The big big sound is headed to the big big cold.

The GIANTS are Ballarat-bound on Saturday afternoon, for the second time in club history, where smack bang in the middle of winter the winds are bone-chilling and the maximum temperature sounds more like the minimum.

The goldfields city is as well known for its climate as its football pedigree with the VFL/AFL goal kicking and coaching records belonging to exports Tony Lockett (1360 goals) Mick Malthouse (718 games).

Playing part-time Ballarat residents, the Western Bulldogs in round 20, the GIANTS will be the away team at Mars Stadium for the first time after hosting the Gold Coast Suns during the pandemic-interrupted 2021 season.

Someone very familiar with the dimensions and quirks of the ground is our prized number one pick Aaron Cadman, who was drafted from the Ballarat-based Greater Western Victoria Rebels last year.

Cadman, who hails from Bacchus Marsh but went to school in Ballarat, kicked 11 goals in three games at the venue last season including a five-goal haul in round eight.

The GIANTS have had links to Ballarat over the journey, some stronger than others.

Steve Clifton was taken with the number one pick in the 2011 rookie draft and, as a 24-year-old, had already won three VFL premierships with North Ballarat and claimed the JJ Liston Trophy for league best-and-fairest before making his AFL debut.

In the GIANTS’ inaugural 2012 season, Clifton, the 41st player to represent the club, played five games before returning to North Ballarat the following season and winning the 2013 JJ Liston Trophy.

You don’t have to be born in Ballarat to spend some of your football pathway there as former GIANT Jacob Hopper can attest.

Hopper spent two years (2014-15) at boarding school at the famous St Patrick’s College, captaining the school to a sixth-straight Herald Sun Shield (Victorian school football competition).

The football nursery has produced more than 120 VFL/AFL draftees including inaugural GIANT and later assistant coach James McDonald, Danny Frawley, Mick McGuane, Liam Duggan and Daniel Rioli.

The chilly conditions of the regional Victorian hub should be second nature for the GIANTS, who call the nation’s capital their second home and are fresh off a big win over the Suns at Manuka Oval last round.

Northwesterly winds, a top of 14 and a medium chance of showers will greet the GIANTS this weekend.


James McDonald (14th player to represent the GIANTS)

Steve Clifton (41)

Tom Downie (54)

Jacob Hopper (72)

Aaron Cadman (121)

Megan Hustwaite is a journalist, GIANTS member and Ballarat product.