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AFL 2012 Rd 22 - St Kilda v GWS Giants

Kevin Sheedy is looking forward to facing Mick Malthouse next weekend

A STRING of youngsters impressed in Greater Western Sydney's intraclub match on Saturday, but two veterans also shone and could have a big impact this coming season.

While last year's No.1 NAB AFL Draft pick Lachie Whitfield and a host of teenagers strutted their stuff, Setanta O'hAilpin and Bret Thornton showed they would offer the young club plenty in 2013.

O'hAilpin, who is coming off a knee reconstruction, and his former Carlton teammate Thornton both spent time in the forward line and at times overshadowed Jon Patton and Jeremy Cameron.

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Coach Kevin Sheedy said both veterans are in contention for spots in the forward line this coming season.

"Yes they are," he said. "I'd love to see Setanta get to a hundred games (he's currently on 81).

"He deserves it and his performance with training to overcome his knee operation has been really good.

"Bret Thornton had been told by everyone in the AFL we don't really want to select you, but it was great to get him in the pre-season draft.
"We're really happy with Setanta and Bret, who kicked three or four goals each today."

They weren't the only ones to stand out, with Whitfield, Liam Sumner, Adam Treloar, Aidan Corr and Lachie Plowman among those singled out by Sheedy following the match at Gipps Road Oval in Sydney's west.

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It was also an opportunity for players like Cameron (hip) and Dylan Shiel (foot) to play their first match since undergoing surgery in August last year.

It was the Giants' last hitout before taking on Carlton and the Sydney Swans in Blacktown next week in the NAB Cup, when Sheedy will pick his best possible team in preparation for the regular season.

He is pleased with the newfound depth at his disposal.

"We’ll pick our best team," he said.

"We need to start understanding the art of winning and so we'll take our best team to play Carlton and the Swans.

"Last year we blooded 36 players. This year we'll have a look at what we've got to bring in and on form you'll get a game.

"Last year it was difficult to always say that when you had that many players you wanted to get through to get them to that 10-game mark."

Sheedy also wasn't short on quips, with the veteran coach asked about the possibility of catching up with his old sparring partner and new Blues coach Mick Malthouse this week.

"I think Mick knows what I'm like," Sheedy said. "He's the silver fox coming out to Blacktown for the first time in his life.

"He wouldn't know where to go. He'll get lost on the bus.

"I hope all the people of western Sydney come out to Blacktown to see him live, just to annoy the hell out of him."

Sheedy was also asked about his enthusiasm ahead of his final season as a head coach before passing onto senior assistant Leon Cameron.

"The best thing that happens in my life is when I drive past the cemetery," he said.

"I'm still here. That's a huge positive for me."

James Dampney is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD