Adam Tomlinson has welcomed the increased competition for spots in the Giants' forward line
THE COMPETITION generated by Greater Western Sydney's plethora of forward options is another reason why the young club will progress in 2014, according to tall utility Adam Tomlinson.
The versatile 20-year-old could easily have been intimidated by the arrival of No.1 draft selection Tom Boyd and the return of fellow top draftee Jonathon Patton from a knee reconstruction, and what it meant for his own prospects.
But Tomlinson is just as excited about seeing Boyd, Patton and Jeremy Cameron play together as everyone else, and considers the Giants lucky to have such an embarrassment of riches to choose from.
"No other team sits there and hands games out to kids so finally we've got people competing for spots," Tomlinson told AFL.com.au.
"It keeps you playing well and wanting to play well if you're playing twos.
"It finally feels like a real club; everyone's fighting for positions and no one's going to be given a game this year.
"I sort of feel in the last couple of years a lot of boys have wanted to play their own footy and get games into them but now everyone is sort of focused on the team and wanting to win more games, and we really believe a lot more this year."
Tomlinson's pre-season hasn't involved any dramatic changes or positional moves despite the expected involvement of Patton and Boyd this year.
He's kept adding weight – up five kilos from the 90 he carried into last season – but the natural runner has continued to lose seconds off his time trials.
He expects to be used in a range of roles this season, something he will relish having modelled his game on St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt.
"With a lot of us tall boys being in the forward line, the forward line is going to evolve over the year and things will change … for me personally, being able to run a lot during the game, I can play a variety of roles," he said.
"I can get thrown into the ruck at times, down back and even on the wing.
"It's really good to have 'Boydy' and 'Patto' has been on fire at training since he's come back from his knee.
"They've done everything perfectly right and I can't believe how well 'Patto's' going so it's really good and I'm stoked for them."
Tomlinson topped the Giants last season for marks with 127 from just 17 games and hauled in a club record 14 against Adelaide in round seven.
Having inherited his running ability from his parents, a talent shared with his sister who has competed in the Youth Olympics, he has wanted to play like Riewoldt since his AFL dream began in the 2011 draft.
He hopes his enviable engine will give him a point of difference in the eyes of the Giants' match committee at the selection table.
"I still think there's room for that big, strong forward like 'Boydy', Patton and 'Jez' in a team but being able to run gives you that extra string to your bow, being able to move up the ground and keep up with the midfielders and help them out," he said.
"It's great to have but I still think there's a role for that big power forward."
Tomlinson lives in Balmain with co-captain Phil Davis, where the two enjoy the coffee and food plus the proximity to the beaches and the city.
While the native Victorian admits to missing home and his family, who travel to as many games as they can - including last week's NAB Challenge loss to the Sydney Swans in Canberra - he is becoming more excited about the Giants' future.
Watching Gold Coast improve to eight wins in 2013 has the Giants players planning to make up significant ground of their own this season.
"People always think that we're always competing against Gold Coast but when we see them and what they did last year, it gives us a lot of confidence and hope, especially when we've got even more older and mature players over the pre-season," he said.
"We love seeing them succeed and we think we can do just as well, if not better."