GWS Giants captain Alicia Eva is excited about the young players expected to make a big impact in the orange and charcoal in 2022. Photo: GWS Giants.

Alicia Eva says that in the country’s current COVID-19 climate, all the club’s players should be prepared for team selection, with some exciting young players ready to make a statement.

GWS Giants captain Alicia Eva says that in the country’s current COVID-19 climate, all players should be prepared for team selection, with some exciting young players ready to make a statement.

Already impressing their captain, Eva, and coach, Alan McConnell, GWS’ upcoming talent in the likes of Jess Doyle, Georgia Fowler, and Ally Morphett proved their commitment to the Giants while also juggling HSC commitments.

Eva said that despite this weekend’s Round 1 match against the Gold Coast Suns at Great Barrier Reef Arena being the first for the season, and the very first selection opportunity, the girls should be prepared.

“There’s a heap of talent that’s come through the New South Wales pathway this year with is fantastic,” Eva said.

“The really exciting thing is that we’ve brought on a lot of kids. We had three girls completing HSC whilst also completing [their] first preseason. It’s great to see a lot of these girls come in, balance their HSC commitments, but come in and bring a great willingness to learn, to develop and to work really hard.

“Selection is going to be really interesting, not sure who Alan [McConnell] has gone with this week but I’m sure we’ll see a lot of those younger girls put their hand up.”

Making particular note of Doyle’s versatility, Eva said the 18-year-old gives selectors the opportunity to place her either as a forward or winger, with the skillful left-footer able to excel in either position.

With the Giants focusing on their scoring in 2022, Doyle could be the third addition to a key forward line-up, supporting Cora Staunton and Rebecca Privitelli.

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“She’s a left-footer, forward, [and] can come play up on the wing. [She has] fast feet and can find herself in trouble and out of trouble very quickly,” she said.

“A big focus for us this year is that we need to kick more goals, we want to score more, and we’ve done a lot of great work in terms of our ball movement and connection from the midfield to the forwards.

“That’s really helpful when you’ve got forwards leading up to the kickers, so if she does go down forward it does provide another option. She’s pretty versatile, she’s got great hands, so she does lead up strong to the kicker.

“I think she’ll float forward to the wing. I think she’s put her best foot forward come selection in Round 1, but we’ll wait and see.”

Eva said the club has worked closely with the AFL to ensure the Giants’ safety as they travel interstate for matches this season, knowing that being the only Sydney-based side, travel is inevitable.

She added that any of the Giants’ players, including the younger girls should be preparing for a callup in any round.

“I think all of our girls on the list, given the current climate, should be preparing to play any given weekend,” she said.

“We’re now not travelling to Perth in Round 2 so that lessens the flight mode a little bit. I I know the AFL and club are in talks of chartered flights and ensuring that [we control] what we can control in this scenario. 

“The first half of our season is heavily weighted to away games, caution will be taken, chartered flights, mask, all of that stuff.

“We know that behind the scenes, all that is being dealt with, with the AFL and the club so we’re just concentrating on getting things right here and hitting the ground running.”

GWS Giants’ Round 1 match against the Gold Coast Suns will take place at Great Barrier Reef Arena on Sunday, January 9, at 6.10pm AEDT.

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