Newcomer Aliesha Newman admits her injury-riddled start to life as a GIANT was extremely frustrating but now that she’s fully fit says her focus is on making up for lost time and aiming to impress her new teammates.

Originally recruited by Melbourne as a free agent in 2016, the speedy small forward joined the GIANTS via a trade after 58 games across the Demons, Magpies and most recently the Swans.

One of eight new players at the club for the 2024 AFLW season, the 28-year-old’s time as a GIANT started in tough fashion, with Newman straining her calf, struggling through a foot injury, and then straining her quad as she was forced to watch most of the club’s recent VFLW campaign and the beginning of the AFLW pre-season from the sidelines.

Despite the early road bumps, Newman recently returned to full health and is ready to prove her worth in orange and charcoal.

“I’ve literally just completed my first full unrestricted week of training and it’s been so nice to be out on the track,” a relieved Newman said.

“I kind of was getting a bit annoyed that I hadn’t been out on the track yet and I was thinking how this mob [coaches and teammates] probably don’t even know if I can play footy,” she joked.

“It has definitely been a frustrating couple of months, but fingers crossed I’m good from here, because it all comes in threes and I’ve definitely rehabbed my three [injuries] and so fingers crossed I can stay out on the park for the rest of pre-season.

“We are heading off to Canberra for our pre-season camp this weekend so now I’ll be able to do everything and it’s going to be hard and challenging but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Highlighting recent draftees Kaitlyn Srhoj and Indigo Linde as two who have impressed in her brief time at the club, Newman says she’s settling in seamlessly amongst the GIANTS’ talented young list.

“I'm absolutely loving it,” she said. 

“This group is very young and loves to have fun but also has a very good balance of being able to switch on when need be.

“I’m definitely liking the younger group and they definitely keep me young. It doesn’t feel like I’m in my ninth pre-season.”

Newman will not only bring speed and flair to the GIANTS forward line this season, but some much-needed experience to a young front half featuring superstar teenager Zarlie Goldsworthy.

“They’re a pretty inexperienced forward line with a few of them having played just a few seasons. Now with Alicia Eva down there too, I think between the two of us we can bring experience and leadership and really help out in those areas.”

A proud Indigenous woman of Ningy Ningy descent, Newman recently took the chance to connect with some of her new teammates and educate them on her culture as she took the forward line group through an Indigenous painting activity.

“I was lucky enough to organise cultural event and I taught them how to do a little bit of artwork so that was really fun and something we could kind of connect through.

“For me, being in the competition for so long, it’s about taking the opportunity to educate and showcase my culture and help people understand the excellence that we have across the competition.

“I wanted to not only showcase who I am, obviously being new, but also to get everyone together to be able to tell their story and put that on a canvas so we can stick it up in our forward line room.

“From my point of view, it’s about both remembering where you come from and being proud of that, and being able to reflect a little bit and that’s something we were able to do on the weekend which was great.”

Turning her attention to the upcoming AFLW season, Newman admits the GIANTS’ round four clash against the Swans, a club in which she spent the last two years at, will be an ‘interesting’ occasion, with the small forward still housemates with current Swans’ co-captain Chloe Molloy.

Aliesha Newman celebrates a goal with former teammate Chloe Molloy.

“I’ve got a pretty close relationship with a lot of them still and I live with Chloe so I’m sure the lead up to round four will be interesting but prior to that nothing will change.”

The GIANTS’ AFLW campaign will get under way with an exciting clash with the Bulldogs in Canberra on Saturday, August 31.