GWS Giants won’t be pencilling themselves in for a maiden AFL finals appearance just yet, but Sydney midfield ace Luke Parker is sure they will be around come September.
The second-placed Swans travel to Spotless Stadium on Sunday for the 100th game played by the Giants, who are in sixth position, eight points behind Sydney.
GWS failed to make the finals last year from the same 7-4 platform they have erected this season, but Parker doesn’t believe they will miss out again.
Asked on Friday if he expected GWS to play finals football this year Parker said “For sure, for sure.”
Sydney hold an all-time 8-1 record against GWS, but Parker rates the 2016 Giants highly.
“You always like to challenge yourself against the best and at the moment they are, in my opinion, one of the top four or five sides,” Parker said.
He anticipated a “massive” struggle for midfield supremacy as the Swans on-ball brigade including Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, Tom Mitchell and himself do battle with the likes of Callan Ward, Stephen Coniglio and Dylan Shiel.
“If they win the ball inside they are going hard forward and it’s very hard to stop their pretty exciting very fast brand of football,” Parker said.
He played alongside speedster Shiel at TAC Cup side Dandenong and always thought he would make it to the AFL.
“He’s a jet,” Parker said of Shiel, who leads the Giants in disposals this season.
“He has a massive body on him and he’s very strong in the contest and has a lot of pace and bursts out of the stoppages and out of the contest and has a really good kick on him.”
“He’s one of those midfielders who can change a game and he is hard to stop, but we’ll back our pressure inside.”
Inaugural GWS coach Kevin Sheedy opined earlier this week that missing out on Lance Franklin to Sydney had worked in the Giants’ favour as they had been able to afford to recruit multiple other players and retain more of their promising youngsters.
Not surprisingly, Parker has a different perspective.
“We’ll take him (Franklin), that’s alright, I’m happy to have `Bud’ on our side,” Parker said.