GWS debate frustrates

Harry Perryman

The pushto restrict GWS Giants’ priority access to southern NSW players is ‘a bit of a slap in the face’ for recent draftees as well as the clubaccording to their academy coach Jason Saddington.

No sooner had the Giants won their first pre-season game against West Coast in Narrandera last weekendthan the simmering dispute over the club’szoning rights againraisedits head.

Butin a staunch defence of their investment and involvement in areas including the Riverina, Saddingtonsaid the academies areabout helping footballers reach their peak.

“It does get frustrating because there’s a lot of great people who do a lot of great work in our programs–from coaches, to parents and the kids themselves,” Saddington said.

“Knowing all the blood, sweat and tears that go into their development, to say they were just going to develop out of the region anyway without all that hard work, it’s a bit of a slap in the face, really.”

The Giants academy supported Matt Kennedy through his recovery from a knee injury in the months before he was drafted in 2015.Rival clubs, particularly in Melbourne, believe the Giants have been handed access to an Australian rules heartland, in particular along the Murray River.

He concedesthe club may be a victim of its own success.

“It’s a bit of both –it’s testament that you’re doing a good job because there’s kids being produced out of the area,” Saddington said.

“The frustration can be that we can say there wasn’t the same quality of player or type of players when we started and I’d say that’s off the back of work we’ve done in the area.”

GWS debate frustrates Williams

Matt Kennedy, Zac Williams and Harry Perryman

Jeremy Finlayson

Narrandera crowd

The Giants were a hit with fans

The Giants were a hit with fans

The Giants were a hit with fans

Leon Cameron is proud of the club’s development of Riverina footballers

Harry Himmelberg

Land of the Giants

The young Giants’ win suggested their talent runs deep again this year.

Matt Flynn

Kennedy shakes hands

Zac Williams

Will Setterfield (Albury)

Fierce contest

Flynn flies

Himmelberg in the thick of the action

Zac Williams keeps the pressure on

Matt Flynn


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