James Peatling takes a mark during the match between Greater Western Sydney and St Kilda at Manuka Oval in R5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

JAMES Peatling is well aware of the quirk of fate surrounding his match-saving mark for Greater Western Sydney against St Kilda on Saturday, but says he has a lot more to prove to secure a long-term role in the Giants' side.

The 23-year-old midfielder came on as the sub in the first quarter of the Giants' thrilling one point triumph for superstar defender Sam Taylor, after he suffered a sickening concussion.

He then produced a Taylor-esque defensive act to mark while running back with the flight of the ball as the momentum-charged Saints surged forward in the final minute in search of a matchwinner.

 "I guess there's a bit of irony there, but anyone who was in that moment would have done the same thing," Peatling said.

"It's next man in, when it's your turn to go, you go sort of thing. I'm just happy it was me."


After being overlooked in two drafts and only making his way onto an AFL list through the mid-season draft of 2021, you'd almost forgive Peatling for being caught up in his heroic exploits, considering how hard he's worked to try and make it in the big time.

But those endeavours mean the man who has been the Giants' sub for the last three games and only featured in 29 games across the last four season is not going to rest on his laurels despite his Manuka Oval moment.

"For the split-second that it happens it would be (comforting) but we review it today and then get onto next week. What happened last week happened, you've got to move on pretty quickly in this world," he said.

"I wouldn't say I've left my mark, I've got a lot of work to do personally to be the player I want to become. I'm working in the right direction for that, but I know a moment like that isn't going to lock me in for the rest of the year.

"I wouldn't want it to because I want to play the football that will break into this side."

James Peatling celebrates victory with teammates during the match between Greater Western Sydney and St Kilda at Manuka Oval in R5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

His teammates though, have had a very different reaction for the moment, with Peatling's midfield partner Xavier O'Halloran struggling to hold back his pride.

"I dare say it'll be heavily celebrated today in the review. I was up on the bench shouting and clapping. I was stoked for him," O'Halloran said of Peatling's feat. 

"I've been in that position before where you're the sub three, four weeks in a row and it can be hard. Credit to him, he's stuck with it. Every time he's come on, he's had a tremendous impact for us. He delivered again on the weekend and how good was it?" 

Xavier O'Halloran in action during the match between Greater Western Sydney and St Kilda at Manuka Oval in R5, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Taylor was also impressed with the efforts of his replacement, although he may have still been recovering from his scary incident in the nation's capital when the pair touched base.

 "I flicked (Taylor) a message after the game checking in on him and he said a little something but I'm not sure how with it he was at the time," Peatling added.

Thankfully Taylor's concussion is not as severe as first thought and he may only miss two weeks, but at the time there were fears it was a far more serious incident.


"It was close to the bench as well, so we had a good view of it," said Peatling.

"My first thought was 'I hope he's all right' but I knew I was going on straight away so I had to switch on pretty quickly."

There were further fears for the Giants when Stephen Coniglio went down clutching his knee, but initial concerns that it was a torn ACL have been allayed and the gun onballer will only be sidelined for two games.


Peatling admitted that the sight of their popular teammate being carried off by trainers may have flattened the Giants, with the Saints kicking the next six goals to go close to a miraculous victory.

"It might have had an effect. He's an integral part of our team, he's one of our leaders. A lot of us young guys look up to him," he said.

The Giants do have suitable reinforcements for their blockbuster clash with Carlton on Saturday afternoon, with veteran Callan Ward set to return and play game No.297 in place of Coniglio, while former club champion Nick Haynes is a likely replacement for Taylor.