Several GIANTS shone bright as the club continues to ramp up its pre-season preparations with another round of match simulation at the VAILO Community Centre on Friday.
Playing four 15-minute quarters, the majority of the GIANTS’ playing list was split between orange and charcoal as Adam Kingsley’s high-octane pressure and speedy ball movement was on show for all to see.
While a number of experienced campaigners showcased what we’re accustomed to seeing - with Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly as silky and damaging as ever - it was a number of emerging GIANTS as well as some untapped talent who also stood tall.
Dynamic forward Callum Brown is coming off the best season of his career but if Friday’s match simulation is anything to go by then the speedy Irishman looks set to take his game to another level in 2024.
Showing an innate ability to find space and be in the right spot at the right time, the powerful 188cm forward caused headaches for opposing defenders across all four quarters as he created numerous scoring opportunities for himself and teammates.
Finn Callaghan was another who looks ready to explode in 2024 with the smooth-moving midfielder showcasing his big summer with several eye-catching clearances as he burst from stoppage and covered the ground well to complement his silky skills by foot.
Winner of the GIANTS’ 2023 Rising Star Award, Callaghan looks primed to continue his climb towards being a key cog in the GIANTS side this season, with the 20-year-old set to combine time on the wing with more time as a line-breaking inside midfielder.
A pair of young GIANTS looking to break into the senior line-up also did their chances no harm on Friday, with running machine Jacob Wehr finding plenty of the footy on the wing while athletic draftee Joe Fonti showcased his bag of tricks with a pair of strong marks and some dash and dare off half-back to impress onlookers.
Attacking defender Lachie Ash also caught the eye of those in attendance, as well as that of teammate Tom Green who at one point had to plead with teammates to find out who was opposed to Ash due to his high volume of possessions.
Green too did his 2024 season preparations no harm as the inside bull dominated through the midfield, racking up countless clearances and possessions to show the hype ahead of his fifth season is real.
Another standout from Friday’s match sim was the play of untried 22-year-old Wade Derksen, who after a strong 2023 VFL season put his name in contention for a senior call up with an impressive outing.
The GIANTS’ leading VFL goalkicker last season with 35 majors from 18 games, Derksen was stationed down back in Friday’s session where his powerful 194cm frame was on full display as took several intercept marks as the third tall defender - including a monster pack mark on the shoulders of teammates in the third quarter. Derksen has spent this pre-season training with the defenders.
Aaron Cadman also competed well as he enters his second season, while Josh Fahey found plenty of the footy as he looks to cement a spot in the GIANTS’ 23.
The GIANTS are now just two weeks away from beginning their trial matches, first facing the Swans in Sydney and then the Suns in Canberra ahead of their Opening Round clash with Collingwood at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday, March 9.