GWS players celebrate victory after the AFLW R8 match against Carlton at Henson Park on October 21, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney had a horror start to the season, slumping to a 0-5 start with a particularly tough fixture, but defender Katherine Smith believes the Giants have fast-tracked their development.

The Giants drew Adelaide, Melbourne and North Melbourne in the first half of the season, but have won games against West Coast and Carlton of late.

"Regardless of the draw, it's been a lot of learnings. If you want to be the best in the competition, you have to beat the best, and we weren't able to do that for the first five rounds, and that's the brutal reality of where we're at," Smith told the Credit to the Girls podcast.

"But I think with that, we've learnt a lot. When you're going up against the best, you can really test your system and test if we are able to execute fundamentals under pressure. 

"Are we able to keep to our system when there's intense pressure from the likes of Adelaide and Melbourne? What do you do in different scenarios, where some of our girls haven't been in scenarios where you have to win the game or save the game. 

"So we've learnt a lot over the journey, and regardless of the pretty grim-looking win-loss ratio, our journey – we've progressed so much more this year because of what we've had to learn quickly. I think it's really exciting. 

"We've had some hard games, but even in our hard games, we've had quarters where we've shown a really fast and exciting brand of football. We've shown we can compete and put so much pressure on the ball that teams get scared. So I think moving forward, it'll be really good, but it's a tough, tough year this year."


Also joining the show was young West Coast defender Charlie Thomas, who was interviewed before the news broke of coach Michael Prior's departure.


1.10 – Katherine Smith joins the show
1.32 – Zarlie Goldsworthy's moment to shine
3.01 – Winning without midfield stars
4.20 – A tight and versatile backline and Pepa Randall's 50th
6.28 – The tough season for GWS
7.53 – Making the city of Sydney and the Giants home
9.15 – Coaching alongside Tarkyn Lockyer with the National Academy
11.40 – Charlie Thomas joins the show
13.14 – The upset win over Essendon
13.40 – Staying calm in defence when things aren't going your way
14.50 – The young talent at the Eagles
16.49 – Beating an established side
17.28 – Facing the winless Western Bulldogs