GWS Giants players at a training session on February 9, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

TOBY Bedford may not have been a central part of it at Melbourne but he is well aware of what a premiership team looks like.

The former Demon didn't feature in their flag triumph of 2021 but as part of their inner sanctum that year, his insights on what it takes to achieve the ultimate in the AFL certainly carry some weight.

The livewire small forward had a huge impact on Greater Western Sydney's remarkable ascension to the preliminary final last year and while expectations heading into the new season are now heightened considerably, they are not being shied away from by anyone at the club.

And Bedford is adamant this team has every ingredient required to match them.

"I've obviously been lucky enough to be part of a premiership squad so I know what it takes and to be honest, it seems as if we're on the same track here," Bedford told

"A lot of it is based around your culture and how much the guys want it, how hard you train.

Toby Bedford during Greater Western Sydney's training session on February 9, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Our culture is great. Everyone's working hard and everyone wants to get better, everyone wants to do the team thing.

"People can see we've got a lot of talent on our list, but we're a role-based team. A lot of it is just about trying to perfect our role. We are going to strive for perfection, but we'll settle with greatness."

All the elements might be there on and off the park for Adam Kingsley's side but going into 2024, the target on their backs is undoubtedly larger.

GWS will be a big scalp from the opening round and so improvement is still required, as impressive as the Giants were from the mid-point of 2023.

Bedford highlighted a beast of the Giants midfield as one of their eye-catching performers across the pre-season. 

"It's just like another version of Tom Green where you see him going to another level. He seems like he's untackleable, literally no one can lay a hand on him," Bedford said.

Tom Green during Greater Western Sydney's training session on February 9, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Finn Callaghan is another one. We've got a pretty fit list at the moment, so it's impressive seeing our training standard be so high."

As for Bedford himself, he's set an impressive standard as a leader of the Giants' mosquito fleet of high-pressure forwards.

He led the League last season for tackles per game inside attacking 50.

And while the mantra in attack at GWS is all about sharing the load in defence and offence, the 23-year-old is hoping to increase his output in front of goal with just 12 majors kicked last season.


"Definitely. I've spoken to the coaches, that's one of my things that I could work on to take myself to the next level, and it's definitely something that I work on each day at training," he said.

"My main focus would be my pressure which I'm good at. But this year, I'm hoping to have a bit more impact on the scoreboard, not selfishly, but just as it comes.

"We were extremely good with tackling and chase (last season) and once again, we want to be known as one of the best forward lines in doing that."

As settled as the Giants' forward line and best 23 seems at the moment, along with Bedford's place within it, there are still some challenges for spots in the team.

And especially in attack.

Darcy Jones and Phoenix Gothard, first-round draft picks from the last two years, are both small forward options who can add to Kingsley's impressive arsenal.

Darcy Jones and Toby Bedford during Greater Western Sydney's training session on February 9, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Darcy Jones is probably the biggest one I've noticed, especially because I'm another small forward. Coming off an ACL, he's just looking exceptional. He's fast, he plays with flair, very creative, and he's got great skills," Bedford said.

"There's definitely a bit of pressure for selection, but I think it's a good thing."

That competitiveness was on show at the club's bonding trip to the Blue Mountains amid a myriad of activities that included abseiling, food challenges and large-scale puzzles.

GWS Giants players abseiling during a pre-season camp in the Blue Mountains on January 24, 2024. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Unfortunately for Bedford, his group was on the wrong side of the latter.

"It kept me and my team up until about 2am," he admitted. 

"We probably all started around 7:30 at night and it was basically first team to get it done gets a certain number of points. 

"We'd walk around checking the other teams. A lot of them got it done around midnight but me and my team were up until about 2am trying to finish. 

"It was definitely different, but it was naturally competitive as well and so it was a lot of fun."