Magpies eye excess Giants AFL talent

Collingwood football manager Neil Balme has launched another grenade at Greater Western Sydney, saying his AFL club will target the Giants’ overflow of talented young players.

Star midfielder Adam Treloar joined Collingwood from the Giants ahead of this season and the Magpies are eyeing off more of their players.

Balme said the Pies would look very closely at the Giants’ list this year with players needed to be offloaded to accommodate their latest academy crop.

The Magpies’ football chief said there was no way that the 23 first-round draft picks in their squad could get a game so it was “natural” that more Giants youngsters would become available.

“(The Giants) have got an enormous bank of very, very talented players and a fair few of them aren’t going to get an opportunity or aren’t getting a game,” Balme said at the annual Peter Mac Cup Breakfast, ahead of the Magpies’ clash with Carlton.

“We’ll be looking very closely at Greater Western Sydney’s kids and saying, ‘Are there any others that are going to fall out? It’ll be the natural way’.”

The Pies’ already frosty relationship with Sydney was extended to GWS this week with president Eddie McGuire again calling for the AFL to review the Giants’ talent-laden academy zone and generous list concessions.

The Giants have priority access to players who come through the Riverina system at the AFL draft, even if they attend Melbourne boarding schools through their teenage years.

The club were also given early and additional draft picks in their initial seasons, while they still have extra salary cap allowance until 2019.

This prompted GWS chairman Tony Shepherd to threaten to quit, to which McGuire replied on Thursday: “We will miss Tony”.

McGuire said other Victorian club officials should speak up.

“I’m not chairman of the board on this (debate) but what I would like to see is a couple of very, very weak people in football step up for once,” McGuire said on Thursday morning on Triple M.

McGuire said the Giants’ wealth of talent was “getting out of kilter and now is the time to make adjustments before it goes too far”.

Sydney chairman Andrew Pridham made it clear whose side his club was on, labelling McGuire and his Triple M co-hosts “intellectual pygmies” on Twitter.

He said McGuire kept saying the Swans were against the inception of the Giants, which Pridham said was incorrect.

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