With the AFL Season fast approaching we thought we would list 16 reasons to get excited about the 2016 season. Not long to wait now!
1) Cats Out of the Bag
There are few players in the history of the game more exciting than Steve Johnson. The human highlights reel brings a wealth of experience to the GIANTS’ forward line following his 14-year career with Geelong. He’s joined by former Cats teammate Dawson Simpson who will provide much-needed support in the ruck for Shane Mumford.
2) Fresh Faced Draftees
The next generation of GIANTS are already making an impact ahead of the 2016 season. Big-bodied and battle-hardened, our crop of draftees will be pushing for senior selection sooner than some might think. Expect to hear plenty about Jacob Hopper, Matt Kennedy, Harrison Himmelberg and Matt Flynn this year.
3) Big Crowds and Big Entertainment
The GIANTS made history in 2015 when the “Sold Out” sign was placed on the entry to StarTrack Oval in Canberra for the first time. With some big clashes sure to draw big crowds, it might be safe to book your ticket ahead of time so you don’t miss any of the action.
4) Celebrating Diversity
Widely considered league leaders for celebrating diversity, the GIANTS will host Collingwood at Spotless Stadium on July 9 for Multicultural Round. The marquee match will be worth watching alone, however it’s the colour, noise and various activities around the ground that will make it extra special. GIANTS midfielder Stephen Coniglio has been named a Multicultural Ambassador for the third straight season.
5) A Coleman Chance
Arguably the most exciting young forward in the game, Jeremy Cameron continues to impress each season with his freakish ability. In 2015 he finished second in the Coleman Medal race with 63 goals, only 12 goals behind eventual winner Josh Kennedy from West Coast. Is this the year Jezza tops the AFL?
6) A GIANT Milestone
How quickly time flies! The GIANTS are set to play their 100th match in the AFL against the Sydney Swans in round 12 at Spotless Stadium. The Sydney Derby is heating up as both sides push for bragging rights. This could be a crucial match which will definitely attract a lot of attention.
7) Pickett’s Time
GIANTS Coach Leon Cameron has hinted exciting forward Jarrod Pickett isn’t too far away from making his AFL debut. When asked on Twitter about the 2014 number four draft pick playing this season, Cameron responded with “Yes. Definitely. Has made a clear shift in his work ethic on the track.” Book a ticket to watch “Picketty” in action, it will be worth it.
8) More For Fans
The GIANTS love their passionate fans and 2016 will see members get more and more for their ongoing support. Expect beefed-up post-match events, more opportunities to meet players and random prizes as a way of giving back. Right now the GIANTS are running an “Orange Ticket” promotion which offer money can’t by experiences for lucky members. Keep an eye on the letterbox if you haven’t received your membership pack.
9) Tough and Ready
This pre-season has been both extremely physically and mentally challenging for players. There have been new techniques introduced which have pushed the players like never before. In December the entire squad joined the 2nd Commando Regiment for a gruelling session at Holdsworthy Army Barracks in South-Western Sydney. The 12-hour session was considered the toughest in the club’s history. Boxing has also been a big focus during the off-season.
10) Added Experience
Experience is everything and the GIANTS have added some quality leaders to their coaching ranks this off-season. Former St Kilda champion Lenny Hayes has come on board to mentor and coach the GIANTS’ midfield while highly-regarded former Richmond and Melbourne forward Brad Miller will take control of the club’s NEAFL team. Former Collingwood Premiership skipper Nick Maxwell has also joined the club in a part-time specialist capacity.
11) Rookies Ready To Go
Big bodied and desperate to have an impact this season, Sam Reid and Daniel Lloyd will be rookies on a mission. Give them a chance and they will be ready to step into the rigours of AFL football. Lloyd is a powerful mid-sized forward recruited from the NSW Central Coast while Reid re-joins the list after spending the last two seasons as a development coach.
12) New Insights
Want to be closer to the action than ever before? You’re in luck because 2016 promises to take fans behind closed doors and into the inner-sanctum more than ever. To kick things off GIANTS Coach Leon Cameron has joined Twitter to get closer to fans and offer a unique voice on both match day and throughout the week. Co-captain Phil Davis has also launched an official page on Facebook which will host live Q&As and post photos from his perspective.
13) Grudge Matches
Can’t wait to see Steve Johnson play his old club Geelong? Or see what happens when the GIANTS cross paths with Adam Treloar for the first time since he joined Collingwood? There will be a few grudge matches in 2016 which could have a little bit of feeling in them.
14) Mummy Unleashed
When fit Shane Mumford is arguably the league’s most damaging big-man however a nasty ankle injury in Round 11 last year sidelined the ruckman for the second half of the 2015 season. After a solid rehabilitation period and lots of time in the gym, expect “Mummy” to wreak some havoc on opposition players.
15) New Opponents on Home Turf
This year will see the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle visit Spotless Stadium for the first time. The GIANTS lost to both teams in 2015 but will it be a different story this season on home turf? Time will tell.
16) Chance at History
The GIANTS have improved each season in the AFL, recording their best ever year in 2015 with 11 wins, 11 losses and finishing 11th on the ladder. With another big pre-season under their belt, could this be the first year the AFL’s youngest club makes the final eight? Grab your membership and potentially be a part of history as the GIANTS push toward September.
There’s 16 things to be excited about this season so grab your GIANTS membership and come along for the ride - membership.gwsgiants.com.au