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GWS milestone man Ward chasing AFL flag

3 minute read

Callan Ward will become the first player to reach 200 games for GWS and boasts a glittering personal record, but still hasn't snared the AFL's ultimate prize.

CALLAN WARD. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

As he ticks off yet another first in GWS colours, milestone man Callan Ward believes the expansion club can win its maiden AFL premiership before he retires.

Ward will become the first player to reach 200 games for the Giants in Sunday's clash with North Melbourne.

It comes with GWS (3-8) all but out of the finals picture this season, and with Leon Cameron having departed as coach last month.

Interim coach Mark McVeigh faces a tough ask to turn the campaign around and the club's coaching structure beyond this year is uncertain.

But Ward, who has ridden the highs and lows with GWS since 2011, believes the ultimate success is achievable in the near future.

"We have a list that's played a lot of football now and we've got a lot of young guys with plenty of talent," Ward said.

"With the right attitude and mindset, which I think they've got, I think our list is in a great spot.

"We haven't played that well this year and our win-loss ratio isn't great, but at the same time we've got some great people in this football club and we've built a great culture.

"With a few changes here and there I think we'll go a long way."

Ward was one of the Giants' earliest big-name signings, inking a multi-million dollar deal to leave the Western Bulldogs in a bombshell move at the end of 2011.

The Dogs won a famous premiership five years later, beating the Giants in the preliminary final, with Ward concussed during the match after copping an accidental knee to the head.

The 32-year-old also missed the Giants' only grand final appearance in 2019 after a serious knee injury early that year, but has no regrets about his shift north.

"It was the right move," he said.

"Obviously people ask about the premierships and we haven't won one, but that's what we'll keep striving to do.

"One of the main reasons I came here was because I thought we could win premierships and we haven't done that yet, but we've won plenty of finals and I've enjoyed my time here."

Ward was an inaugural GWS co-captain, first goal-kicker, first best-and-fairest winner and first life member, and said being the first to reach 200 games for the club was a "really special moment".

"It's massive for me, my family, my mates and people that have been there the whole way," Ward said.

"It's been a long journey and it's been one that's been tough at times.

"There's been plenty of ups and downs, but it's been a journey that I've really enjoyed.

"As a person and as a player I've come a long way in that 10 years and I think we've continued to evolve and grow as a football club.

"We're turning into that really good powerhouse football club that we'll always strive to be."

Ward will play against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium after clearing concussion protocols, having been substituted out of the loss to Brisbane in round 11 following a head knock.

He took part in a full-contact training session on Friday after being given the green light by medical staff.

"My head's fine, I'm good to go," Ward said.

"This one wasn't really a genuine concussion, I wouldn't say, it was more the pain and stiffness in my neck.

"It was a small concussion and the doc ruled me out straight away but it wasn't that scary like other ones I've had."

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