The GWS Giants have come a very long way since March 24, 2012 when they went down to the Sydney Swans by 63 points in their very first AFL game.
GWS defender Adam Kennedy was there that historic day and he’ll be there this Saturday afternoon too when the Giants play in their first ever AFL Grand Final.
While players and coaches have come and gone, and plenty has transpired over the past eight seasons, one thing that hasn’t changed has been the bond between that core group of men who have been there since day one.
Speaking with the Weekender at Giants HQ, Kennedy spoke openly about the early years of GWS and how the hardships of the past have turned them into a force today.
“In those early years you’d sit back after those losses and wonder when this was all going to turn around but I think those tough times just built up the resilience of a lot of the guys who were here back then,” the 27-year-old said.
“Even the facility (WestConnex Centre) we have now, we don’t take it for granted because of the hardships we went through early on.”
Kennedy will be one of several original Giants running out onto the famous MCG turf on Saturday afternoon when GWS take on the might of Richmond.
While 162-point losses are thankfully confined to the past, Kennedy always knew the Giants would be there on Grand Final Day… eventually.
“I’m extremely proud to be an inaugural Giant, it’s something I’ll definitely look back on post-career and hold dear to my heart,” he said.
“We’ve had a few boys leave over the years but, personally, I’ve always been confident in this club. We’ve got great leadership from the CEO right down to the coaches and players.
“I knew it would be hard but I knew we would work our way up. It’s been an amazing year.”
Kennedy’s persistence and patience has now well and truly paid off and he’s looking forward to enjoying the spoils of Grand Final Week. While Saturday afternoon’s blockbuster clash against the 2017 Premiers is his number one priority, he isn’t taking what’s ahead for granted.
“We’ve all had a chat about it and all the players will try and stick to their routine as much as they can but, at the same time, you have to embrace it because Grand Finals don’t come around often,” Kennedy said.
“We must make sure we enjoy the week that is ahead and hopefully we will be Cherry Ripe on Saturday to take out the big one.”
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.