GREATER Western Sydney draftee James Leake is keen to quash any talk of a move back to Tasmania when the expansion team enters the competition, as he begins life as a Giant.
The skilful utility was nabbed with pick No.17 in the AFL Draft and looms as a versatile option for Adam Kingsley in the future, having impressed across every positional line to become a first-round selection.
But as is the case with every Tasmanian draftee, the Launceston product has faced questions over a desire to be part of the state's new team when they enter the competition in 2028.
"Obviously you're really happy for the Tasmanian team and that's been a really cool thing for Tasmania, but my loyalty is 100 per cent with GWS," Leake said.
"I only just got drafted so it's pretty funny to be answering questions, but it's all part of it and it's pretty normal for people to be asking about it.
"I'm just super stoked to be here. I just see it as an amazing opportunity to hopefully have a good career at GWS."
Breaking into a Giants outfit brimming with talent and gunning for a maiden premiership will be a tall order for Leake and the quest to achieve that was evident from day one of training.
While only the first-to-fourth-year players were obligated to be there, nearly all of the squad were in attendance, led by captain Toby Greene, Jesse Hogan, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Sam Taylor and several others.
"It's pretty cool. They're the sort of dudes you've grown up watching on TV, then you're out here training with them," Leake said.
"I'm just really lucky to be able to walk into a team that's in a really good place to challenge again next year. The group's just really hungry and determined to go one step further. I think you can see that by the way the players are driving the standards, which has been really good to see."
Joining Leake as a first round selection for the Giants was Phoenix Gothard.
The fleet-footed small forward bolted up the draft board, such was the eagerness of the Giants to secure him before other clubs could pounce on the Murray Bushrangers product.
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"I'm just grateful for the faith and the opportunity they've given me. It just shows that they trust me and think I can develop into something that's special," Gothard said.
"I always had a pretty good inkling with the Giants. I met with them the most out of all the other clubs but you're not sure what to expect on draft night, anything can happen."
The Giants are firmly of the view that the Albury product will be an elite talent, while he also fits soundly into their game plan.
The 2023 resurgence was built largely off the back of the high pressure forward set of Brent Daniels, Toby Bedford, Xavier O'Halloran, Callum Brown and Daniel Lloyd.
With Lloyd now retired there's a spot ready to be taken and Gothard may just swoop on it.
"You've just got to maintain high standards and what will come will come. If I just keep trying my best and focusing on what works for the club, and bring positive energy, I'm sure I'll be able to break in eventually," Gothard said.
Amid the excitement, there can be a tricky settling in process for new recruits from interstate, of which most are at Greater Western Sydney.
West Australian product Joe Fonti, taken with pick No.44, admits he's taking a bit of time to adjust to his new surrounds.
"I'm not going to lie. I underestimated it a little bit," he said.
"I think just the lifestyle move and the fact that you just wake up, go to footy and then go back and find things to do and learn the new city.
"I thought it'd be all right, but I'm feeling the heat a little bit. It'll all come together though and I'll start to get used to it."
The attacking defender was mindful that the second night of the draft would be a nervous one for him and was prepared for an anxious evening.
"Adrian (Caruso, Giants' recruiting boss) said something along the lines of him being grateful that I slid, but I had no idea that I did slide. I thought if anything, I'd be going a bit later," Fonti said.
"It's a little bit daunting when you're watching it and you can see the power rankings and the boys that haven't got picked yet that are ranked higher than you, it gets the nerves going. But GWS had given me some attention so the team didn't really surprise me."
While Fonti is still finding his way in his new city, he won’t be short of company.
The Giants' five new draftees are living in a share house together, but that’s proving to be a challenge in itself.
"We're struggling a little bit at the moment. Our cooking's not the greatest, so we're working on it, but I'm sure we'll be fine eventually," Gothard said.
Leake said it was a "pretty big adjustment", but the group was enjoying their new lifestyle.
"I think the good thing about all five of us is we're all pretty similar. We're not really big characters, we're all pretty down to earth, so it works quite well," Leake said.
"We'll have to see if I say the same thing in a few weeks."