One thing AFL ladder leaders want to avoid

AFL Rd 2 -  West Coast  v GWS
The Giants are all smiles after three rounds. Picture: James Worsfold/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Things are humming at Greater Western Sydney but the next challenge for coach Adam Kingsley is for his ladder leaders to maintain their hunger across a well-earnt break following a barnstorming start to the season.

Three games in and GWS, who stormed to the preliminary final in 2023, have beaten the reigning premier, Collingwood, knocked off the Eagles at Optus Stadium for the first time and sit on top of the AFL ladder, unbeaten.

They have never been 3-0 at the start of a season before.

But Kingsley has issued a stern warning to his players to focus on what they are doing well and not feel too comfortable with the way they are they playing.

With that memory of last year’s prelim heartbreak ever present, he’s also confident they know that anyway and are well aware that they need to continue to challenge themselves.

“It will be a different challenge. Clearly, complacency, feeling pretty happy about how we’re playing or what we’re doing, will be something that we’ll need to avoid,” he said.

“The moment that we move away from the way that we want to play, we won’t get the results that we want, so we’re fully aware of that.

AFL Rd 2 -  West Coast  v GWS
GWS players get around Lachie Whitfield after the win. Picture: James Worsfold/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

“We continue to challenge each other around making sure we prepare as well as we possibly can each week; go out there and play as best as we possibly can and see where it takes us.”

Against West Coast, last year’s 17th placed team, that challenge was to increase the level of pressure they took into the game. After all, as bad as the Eagles’ season was in 2023, the Giants were one of three teams they beat.

They succeeded in that area too.

Kingsley praised the intensity that his players took to the game against the Eagles.

In the opening round, the Giants players laid a collective 36 tackles against Collingwood; that’s fewer than two tackles per player.

That jumped slightly to 45 tackles against North Melbourne in round 1.

But despite having 51 more disposals than West Coast, the Giants totalled 83 tackles for the game.

AFL Rd 2 -  West Coast  v GWS
Xavier O'Halloran high fives Jesse Hogan after a goal. Picture: James Worsfold/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

There were 14 Giants with three tackles or more; nine with at least five.

At three-quarter-time, with a 58-point margin between them and the Eagles, the Giants also had 17 more contested possessions.

The coach liked what he saw.

“We wanted to apply that high-pressure game,” Kingsley said.

“We feel like that’s our identity, our trademark and we haven’t been doing it to the level that we would have liked.

“Our pressure and our tackle the first two games of the season haven’t been quite where we want it and so that was a big focus coming in.

“I was really pleased with the way that we executed that.”