Big month ahead for GWS Giants

Greater Western Sydney and their support base will be on trial on Sunday, when GWS begins a four-week stretch which will likely determine if they are legitimate AFL flag contenders.

The Giants host the Western Bulldogs, the first of four successive matches against other finals aspirants.

Next are away games against Adelaide and Geelong followed by a home clash with local rivals Sydney.

The team is riding a club-record five-match winning streak, and a win on Saturday would give them their best ever start to a season.

“The next month is a really good test to see where were at and to see how much we’ve improved since last year,” Giants’ backline veteran Joel Patfull said.

“Although we were in a similar position last year I think there’s definitely a bit more confidence about the group.

“I think we really feel like we’re building towards something pretty good. The foundation’s there, we’ve done the hard work over the pre-season and I think everyone is excited to see what the next step is for us.”

The Bulldogs, who along with the Giants have a 6-2 record this season, will contest their first game outside Victoria in 2016 after starting with seven straight at Etihad Stadium and one at the MCG.

“It’ll be good for the guys to go away together, do a bit of bonding and then play the game and hopefully perform really well,” Bulldogs assistant coach Joel Corey said on the club’s website.

“(But) while we’ve never played up there (Spotless Stadium) before it’s a football ground, and if we do things the way we like to do, and expect to do, it should work on any ground in Australia.

GWS have registered 75 and 91-point thrashings of Hawthorn and Gold Coast respectively in their two previous Sydney home matches this year.

The Giants have made just one change to their side, with midfielder Toby Greene coming back for Jack Steele.

The Bulldogs will give a senior debut to defender Kieran Collins and recalled Lin Jong and Koby Stevens, with Jack Redpath and Matthew Boyd missing through suspension and Bailey Dale omitted.

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