The Adam Kingsley era may still be in its infancy at the GIANTS but its No.1 player success story to date is the emergence of Brent Daniels as one of the AFL's premier small forwards.

The pint-sized dynamo may have been a fair way down the list of the GIANTS' forward threats at the start of the campaign but at the midway point, he has materialised into one of their most menacing.

After missing all of 2022 with a debilitating hamstring injury, Daniels has kicked 16 goals in 10 games this year, including three in the season-saving win over Geelong on the weekend and four against flag fancy Brisbane.


Inside attacking 50, he is sixth for tackles across the competition.

His start to the season has led to him being mentioned in All-Australian squad discussions and, while that may make some on the outside take notice, those in the know at the GIANTS have been bullish about Daniels' potential for some time.

"I had a pretty strong pre-season, so I took some confidence out of that. But I'm 24 years old now, so to be honest, I'm ready to play the best footy of my career," he told

"Just to be able to play, consecutive footy. It's been a long time since I've been up to do that. So, I'm just really relishing that at the moment."

It's been a long road to recovery for Daniels – one that took him via the United States and the University of Wisconsin in search of a cure to his hamstring woes.

It's an investment that is clearly paying off for the GIANTS.

"Yeah, it was a lot to do with trial and error to be honest," Daniels said.

"Trying new things in the gym, changing my running program a little bit and a little bit of stuff with my diet as well, dropping a few kilos here and there."

The Bendigo Pioneers product was able to embark on his rehabilitation program with the comfort of a four-year contract, which underlined how much faith the GIANTS had in his ability.

While that faith is being rewarded now, he admits there were times that he wondered if his body would let him showcase his undoubted talent.

"That's a little bit deep but I guess you do have those thoughts," Daniels said.

"I signed the contract just before I started having my injury troubles, so I always had that in my back pocket.

"It's just one of those things that every player needs to go through. Obviously, it was longer than I wanted it to be, but you learn a lot throughout that time. I did have those thoughts, but they weren't very big."

When the tough times started to mount for Daniels, he had a fellow country boy to provide some critical support.

"My housemate, Harry Perryman, has been big for me. Living with him, he's seen what I've been through. There's been some tough times at home where I've been pretty upset, but he's always been positive with me.

"He's a country boy as well, so last year he let me come back to his farm for a few days when I was in the middle of the injuries and that was a great time for me just to get away and relax a little bit."

"Toby Greene's been massive for me as well. We see the player he is, he's huge on belief and he's really instilled that in me, and he's been one of my biggest supporters since I got to the club."

The new coach's style has helped as well.

Daniels has never been short of admirers at the GIANTS, having played every game in the Grand Final run of 2019 under Leon Cameron.

But the 'quick and fast, high-pressure game' of Kingsley has suited Daniels superbly and the new man in charge couldn't be happier.

"He's an enormously valuable player for us. He's so electric and dynamic around contests. He has that real hunter's mentality around the ball," Kingsley said.

"He's been at that level since he's been back. He didn't play a game last year, spent 590 days between games. He's been one of our most important players and continues to have an enormous impact."

Those sorts of accolades are starting to resonate around the AFL landscape for Daniels but the man himself isn't overly fussed.

"I think it's a little bit premature. You don't play to get recognised; you just want to play your role for the team. But I guess it is nice, we don't get too much of it up here in Sydney."

The talk around Daniels will only grow if the GIANTS can string together some more wins.

They're searching for back-to-back victories for the first time this season against Richmond at home on Sunday, with the unexpected triumph away to Geelong providing a springboard for their campaign.

"Yeah, it's massive for us. It's big for the belief in the group that we can beat good teams. We just want to continue to play our GIANTS way. That's the main thing for us and we think if we do that then the wins will just follow," Daniels said.

This weekend is the first reunion with new Tiger Tim Taranto, the GIANTS' best and fairest winner from their memorable 2019 season, and Daniels said it could get a little tense at times with their long-time teammate.

"I'm sure a few of us will get into him a little bit, but nah, Tim's a great guy," he said.

"He played some great football for us, he was here for five or six years and he gave a lot to the football club."