He’s the undisputed statistical king of the GWS Giants heading into their 100th game, but co-captain Callan Ward considers his switch to the AFL’s youngest club as massive for his development.
Ward has been a co-captain in each of the Giants’ first five seasons and to say he leads by example is probably a massive understatement.
He heads the Giants all-time list in more than ten statistical categories including games played, disposals, marks, tackles, clearances and contested possessions.
Ward has played 94 games, nine more than any other player.
He’s finished in the top three of their best and fairest all four seasons, winning the inaugural Kevin Sheedy Medal in 2012.
The combative midfielder played 60 games in four seasons for the Western Bulldogs before switching to the Giants in a move that has proved hugely beneficial to both the player and club.
“It’s been massive for my game, not only as a footballer, but as a person,” Ward said.
“It’s made me really grow up and mature really quickly.
“Coming up here as a 21-year-old and being one of the co-captains with Luke Power and Phil Davis, there was no mucking around.
“We had 25 first or second-year players in the system who we were almost responsible for at times.
“I was starting my fifth year when I got down here and I guess I hadn’t really found myself as a good AFL player by that stage.
“Having the opportunity to play every game and being co-captain and be a leader amongst younger guys was the opportunity to really find myself as a good AFL player.”
Ward found himself having to lift spirits off the field as well as on it through the first two years, when GWS won just three of 44 games.
“It’s really challenging when you are getting beaten by so much and people are looking up at you to be the one with a smile on your face,” Ward said.