The GIANTS hit the road for a big clash with the Hawks in Tasmania over the weekend and we take you behind the scenes for a rare insight into what was a chaotic and unpredictable road trip.

Friday, June 7:  Tassie Here We Come 


Star midfielder Tom Green has an earlier start to the day than most of his teammates with a radio interview over the phone with SEN Tassie to discuss the upcoming trip to the Apple Isle to take on the Hawks.


Following his radio commitment, it’s almost time for Green and his teammates to hit the road for round 13 but first a quick meeting at the VAILO Community Centre is in order as well as their weekly captain’s run where the players have a light kick to get the legs moving.


With their work on the track complete and a big week of preparation over, it’s time to make the trip south as a cohort of more than 50 players, coaches and GIANTS support staff make their way to Sydney Airport.

After a quick waltz through security the squad checks into the Virgin Lounge where pre-selected sandwiches from South Dowling Sandwiches are organised by dietician Mel McElroy and hand delivered to players, coaches and staff by popular club logistics manager, Ady.

There is a relaxed mood amongst the group in the Lounge aside from Green, who is one of several GIANTS watching game one of the NBA Finals on his phone - with the 23-year-old intently watching in a dissatisfied manner as his favourite player Luka Dončić and his Mavericks are no match for the Boston Celtics.

With the flight to Launceston slightly delayed, the group finds different ways to kill the time, with Jake Riccardi seen playing an Italian card game with Italian members of the high-performance staff, while Kieren Briggs sends out a fantasy football invite for the upcoming EURO 2024 soccer tournament which is quick to gain his teammates’ attention.


With the boarding call announced it is time to hit the gate as Green’s decision to grab a bowl of soup from the Lounge buffet is poorly timed as he’s now forced to chow it down to join his teammates as they embark towards the gate.

Onboard flight VA1090, it is smooth sailing into Launceston, with midfielder James Peatling watching golf videos on YouTube to keep himself entertained for most of the relatively short flight.


The GIANTS descend into a brisk but beautiful Launceston just after 4pm where skipper Toby Greene only manages to make it to the baggage carousel at the airport before several eager fans descend upon the superstar for a selfie – with the humble skipper happy to oblige in his typical no-fuss manner.

Once bags are collected and the fanfare is dealt with then it was onto the team bus for a quick trip to the team hotel where everyone is given some time to settle in ahead of the upcoming team meeting at 5:30pm.

Meanwhile Xavier O’Halloran completes a quick radio interview from his hotel room with 7HOFM Hobart’s Water Boys program ahead of the clash with the Hawks.


With the travel for the day over and the players and coaches no longer required to wear team gear, a much more casual and relaxed-looking group descends into the hotel’s function space for a team meeting run by coach Adam Kingsley.

Greene and Brent Daniels are first on the scene as the dynamic forward duo pour themselves a cup of tea before their teammates join the meeting by the strict 5.30pm start time.

‘Kingers’ begins his meeting by focusing on the keys to Saturday’s clash with the Hawks followed by a video highlighting the Orange Tsunami at its best.

A big fan of rock and heavy metal music, Kingsley finishes the meeting by joking that the rap music in the highlights video - which he wasn’t responsible for choosing - is “the worst song I’ve ever heard.” The skipper disagrees.


Following the meeting the players settle in for a team dinner at the hotel ahead of an early night, while the coaching and support staff venture down the road for a group dinner of their own where delicious Tassie lamb is the popular choice at a restaurant chosen by the team’s dietician Mel.

Saturday, June 8: Game Day


Game day is here and it’s fair to say the Tassie weather gods are testing the GIANTS who awake to freezing temperatures as strong winter fog covers the skies of Launceston.

The early-rising Kingsley is the first GIANT spotted in the hotel foyer as he braves the zero-degree weather in shorts and a jumper to grab a coffee and take a stroll to the popular Launceston Gorge.


Upon his return, Kingsley - alongside assistant coach Jeremy Laidler - leads the GIANTS ‘Run Club’ consisting of nine brave staff members on a 7km run from the hotel lobby to the Gorge and back in the extremely frosty and foggy conditions.


The players have the morning to themselves ahead of the 11:25am bus to UTAS Stadium and so Peatling, O’Halloran and Aaron Cadman lead a group through the zero-degree temperature for a short stroll to a nearby café, while the rest prefer to stay and eat breakfast in the warmth of the toasty hotel - including the late-riser Green who only just manages to make the breakfast buffet seconds before closing time.


It’s time to hit the road as most of Saturday’s side and support staff board the team bus for a quick trip to UTAS Stadium for a meeting with the Hawks.

A common occurrence, an ‘early car’ and a ‘late car’ also take players and staff to the venue to accommodate those who like to arrive earlier or later than the team bus, with Green, Greene, Harry Himmelberg, O’Halloran, and the returning Callum Brown all arriving 25 minutes after their teammates in the ‘late car’ on this occasion.

12pm:  Arrival at UTAS Stadium

The side is in great spirits upon arrival to the venue as players are quick to check out the impressive surface of UTAS Stadium as they get familiar with a ground many haven’t played at before – including Peatling who reveals he’s only been to the venue as a spectator but never as a player until today.

Another newcomer to playing at the venue, Cadman runs through his goal kicking routine as he takes shots by himself from numerous angles.


While players get familiar with their surroundings and prepare in their own unique ways, the team’s dietician Mel lays out an assortment of pre-game snacks and hydration for the team, with bananas, lollies, caffeine gels, hydrolytes, rice crackers, jellybeans and pretzels amongst the vast spread of fuel at the players’ disposal.

Mel also prepares 23 individual containers marked with each player’s jumper number filled with what every play prefers to consume at half-time, which she'll have sitting and waiting for them at the half-time break - with Mel revealing Himmelberg prefers a Red Bull at half-time each week, while young gun Darcy Jones enjoys a sandwich in his individualised container when he’s in the team.


As Mel continues her food prep, the side is called into the small and cosy meeting room inside the away change rooms at UTAS Stadium where ‘Kingers’ gives his charges his pre-match address on the keys to taking down the Hawks.


Following the meeting the mood in the changeroom is fun and relaxed - with O’Halloran proudly confirming he is the DJ for the day and responsible for the house and EDM playlist getting the vibes up as it is blasted through the speaker situated in the middle of the changeroom.

Connor Idun, Harvey Thomas, Toby Bedford, Himmelberg and travelling emergency Conor Stone continue their pre-game prep as they juggle a soccer ball - a common pre-game occurrence - while Jesse Hogan auditions for the circus as he gets his hand-eye co-ordination on point by juggling with tennis balls and a footy. Meanwhile Sam Taylor is getting into the spirit of the French Open as he practices his forehand by himself against a wall to the side of the changerooms.

Emerging star defender Leek Aleer is less active than others as he sits calmly and quietly in front of his locker enjoying a read of this week's AFL Record – a habit he says he’s started in the last few weeks on game day.

Players are also seen weighing themselves on a set of scales in order for Mel to individually tailor each player’s post-game rehydration and recovery based on how much weight they lose during the game.


A whistle by the club’s head of high-performance at 1pm sharp indicates it’s time for the team’s on-ground warm-up as the players amp each other up and embark as a unit onto UTAS Stadium for several drills and run throughs.


With the warm-up complete, the players return to the changerooms as assistant coach Brett Montgomery makes his way to the boundary line for a quick pre-match radio interview with SEN Tassie.


Game time is nearing as the players go through their final prep with lane kicking and tackling as the vibe continues to build in the changerooms with ‘Heads Will Roll’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from O’Halloran’s playlist providing an upbeat mood.


The music is silenced for the final moments of preparation as some of the boys hug it out while players still in their warm-up tops exchange them for their playing jumpers which have been neatly hung in order of jumper number on a clothing rack to the side of the room. Greene’s iconic number four jumper is awaiting in both short and long sleeve versions in case the skipper is feeling extra chilly in the Tassie conditions and wants to opt for the long sleeved jumper.  He decides to go with the traditional jumper.


Ready for battle, Greene gathers his troops in a tight-knit huddle for some words of inspiration before leading the side onto UTAS Stadium and through the banner as the big big sound is blasted throughout venue.

‘Kingers’ trails behind the team where he’s stopped at the boundary line for a quick on-air chat with Fox Footy before making his way to his customary position at the bench where he has preferred to coach from for the last 12 months.

1:45pm: Game Time

After Greene takes part in the captain’s coin toss in the middle of UTAS Stadium, he shares a final word with his side before the teams take their places and the ball is bounced.

2:55pm: Half-Time

Up by three goals, the GIANTS enter the rooms led by Greene who is holding his new helmet after copping an accidental elbow from Hawk defender Sam Frost which split the skipper’s head open.

The side quickly disperse into their three lines groups, with their individual containers with their half-time fuel all placed at their feet, with Greene quick to smash down a banana as Himmelberg has his Red Bull.

Assistant coach Ben Hart shows the midfielders vision of what’s working and what’s not, while forwards coach Laidler and defensive coach Montgomery share words with their lines in a similar fashion.

Toby McMullin, the sub for the day, is seen smashing some pre-workout to get himself raring to go if he’s called upon to enter the game in the second half, before ‘Kingers’ brings the group together in the cramped meeting room for some half-time words of wisdom.

After Kingsley’s words and some time for a breather, the half-time break is over as the GIANTS march back onto UTAS Stadium, with ‘Kingers’ heard encouraging midfielder Green to “keep hunting the footy” after a strong first half with 17 possessions.

A notable appearance in the rooms as the players return to the field is the late arrival of assistant coach Shane Mumford and doctor Bassam Moses, who missed the entire first half after their Saturday morning flight into Launceston was diverted to Hobart due to fog - with the duo having to hire a car in Hobart and drive two-and-a-bit hours to Launceston just to make the game by half-time.

4:30pm: Post-Match

A heartbreaking one-goal loss presents a sombre mood in the change rooms as the players exit a post-game team meeting to the smell of ham and cheese toasted sandwiches prepared by Mel as recovery and rehydration kicks into gear.

A tough day at the office is soon compounded as GIANTS staff receive news from the club’s operations staff that Launceston Airport is closed for the night due to intense fog - meaning the club’s scheduled flight home to Sydney at 7pm from Launceston Airport is now a no-go and contingency plans must be activated

As family and friends enter the room to mingle with players and coaches, GIANTS staff work vigorously in the shadows to find last-minute accommodation and back-up flights for the 50-odd person travel party

Meanwhile post-match media commitments ensue, with ‘Kingers’ taken to another room by club media staff for his post-match press conference, while O’Halloran has another radio commitment over the phone following his career-high four goals.

Uncertainty around the team’s travel arrangements is then cleared up following swift admin by GIANTS staff, with the room informed that the new travel plans include a more than two-hour diversion to Hobart via bus where the club will stay for the night as a flight out of the Tassie capital the following morning is organised. 

6pm: Hobart Here We Come

Showered and ready to roll following the game, the team finish chowing down their post-game burritos and diverge to the team bus as the club makes its way from the north to the south of Tasmania where four different hotels have been booked to accommodate the large GIANTS cohort at last minute. 


An hour into the journey south and a request by Greene on behalf of the players to stop somewhere for snacks is granted as the bus pulls over in the famed small town of Campbell Town - an iconic pit stop for any Tasmanian or visitor-alike venturing between Hobart and Launceston. The fog is still causing issues with it hard to see more than a few metres ahead on the road.

While the team shuffles into the local service station to fill up on snacks and drinks, Jesse Hogan takes time for some fans as a mother takes a photo of the star forward with her two young children.


The two-hour bus trip to Hobart is complete and it’s time to call it a day as the players are dropped to their hotel followed by three more hotel stops for the remainder of the GIANTS’ coaching and support staff.

Music to the ears of many is received just before bed, with an email shared soon after reaching the hotel that a flight just after 10am back to Sydney tomorrow morning out of Hobart has been secured.

Sunday, June 9: rest and recover Travel Day (take two)


Following a well-earned early night, it was time to hit the road again and return to Sydney as the team bus makes the rounds around Hobart to collect the group from their different hotels and depart to Hobart Airport.

After a quick trip through security, the group was quick to find some empty seats and relax ahead of the flight in the waiting lounge.

While a host of players sign autographs for a polite young fan, the assistant coaches use the down time to analyse the game against the Hawks on their laptops to determine what worked well and what didn’t as they look to turn things around against Port Adelaide at ENGIE Stadium next week.


The boarding call is made over the PA and slowly but surely the club makes its way to the gate and onto the flight home, with ‘Kingers’, Mumford and Hart forming a jam-packed row 13.

12:25pm: Honey We’re Home

More than 15 hours later than expected and the road trip has come to an end as the GIANTS land safely in Sydney as the group is quick to exit the airport and make their way home for a well-earned Sunday afternoon break.

Monday:  Review day Day off

While Monday was originally the GIANTS’ review day and ‘flush day’ - where they do some light work to flush out any stiffness or soreness from the weekend -  the high performance staff chose to switch the players’ day off this week from Tuesday to Monday due to the extra travel -  a decision which was no doubt music to the ears of many but none so more than Green who can now watch game two of the NBA Finals from the comfort of his couch on Monday morning.

While not the result they were after in Tasmania, the young GIANTS side will take valuable lessons from Saturday’s loss and now look forward to the opportunity to bounce back in a blockbuster clash with Port Adelaide at ENGIE Stadium on Sunday at 4pm.