Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs says his team have played well against AFL frontrunners this season and expects a lift against Greater Western Sydney.
Gibbs will play his 200th AFL game against the Giants at Spotless Stadium on Saturday and hopes to celebrate with a reversal of fortune after the Sydneysiders smashed the Blues in their past two meetings.
The gun midfielder says they will rise to the challenge against a Giants outfit that has become one of the competition’s best.
“We’ve played some really good footy against quality opposition this year but it’s not an easy task travelling to Sydney and playing them on their deck,” Gibbs said.
“It basically comes down to our pressure and effort.
“If you’re 5-10 per cent off in that, you’re going to cop a whack.”
Carlton, who are coming off the bye, need the win to stay in touch with the top eight, while the Giants can push for a top-four berth with victory.
Gibbs wasn’t sure if finals football was a reality for his 11th-placed team in 2016 but felt they were moving in the right direction.
“Who knows – we’ll take it one match at a time but we’ve taken a lot of positive steps this year,” he said.
The 27-year-old was drafted at No.1 in 2006 and has proven remarkably durable, playing at least 21 games in every season.
Gibbs said he recognised he had less football in front of him than behind him and wanted to make the most of any opportunity.
“It’s funny, you come in as a young kid and you’re living your dream and you can get pretty content just playing footy and sort of going through the motions at times.
“It’s probably now that I’m starting to get a bit older, realising that I’m probably more at the end of my career than at the start, that you need to start really knuckling down and making every day count.”