Greater Western Sydney co-captain Callan Ward says it won’t be a problem keeping the Giants grounded after their sensational AFL qualifying final win.
GWS charged into a home preliminary final with a stunning 36-point derby upset of minor premiers Sydney.
The Giants’ physicality and speed proved too much for Sydney and shamed those sceptics who thought the big occasion might prove too much for the 16 finals rookies in their side.
“That’s the beauty of this group that no-one gets really overawed by the occasion and that was proved (on Saturday) that people loved to turn up and play football in big games,” Ward told AAP.
“It was our biggest game ever and we had the young guys stand up especially.”
One of only six Giants with previous finals experience, Ward was adamant it wouldn’t be hard to keep his younger teammates’ heads out of the clouds.
“The buildup to this game was huge, we had two weeks to think about it, we couldn’t stop hearing about it,” he said.
“All our family and friends were obviously talking about it.
“I thought we handled the last two weeks really really well.”
The Giants will host either reigning premiers Hawthorn or Ward’s former club the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on Saturday week.
Ward played in two losing preliminary finals for the Bulldogs against St Kilda in 2009-10.
He rated the victory over Sydney as one of the great highlights of his career.
“It’s very high up there, it’s probably almost the best I reckon,” Ward said.
“It was six years ago I last played in a final and it’s like a blur back then.
“I don’t really remember too much. I played in prelims two years in a row, it was kind of normal to play finals back then.
“I think this one, five years in with a new club being a co-captain of it, it’s really special because we’ve had to work so hard to get here.”