Irish recruit Eilish O’Dowd continues to impress after taking out the club’s pre-season time trial on Wednesday.

Held in blustery conditions at the VAILO Community Centre, O’Dowd pipped star defender Tarni Evans and running machine Madi Brazendale on the podium as the GIANTS’ AFLW squad took to the track for the annual 1.6km pre-season time trial - known as ‘The GIANT Mile’.

Joining the club as a rookie in January from Ireland where she starred in Gaelic football, O’Dowd was quick out of the blocks alongside Evans and Brazendale before flying home to cross the line just metres ahead of Evans in second and last year’s time-trial winner Brazendale in third.

Bec Beeson and Nicola Barr rounded out the top five, while emerging defender Cambridge McCormick finished sixth.

The GIANT Mile has been a staple of the club’s AFLW pre-season schedule since season seven, with the revised 1.6km distance favoured over the more traditional 2km due to it reflecting a more appropriate and tailored endurance test for AFLW athletes.

“I thought the girls ran hard in very challenging and windy conditions,” said Tom Reddin, the GIANTS’ AFLW Head of Strength and Conditioning and Sports Science. 

“It was pleasing to still see a number of girls do PBs [personal bests]. Cambridge McCormick did a PB while Nic Barr took 24 seconds off her previous time so there were several positives out of it.

“It was the first time Bec Beeson has finished into the top five and the first time Cambridge has been in the top six so that was great to see.”

Reddin said Wednesday’s strong performances came on the back of impressive strength testing held last week, revealing that 15 players recorded new personal bests.

After kicking off pre-season training last week, the GIANTS’ AFLW program will continue to ramp things up over the coming weeks before beginning full match simulation in a fortnight’s time.