While a number of key GIANTS have been struck by injury, one young GIANT is turning heads with his form. 

Second-year defender Lachie Ash is relishing the greater responsibility in 2021 and has had an impressive start to the season.

After playing 12 games in his debut season, the 19-year old hit career highs in several key areas in round three including disposals (24), marks (six) and AFL Fantasy points (91). 

The Katandra-product bases his game on teammate Lachie Whitfield and was recognised for his debut season with the club’s Rising Star Award at the 2020 Kevin Sheedy Medal.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 04: Connor Idun of the Giants congratulates Lachie Ash of the Giants after stealing the ball during the round 3 AFL match between the GWS Giants and the Melbourne Demons at Manuka Oval on April 04, 2021 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

The number four pick from the 2019 draft learnt his craft off Heath Shaw and Zac Williams in 2020, but with the duo no longer at the club, GIANTS fans have seen more run and carry from Ash as well as a sharp rise in his stats.

Ash has almost doubled his average disposals from 11.3 to 20.7 per game as his rebound-50 numbers have shot up from 1.3 to 4.3 per game.

His metres gained within a game has also climbed from 155m to 376m from 2020 to 2021 including a career-high 488 meters gained in the season opener at GIANTS Stadium

The 19-year old has also caught the attention of prominent football commentator and 1988 Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy.

“It’s one of the great positives for the GIANTS supporters, sitting at home and around the country, seeing a kid like Lachie Ash coming through,” said Healy on Fox Footy during the disappointing round two loss to Fremantle.

“He’s a super talent.”

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Healy backed up his praise the following week by saying “he’s having his best game as an AFL footballer by a long way” when the young defender laid a goal-saving tackle at the end of the third quarter.

Based off last week’s team, Ash is one of seven GIANTS in line to play at the MCG for the first time in their AFL career this Saturday night against Collingwood.

If he continues in his rich vein of form from the first three rounds, the wide open spaces could suit the driven, young defender.