Defender Tommy Bugg will become the 10th player to celebrate 50 appearances for GWS – and mark his 22nd birthday – when the Giants start their season against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Bugg was named in a final 22 coach Leon Cameron described as “really really hard” to pick after a swathe of players made the most of the extended pre-season and competed strongly for starting spots.
High profile recruits Ryan Griffen and Joel Patfull will debut for the club, with Patfull likely to spend most of his time in a crucial contest with Saints captain Nick Riewoldt.
Tom Scully has been named despite an abbreviated pre-season challenge campaign after he injured an ankle in training in February.
Re-signed duo Jeremy Cameron and Devon Smith will start down the ground, while Phil Davis will form part of the Giants’ most experienced defence yet, alongside Heath Shaw and Patfull. Exciting forward Cam McCarthy will start from the interchange.
Bugg – who signed with the Giants as an 17-year-old access selection in 2010 – has earned the coach’s respect as a player who “just gets everything out of himself”.
“Whether it be wing, whether it be back, whether it be playing a negating role, he’s one of those players that just loves to play hard and loves to play the full 120 minutes. He’s really competitive,” Cameron told Giants TV.
“It’s fantastic to see him reach that milestone and hopefully we can celebrate with a win on Sunday.”
Bugg was the sixth player named on the Giants’ list when the club was established. He said it had been “a pretty special journey”.
“To say I’ve been here from the start with a few other boys, to share those kind of memories and this journey so I’ve really appreciated the time that I’ve had so far,” he said.
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