Tiger Army’s boos won’t decide final: GWS

Greater Western Sydney’s Callan Ward is ready to lead his AFL side against Richmond and the most “one-sided crowd ever”.

But while the Tigers are occupying Ward’s thoughts ahead of Saturday’s preliminary final, their fans are something he could hardly care less about.

Ward acknowledges the Tiger Army will be a factor at the MCG but he questioned how much they would actually shape the contest and decide whether the visitors reach their maiden grand final.

“I’ve always said in finals that I don’t think it should matter where you play,” Ward told reporters.

“I’ve heard a lot about this yellow-and-black tsunami down there.

“The way we played last week, if we can turn up and play like that against the Tigers at the MCG … we should get the job done.

“If they’re booing us or whatever, it really doesn’t matter.”

Wade made a light-hearted call to arms for neutrals to adopt the Giants.

“Because we need what we can get .. it will be the most one-sided crowd ever,” he quipped.

“It’s definitely a factor but we have to feed off the noise … or feed off the silence and lack of excitement in the crowd.”

Ward’s memories of his last year’s preliminary final against former side Western Bulldogs are shady – he was knocked out in the second quarter by an accidental knee to the head.

The 27-year-old, who started his career as a tagger and has developed into one of the most underrated inside midfielders in the league, will play a crucial role in an engaging midfield battle.

GWS coach Leon Cameron has often backed his star-studded engine room to outclass the opposition’s on-ball brigade this year, rather than employ a hard tag on any individual.

Ward gave little away regarding the club’s plans for Dustin Martin but noted it would be foolish to suggest the Brownlow medal favourite is the Tigers’ only threat.

“Usually we have a target player … we all go after him as a team or a midfield group,” Ward said.

“They’ve for a great midfield. Trent Cotchin is playing some really good footy and (Dion) Prestia, obviously Martin is the one getting off the chain.

“We’re pretty confident in the structures we’ve got and the balance we have around stoppages. Our mids against their mids – we’re pretty confident we can get the job done.”

Ward admitted Martin’s fend-off was one of many factors that made him such a unique talent.

“He’s so hard to tackle … he’s hurting blokes on the inside with fend offs and his tackling,” Ward said.

“But even his run away from stoppages – it’s a bit like (Patrick) Dangerfield these days.”

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