GWS’ Griffen happy at half-back

Prize recruit Ryan Griffen says a positional switch from midfield to the half-back line has played a major part in his rejuvenation with Greater Western Sydney.

The ex-Western Bulldogs captain requested a trade from his former club in 2014, saying he’d lost his love for playing and felt he was “in a deep hole”.

Now well into his first season at the Giants, the 29-year-old said his love for footy had returned and his consistency was slowly improving.

After a shaky start to his career in Sydney, Griffen’s possession statistics have slowly risen and with it his overall form.

“I’ve loved playing that new role across half-back, I think I’m using the footy a lot better this year,” he said.

“To (coach Leon Cameron’s) credit, to play me across half-back has really given me that spark.”

But that spark couldn’t save GWS from a 27-point defeat to an experienced Geelong outfit on Saturday, as the club slid out of the top eight with six games remaining.

Griffen praised Geelong’s defensive performance but said his team’s intensity was sorely absent at a packed-out Manuka Oval.

“It was a massive game for the club, and with the form we showed we’re pretty disappointed,” he said.

“The effort and the energy just wasn’t there, being a young group that probably does fluctuate a little bit but that’s no excuse.

“I’m sure we’ll rectify that this week.”

The Giants are hoping to welcome back a host of first-team players for their trip to high-flying Fremantle including Cam McCarthy, Matt Buntine and Jon Patton, who scored five goals for the GWS reserves last week.

Co-captain Phil Davis remains touch-and-go for the encounter.

Griffen said the team’s depth, particularly following a spate of injuries suffered against Collingwood last month, heralded a late-season finals push.

“These (young) guys have come in, and really stepped up,” he said.

“There’s plenty of depth there, and it’ll be nice to get Jon back as soon as possible.”

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