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Consistency Key for Callan Ward

Ryan Miller  October 24, 2017 2:44 PM

Season Review: Callan Ward GIANTS co-captain Callan Ward reflects on 2017 a season that saw the GIANTS reach a second successive Preliminary Final.
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Callan Ward celebrates a goal during the GIANTS' semi final win over West Coast.

It’s hard to know how to improve it, I think every team is probably striving for consistency and as a player yourself you’re very inconsistent as well so to get consistency is very tough.

If the GIANTS want to improve on their preliminary final finish next season, they’ll need to be more consistent, according to co-captain Callan Ward.

The tough as nails on-baller, who finished runner up in the 2017 Kevin Sheedy Medal, said the GIANTS played patches of football that could see them beat the best but it was their failure to stand up when challenged that saw them fall short of a maiden Grand Final berth.

Ward said the biggest challenge now facing his side before the 2018 season was how to become more consistent and resilient.

“There were times in the year when we played some really good footy and there were times where we played some really ordinary footy, we were really inconsistent,” he said.

“It’s hard to know how to improve it, I think every team is probably striving for consistency and as a player yourself you’re very inconsistent as well so to get consistency is very tough.

“I guess as a group it’s probably (improving) the mental side of it so it’s training, training at a high level. 

“The biggest challenge for us is when we’re challenged on game day we didn’t stand up to that other times we did. Standing up when challenged is the biggest thing for us.”

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Ward was one of only three GIANTS to play every game in 2017, but the 27-year-old said it took him until the back half of the season to begin performing at his best.

“I was pretty disappointed with my first half of the year, the second half of my year improved a bit,” he said.

“My consistency was probably the key thing I was proud of and going into finals I think I played some good football which I think was important.” 

Ward played his fourth preliminary final at the MCG last month and for the fourth time he tasted defeat in the penultimate game of the year. 

Despite having 192 games under his belt, Ward said he still turned to midfield coach Lenny Hayes who lost three preliminary finals and two Grand Finals in a distinguished career for St Kilda. 

“You can lean on those blokes, they give you their advice on how they handled it,” Ward said.

“Lenny had a terrific career in finals alone, he was a standout player in all the big games he played, so to have him as a midfield coach has been great for the group and for me as well.”

While the pain of a preliminary final defeat lingers, Ward said the experience will benefit his side.

Of the 22 GIANTS who lined up in the preliminary final only the likes of Steve Johnson, Brett Deledio, Heath Shaw and Matt de Boer had played in front of a crowd of over 70,000.

“It’s huge playing on the MCG, we don’t play there very often, Besides the final we only played there once throughout this year and then you have the 95,000 people there (so) it gives you a huge lift,” he said.