A HIDDEN list of potential Greater Western Sydney recruits has been discovered, revealing more than 40 current AFL players were on the Giants’ radar.
While many of the players have since been re-signed by their current clubs, more than a dozen on the list have yet to commit, fuelling speculation they may be headed to Blacktown.
High-profile Collingwood onballers Dale Thomas and Scott Pendlebury head the list, which was discovered on the server of a popular AFL statistics website under the file name of “GWS Confidential”.
The file was added in September last year and contains PDF documents with detailed statistics on 46 AFL players.
From Geelong’s Joel Selwood to maligned Melbourne forward Jack Watts, the Giants appear to have had a close eye on every talented youngster in the country.
Under AFL rules, the Giants can sign 16 uncontracted players – one from every club – prior to their entry to the competition in 2012.
Most of the big names on the list have since extended their contracts with their current clubs, however there are still plenty of big fish ready to be lured – if they haven’t been already.
No doubt the priority for the Giants will be to sign some bigger bodies, having watched the Gold Coast Suns being bashed from pillar to post early this season.
Taylor Walker (Adelaide), Matthew Leuenberger, Mitch Clark (Brisbane), Cameron Wood (Collingwood), Michael Hurley, Tayte Pears (Essendon) and Alipate Carlisle (Port Adelaide) were all listed in the discovered file.
North Melbourne midfielder Ryan Bastinac, who was fifth in last year’s AFL Rising Star award is also a potential target, while Western Bulldogs youngster Dylan Addison appears to be linked to the new franchise.
Taken with pick 25 in the 2005 AFL Draft, Addison, 23, was born in Sydney and would be hard-pressed to refuse a lucrative offer to return home.
An interesting omission on the list is Collingwood’s Dane Swan who has re-signed with the Magpies but was rumoured to be the Giants number 1 target, maybe he was never in their sights.
Unlike the Suns, GWS can sign uncontracted players over two seasons, meaning stars can be poached by the Giants for the 2013 season.
Gold Coast talent like Charlie Dixon and Brandon Matera would potentially be up for grabs.
Pendlebury and Melbourne up-and-comer Tom Scully are on the Giants’ list, but both are expected to re-sign with their respective clubs within the next six weeks.
Colin Young, the manager of Fremantle young gun Rhys Palmer, recently met with GWS officials in Perth to discuss a potential contract.
There was speculation Palmer had agreed to a four-year deal with the Giants, but the former Rising Star winner denied those claims to the media.
West Coast’s Mitch Brown is another potential recruit for the AFL newcomers, who will be coached by Kevin Sheedy in their inaugural season
*Players in Bold are understood to be out of contract at the end of the 2011 season.