As their song may suggest, the GWS Giants AFLW team are ready to play their fourth season in the competition, and they are planning to bring the big big sound from the west of the town.
List changes in the off-season have bought in some old faces, experience and new young guns.
Courtney Gum retiring at the end of season 3, and inaugural captain Amanda Farrugia who announced her retirement in November will leave some big shoes for the new recruits to fill.
Alicia Eva who spent the last two season’s as vice-captain will step up to the big role and lead the team with pride.
Talking to defender Pepa Randall, she feels both are really good leaders and bring slightly differing qualities, so the team will not lose anything in the changing of the guard.
Brit Tully is back after a year off, and looking very refreshed according to coach Alan McConnell. Also back on the list is former Victorian Rebecca Privitelli, who was delisted after the 2017 season.
Privitelli stayed in Sydney playing for UNSW Bulldogs and reinventing herself as a formidable forward target. Running out alongside the Gaelic players in Yvonne Bonner and Cora Staunton, the Giants forward line is sure to kick a lot more goals this season.
Georgia Garnett and Maggie Gorham are two of the youngsters picked up in the draft. Coming through the youth girls, then NSW/ACT squads, these two have worked hard to gain the attention of list managers, and are now ready to step up to the ultimate test.
Randall believes the strong culture at the club is key to some improved onfield performances this season, and that culture has been driven by coach Alan McConnell and the players as they tick all the boxes in this pre-season preparation.
“All three of the girls’ form in different ways has been really pleasing and their form has demanded that I pick them all," McConnell said.
What have we learned
A solid hitout in the practice match against Brisbane Lions last weekend, showed some signs of what to expect with some clean rucks wins by Jess Allan and taps to a hard running Alyce Parker.
Allan comes from South Australia, and has a sister playing for Adelaide Crows. She was taken in the 2018 draft by Giants but then elected to focus on her army career for a year. Now back in the side, we are flush with height, with Erin McKinnon and Ingrid Nielson.
Nielson, another of the UNSW Bulldogs had plenty of opportunity to go forward, and showed some elite aerial skills and accuracy with her shots on goal, so may spend quite some time in the forward line.
With the defence end going so well in 2018, there was less focus on that end last season, and often they were caught chasing for the one on one matchups. This season Randall believes they have changed up some structures, and with some solid defenders, will have the right set up to contain the best opposition.
To start off Season 4, the Giants will be at home against new team Gold Coast Suns. Eva believes there is a lot of unknown with the side which can make it a challenge when doing the opposition analysis.
16 players in the Suns squad are yet to play at this level, while they have taken eight important players from Brisbane during the trade period.
Watch out for the Allan to Parker combination, and a few goals from our Irish duo.
Game is at Blacktown International Sportspark, 1:10pm, Saturday February 8.