AFL Giant Griffen more of a team man

Hitting form at the business end of an injury-marred season, GWS Giants veteran Ryan Griffen is thriving as a team man rather than the go-to guy.

Griffen is one of just six Giants with finals experience, having logged 11 games in four September campaigns with former club Western Bulldogs.

The 30-year-old midfielder plans to be a calming influence on his many less experienced colleagues heading into the club’s maiden finals match on Saturday week against local rival Sydney.

Griffen is more of a role player at the Giants than the top dog he was in the Bulldogs’ kennel.

The Dogs failed to make the finals in his last four seasons at the club but during that time he emerged as their star player, winning back-to-back best and fairest awards in 2012-13 and captaining them in his final season there in 2014.

Surrounded by so much young talent at GWS, Griffen has taken on a different role.

“I feel like there’s a lot of talent around me, so I can sit back and then help these younger guys get into the game,” he told AAP on Thursday.

“It’s not all about you getting the ball, you being the hit-to player.

“You might block for someone, you might go third man up.

“It’s like I play more of a team game here.”

Griffen struggled for consistency in his first year at GWS in 2015 but produced some sparkling football this season between back and hamstring injuries which sidelined him for nine games.

“The last three weeks I’m back to feeling good and getting that fitness back and a lot more confident,” Griffen said.

He said the their capacity for hard work allied to their special talent made the Giants a pretty potent combination.

“I’m 30 now and my career has gone pretty quick but working with a young group is great because it keeps you young,” Griffen said.

“I just actually love watching them grow. There’s certain guys like Stephen Coniglio, who is taking his game to a new level, and Toby Greene.

“Just watching these guys and how hard they work, you feel really good for them.”

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