They’ve had their ups and downs, but GWS Giants stalwarts Jon Patton and Adam Tomlinson have started to deliver on their undoubted potential.
Key forward Patton and utility Tomlinson have each hit a purple patch as the Giants head into their first finals match on Saturday.
Injury wrecked the first part of former No.1 draft pick Patton’s career limiting him to 32 games in his first four seasons.
However he has missed only one game this year, kicking bags of six and five goals in the last two home and away rounds.
For Tomlinson, it wasn’t so much a case of fitness as where to fit him in.
Possessing that rare and valued combination of height and running endurance, Tomlinson is capable of playing anywhere on the ground – but wasn’t able to lock in a permanent position.
He appears to have finally found a niche in the last eight games before the finals, during which he played with great effectiveness as a key defender.
“Sometimes it can hurt you being so flexible and it’s probably hurt him early,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said of Tomlinson.
“But over the past few years he’s had little stints down back and played really, really well and it’s been hard to break in.
“But he’s taken his opportunity after the bye and played some really good consistent footy.”
He said Tomlinson’s confidence was at an all-time high and that Patton was also benefiting from a lift in that most vital aspect of a footballer’s psyche.
“He (Patton) is jumping at the ball off one leg, which is really important for him,” Cameron said.
“It’s not just hitting the scoreboard, which he has the last two weeks, he’s playing some better defence.
“Throughout the year we’ve played him as a key back and played him behind the footy, so he’s got some flexibility, which in this modern game you need.”
Cameron was disappointed promising young key back Caleb Marchbank had requested a trade.
“You don’t like to lose quality young footballers like that,” Cameron said.
He hoped to retain out-of-contract midfielder Jack Steele, whose season was ended on Tuesday when he suffered a foot injury.