28/02/2024

A three club trade involving Melbourne, Fremantle and the Giants has seen Toby Bedford land at GWS. (Image: AFL; Design: WIll Cuckson)

Luke Jackson’s move to Fremantle has opened the door for Toby Bedford to get to GWS, with the Giants parting with pick 44 to get the small forward over the line.

After trading Bobby Hill to the Magpies, GWS seems to have found its replacement in Bedford. A livewire small forward who averaged 1.1 goals a game when he took the field this season, he always felt in the action even when he wasn’t scoring.

Bedford made 16 appearances in 2022, although half of those were as an unused medi-sub, and will be looking to make a fresh start and work his way into a fleet of small forwards at the Giants.

Adam Kingsley will be looking to bolster the offence this off-season after they scored the third-fewest points in the 2022 season.

Melbourne Demons list manager Tim Lamb spoke on Trade Radio on Tuesday, underlining the importance that Toby Bedford has to the club.

“We rate Toby really highly. He as part of our next generation academy, and we’ve put four years of development into him,” Lamb said.

“He was in our 23 for most of the season in a team who finished second on the ladder. I expect he’s someone who will play a lot of footy for the Giants.”

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How does he break into the Giants’ forward line?

After a disappointing 2022, GWS will be looking for any way to hit the scoreboard and remain competitive next season. Toby Greene (2.5) was the only player on the club’s list to average more than one goal per game.

Consistency of performance was an issue for the Giants forwards, as no small forward played more than 16 games for the season in a team that finished in the bottom three. The departure of Hill looks to be offset by Bedford and the return of Brent Daniels, who missed 2022 with a Lisfranc foot fracture.

Bedford, who played 66 per cent of game time when in the team, had one tackle inside forward 50 per game – more than every Giants player to play at least two games, except Daniel Lloyd.

12 pressure acts and 3.5 score involvements per game would have him ranked as the second best small forward for GWS behind Toby Greene.

It will be expected for Bedford to cement his place in the 22 after being starved for opportunities at Melbourne. Tanner Bruhn joins Hill in a move home to Victoria, which provides more spots in the forward line needing to be filled over the off-season.

Giants List manager Jason McCartney told Trade Radio on Tuesday that they’ve had their eye on Bedford over the last 12 months and are looking forward to the style of game he will bring to the side.

“Even if Bobby had stayed, it’s [the forward-line] an area of the ground we were looking to bolster and we identify Toby as that kind of player,” he said.

“It’s his combination of speed and endurance, and obviously he can hit the scoreboard. But he also applies great front half pressure, and that’s the game at the moment.

“He comes out of a really good football program in Melbourne. We didn’t know where he stood, we were very hopeful but obviously very grateful to receive the news that Toby wanted to come to our football club.”

The goal a game forward is set to complement Greene at the front of the Giants’ attack while they still need to address their glaring key forward issue.

Jesse Hogan was the only tall forward to kick more than 15 goals for the season, with Harry Himmelberg primed to reinvent his career as an intercepting defender.

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