One of the heart and soul players of the GIANTS’ VFL side will celebrate a special milestone this weekend, with skipper Ryan Hebron set to play his 50th game in GIANTS colours as the club takes on the Blues in Blacktown.

Following stints with Werribee and the Swans’ VFL side among others, Hebron has established himself as a key piece of the GIANTS’ VFL program since joining the club ahead of the 2022 season.

Recruited by the club from their crosstown rivals, Hebron made an immediate impact at the GIANTS, with the courageous defender named the club’s inaugural VFL captain before even playing a game in the orange and charcoal.

Now in his third season as VFL skipper, Hebron admits it took time to feel up to the task of being captain in a team alongside several AFL-listed GIANTS each week.

“I was definitely proud to be named skipper, but I guess when I started there was a bit of imposter syndrome because you’re at a club with a lot of AFL players making up the team and I’m obviously a VFL player with a full-time job,” Hebron said looking back.

“But since then I’ve felt much more comfortable and I’ve just tried to lead by example and really buy into the club and the system and play my role as best I can.

“I know I can’t be the best player on the team like say a Toby Greene, but I can be a really authentic leader that brings a different perspective and leadership style to the team, and I really want to support my teammates to reach their potential.

“The boys have really accepted and supported what I bring to the team and that’s been really nice.”

The 27-year-old, who is an exercise physiologist, says it’s been an eventful but exciting journey as a GIANT as he prepares to run out for the club for the 50th time on Saturday.

“A lot has happened since I started in such a short period. We’ve had a changeover in the AFL head coach and the VFL coach and that was a challenging period,” Hebron said.

“But the club is in such an optimistic and exciting position now and I feel I’m a part of that and the VFL program is a part of that, and I’m really enjoying the direction that the club as a whole is heading in.”

Hebron’s 50-game milestone comes as the GIANTS aim to win their fourth straight match on Saturday following impressive wins over Port Melbourne, the Swans, and the Sharks, who were riding a seven-game winning streak before falling to the GIANTS.

“It’s been a really good stretch recently. Obviously with the VFL competition, the nature of it means that some weeks you’re flying and then things can change quickly within one or two games as you might get some injuries or lose players [to the AFL side], but we’ve overcome a bit of a rough patch and now we are playing the best system we’ve ever played as a group.

“We’ve got a lot of boys, VFL and AFL listed, that are really maturing and evolving as players.

“We’ve beaten three pretty strong teams so there is definitely a lot of optimism in where we can take the season and there’s no ceiling on what we can do in this competition. We know we have the team and game plan to go deep in finals.”

Hebron will celebrate his 50th game for the club when the GIANTS host the Blues in Blacktown at 1:05pm on Saturday, ahead of the club’s huge AFL clash with the Blues later that night as part of Welcome Game at ENGIE Stadium.