GREATER Western Sydney expects to retain out-of-favour veteran Nick Haynes despite its desire to prise Elliott Himmelberg out of Adelaide in a backline boost.
Haynes played his 200th game at the Giants in 2023 but slipped out of new coach Adam Kingsley's preferred back six, starting as the sub on four occasions before being left out for both the semi and preliminary finals.
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The 31-year-old, contracted for 2024, could face stiffer competition for a spot next season with the Giants plotting to add Crows utility Himmelberg to their defensive mix, as reported by AFL.com.au’s Inside Trading last month.
However, GWS general manager of football Jason McCartney on Monday said Haynes was keen to force his way back into the side rather than seek a trade.
"The backline's just evolved before our eyes," McCartney told Trade Exchange on AFL Trade Radio.
"It was just just so dynamic in the end, they could mix and match and play on a variety of types, whether it be smalls, talls or mediums, so it was really hard (for Haynes to keep his spot).
"Nick, to his credit, he's played his 200th game for the club this year, he's been a wonderful servant.
"He was sort of sitting on the fringe (but) I know in the chats we've had in the last few weeks he's pretty keen to try and get his spot back in that side.
"We'd expect him to play on next year, that's for sure."
McCartney said GWS had identified Himmelberg, who could be united with brother Harry, as a "positional need", adding depth to a defensive lineup already featuring key trio Sam Taylor, Jack Buckley and Connor Idun.
"You need to be quite mindful and respectful that Elliott still has a year to run on a contract before he becomes a free agent, so we'll continually work through that," McCartney said.
"(But) we'd love to have some coverage in that position if he wants to leave. We see it as an opportunity.
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"It's probably a role and a position that the club's done really well with someone like Lachie Keefe over a long period of time and you'd think Elliott, sort of similar size and plays a variety of positions, can just really add value to your group at 25 years of age."
McCartney confirmed the out-of-contract Keefe, 33, would consequently be left to wait for the trade period to unfold before learning his own fate.
"We're not looking to be moving too many players out this year, (so) list spots become a bit of a juggling act," McCartney said.
"It's just a tricky situation to be in. If we had the list spots (Keefe) would be an absolute certainty that he'd get another year - I know he's keen to play on.
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"But we've got to manoeuvre a few of things before we could actually be in a position to say that could happen with us."
Meanwhile, the Giants expect to lose big man Matt Flynn after Kieren Briggs claimed the no.1 ruck status in the back half of the season.
McCartney said Flynn was "weighing up options now between West Coast and Melbourne".