Leaders stood up in AFL slump: GWS forward

Rob Forsaith
GWS co-captain Callan Ward kept things positive at the AFL club during a month-long losing streak

Tough conversations and terrific leadership have put GWS back in the AFL premiership mix, some two months after their hopes of a maiden flag appeared to be in tatters.

The Giants, who slipped as low as 11th on the ladder during a month-long losing streak, now sit sixth after banking six wins from their past seven games.

That run has included the prized scalp of table-topping reigning premiers Richmond.

GWS face St Kilda at Spotless Stadium on Saturday then Carlton at Etihad Stadium, offering the expansion club a golden chance to beef up their push for a top-four spot.

There wasn't one single factor that turned the Giants' season around, but the composure of coach Leon Cameron, co-captains Callan Ward and Phil Davis plus other leaders was key.

"We lost four in a row and there were some pretty tough conversations around the club," forward Harry Himmelberg said.

"The leaders really stood up. Phil, Cal, (vice-captains) Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio.

"They really kept the place upbeat.

"It was tough. Nobody likes losing. We weren't playing the sort of footy we wanted to, but those leaders had a really steely attitude about it."

It's no coincidence that some inspired performances from Ward, David, Kelly and Coniglio helped the wheel turn.

"Our best wins over the last few weeks, they've been instrumental in all of them," Himmelberg said.

"We came off that little hump and our form over the last six weeks has been really good. Now we just have to keep winning."

Ward has previously downplayed his own role in the resurgence, saying Cameron's no-nonsense approach was critical.

"He's very up front and just tells you how it is. There's no beating around the bush with Leon, which I think is really important," Ward said earlier this month.

The return of small forward Toby Greene, who kicked two goals against both Richmond and Port Adelaide in the past fortnight, has also been a big boost for GWS.

Fit-again stars Greene and Brett Deledio are likely to improve the longer the season runs, while suspended key forward Jeremy Cameron is ready to return against the Blues.

"We know Toby's a star. Any time you get players back it's exciting," Himmelberg said.

"Last year we had a few players go down at this time of the season, rather than get them back.

"There's a massive buzz around the club."