After a disappointing finish to 2018, GWS Giants forward Daniel Lloyd says he and his team are hungrier than ever to reach their first AFL Grand Final.
The Giants qualified for last year’s post-season in seventh spot and won their opening round Finals clash against the Sydney Swans by a whopping 49 points. However, GWS were unable to back up their strong performance a week later, going down to Collingwood by 10 points.
What followed for the Giants was an off-season of soul searching and contemplation of what could have been.
According to the players, Giants coach Leon Cameron made a couple of necessary tweaks to pre-season training, ensuring his squad would be stronger mentally in season 2019.
“The boys just get hungrier and hungrier each year,” Lloyd told the Weekender.
“After getting close these last few years, everyone came in this year with a real appetite, a real hunger to go that one step further.
“There were some changes but mostly to the attitude of the boys. We are really strong-minded now and we have got one goal, one focus and we are headed towards that.”
For 27-year-old Lloyd, he’ll enter into his third season in the AFL after being drafted by the Giants back in 2016. After playing 21 career games, including 14 last season, Lloyd is ready to take his game to the next level.
“I was definitely proud of my year last year,” he said.
“The year before I managed to play seven games and I was in and out of the team but last season I played the first 12 games before doing my medial in my knee, which sidelined me for seven weeks.
“Last year was a positive year in terms of my football and I’m looking to take that a step further this year and make a real impact on this team.”
After a strong pre-season, which included a couple of solid trial game performances, Lloyd is confident of selection in the Giants’ opening round clash against Essendon this weekend at Sydney Showground Stadium (formerly Spotless Stadium).
This Sunday afternoon’s Round 1 clash will be the first time GWS have opened a season at the Sydney Olympic Park venue since 2014.
“It’s exciting… we always have to travel a bit to start the year but to play at Sydney Showground Stadium in Round 1 will be really good,” Lloyd said.
“Hopefully we’ll get a good turnout and it will be a good game.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.