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Two-way running the key to improvement

Adrian Warren, AAP  January 13, 2018 11:01 PM

Tom Scully training with the GIANTS at the WestConnex Centre this week. - Tom Scully,GWS Giants,AFL

Tom Scully training with the GIANTS at the WestConnex Centre this week.

We need to work extremely hard on defence to win the ball back, that's a big focus for us to really be more consistent in that area.

He's the two-way running king of the AFL and Tom Scully says his GIANTS side is striving to be recognised for that quality.

Brisbane Lions champion Jonathan Brown last year rated Scully the best two-way runner he'd seen.

Later in 2017, GPS data revealed Scully averaged a League-best 16.6kms per game.

The GIANTS' wingman and foundation player revealed he and his teammates had been concentrating on developing their defence and two-way running as they sought to improve on their preliminary final exits of the past two years.

The GIANTS forwards were criticised in some quarters last year for not applying enough pressure on their opponents.

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"We need to work extremely hard on defence to win the ball back, that's a big focus for us to really be more consistent in that area," Scully said.

"Just be known as a really good two-way running side, something that I focus on in my game.

"I certainly try and lead by example and teach some lads and if I can help in any way, I certainly try my best and do that."

As usual, Scully dominated the pre-season running contests at the GIANTS, winning their pre-Christmas handicap event and this month's 3km time trial.

"It's something I do take a bit of pride in," Scully said.

The GIANTS again look to be frontline flag contenders after falling at the penultimate hurdle in each of their last two campaigns.

"Ideally we would have loved to have gone further than a prelim final, but to finish top four the last two years is pleasing," Scully said.

"But we can't dwell on what's happened over the past couple of years.

"One thing we've learnt is it's such a ruthless and even competition.

"A lot of people wouldn't have picked Richmond to win the premiership last year from where they came from, so there's no doubt every side will be full of optimism at this time of year. We're no different."

The GIANTS have lost more than 750 games of experience with Shane Mumford and Steve Johnson accounting for over half of that tally.

However, they still have 10 players who have accumulated more than 100 appearances and up to eight more could reach that milestone if they go deep into the finals.

"There's no doubt we've lost a bit of experience, but were really confident with the guys that we have brought in," Scully said.

"We've brought in Lachie Keeffe and Dylan Buckley.They have been in the system for eight and six years respectively, so there's a fair bit of experience with those guys."