Xavier O’Halloran will become the third GIANT to debut this year when he plays his first AFL game against Essendon tomorrow night.
O’Halloran – a first-round pick in 2018 – will also become the fourth member of his draft class to line up for the club, following 2019 debutants Jackson Hately, Bobby Hill, Connor Idun and Jye Caldwell.
The GIANTS drafted O'Halloran with their third first-round selection in 2018 - No. 22 - after his strong season playing for the Western Jets and Vic Metro under-18 teams.
Playing in the midfield and forward line, he stood out with his explosive speed, his hard running and his ability to go forward and take a mark.
The 20-year-old from Altona was also well-regarded for his leadership skills as a young player, captaining the Jets and his school side at St Bernard's in Essendon, as well as the Metro side.
O'Halloran's debut will follow that of 2019 draftees Tom Green, who played in round one, and Lachie Ash, who has been in the team since round three.
O'Halloran found out from coach Leon Cameron on Wednesday that his long wait to make the senior side was over.
His 2019 season was interrupted by a knee injury that took three months to overcome, making it hard for him to push for a spot in the finals-bound side.
"We were in the opposition meeting, just finding out what Essendon do best and what we're going to do. At the end of the meeting Leon sort of just said two things, and one of them was that I was going to debut," O'Halloran said.
"It sort of still hasn't sunk in yet, to be honest. Obviously I'm excited. I called my parents last night and they were over the moon, so that sort of made me realise it a bit more, but I'm definitely looking forward to it."
O'Halloran spent much of the coronavirus break overcoming an ankle injury, and since returning to the club has impressed the coaches with his strong form in the NEAFL team's scratch matches against the Swans and Hawthorn.
He said he hoped to put his competitiveness and work rate on show in his debut game.
"I think some physicality, put my body on the line for my teammates. A high work rate getting from contest to contest and getting up and down the ground," he said.
O'Halloran is the grandson of former Footscray player Ron McCarthy, who played 42 games for the club and was part of the 1954 premiership side.