coming years, and that Kelly was well prepared for the challenges of being a second-year player.
 
"His first year exceeded expectation from myself and the coaching group. We always knew he had an enormous amount of ability, he showed that in his under-18 year and as a junior. But he's just got great balance, composure, and he makes really good decisions," Cameron told AFL.com.au.
 
"He played mostly outside last year, [on the] wing and half-forward, but eventually I can clearly see he's going to be able to play inside as well.
 
"The second year is always tough, because the opposition know about you now, but with the pre-season that he's had, we're really confident he can have a good impact this year."
 
The same applies for Lachie Whitfield. The 2012 No.1 draft choice had a difficult 2014 season dealing with shoulder and foot injuries, and didn't quite hit his peak following an excellent debut year.
 
Cameron said the club had seen solid development within the skilful wingman during his time on the sidelines.
 
"Lachie was fine in the first year and then hit a massive amount of snags in the last year," he said.
 
"We feel that experience that he's had, that resilience that you've got to start to show, is only going to help him going forward.
 
"Clearly he's a talented player, now he's got to put that hard work and energy and effort into it day-in day-out, which we're starting to see, for him to become the player we know he's going to be."
 
Although the GIANTS are still the youngest list in the competition, Cameron said there would be no expectations its new draftees will feature prominently in 2015.
 
Second-round pick Jack Steele has been a standout over the summer and appears the best placed first-year GIANT to secure game time.
 
But Cameron has also recently noticed No.4 pick Jarrod Pickett come out of himself at training, going on more blistering runs and beginning to back himself in the air and near goal.
 
"He's going to take another couple of years in terms of building his motor to adapt to AFL footy, but it takes a while for these kids to say 'Well, I better not show what I can do yet because I haven’t earned the respect from the lads'," Cameron said.
 
"You can clearly just see him saying 'Hey boys, this is what I can do'."