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

GREATER Western Sydney's faith in Xavier O'Halloran was made abundantly clear to him as soon as the 2023 season finished.

Off the back of a campaign that concluded with a heartbreaking preliminary final defeat, O'Halloran was told that he had impressed enough as a lively half-forward and was moving into the Giants' midfield full-time.

"It was pretty much as soon as the season ended, in the exit interview, it was the view that Adam (Kingsley) had which was pleasing," the 23-year-old told AFL.com.au.

"I grew up playing in the midfield all the way through so it's good to be able to get back to that. I trained the whole pre-season in the midfield, be it on the wing or inside.

"I'm enjoying the new role. That's the beauty of our team. We've got a lot of players who can play in different positions."

Of all the stars who roll through the engine room of the Giants, though, O'Halloran may be the most unique of the lot.

Xavier O'Halloran in action during Greater Western Sydney's clash against St Kilda in round five, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

In 53 games, he has only compiled more than 20 disposals once, but whenever he gets his hands on the football, O'Halloran tends to make something productive happen.

He is low possession for a midfielder, but high impact – be it with quick hands, a darting run, long drive forward, a broken tackle or simply a tap into a teammate's path. 

When Adam Kingsley took charge of the Giants after years coaching in the Richmond multi-premiership system, it was expected that he would bring across many aspects of the Tigers' gameplan to Sydney's west.

That has eventuated in the front half of the ground to fuse with the famous 'Orange Tsunami' out of the back half, from the Giants' successful seasons of years gone by.

Xavier O'Halloran in action during Greater Western Sydney's clash against West Coast in round two, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

And it is O'Halloran, with his attacking efficiency that resembles so many from the Richmond premiership sides, who epitomises that arguably more than anyone at the Giants.

"It's a funny one. You always want the footy in your hands. It'd be great to walk off every week and have 30 touches but I'm happy to know that when I get the footy it can be impactful," O'Halloran said. 

"That's my goal. It doesn't bother me that I don't get as much of the footy as some of the other midfielders or half-backs but every time I touch that footy, I want something good to happen."

As a late first-round pick from the 2018 draft, O'Halloran's talent was always known to those at the Giants. It just took a little while to come to the fore.

Xavier O'Halloran during Greater Western Sydney's training on May 2, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

That all changed last season as he broke through under Kingsley and locked away a spot in a team that was one point off a Grand Final, despite a late-season hand injury.

He impressed the coach enough to force a move into the midfield and that has been sustained in 2024.

"I'm happy with the way he's playing. We share the workload particularly through our midfield so sometimes you'll get rewarded with possessions, sometimes you won't," Kingsley said of O'Halloran.

"It's not really how we judge performance, with possessions or goals. We value our players a little deeper than just those statistics.

"He's playing an important role through the midfield. He's got versatility to play wing, inside and half-forward so he's becoming a really important player for us."

Adam Kingsley ahead of the 2024 AFL season. Picture: AFL Photos

In the absence of midfield star Stephen Coniglio, O'Halloran's impact on the ball will be even more important in Saturday's clash with Carlton at Marvel Stadium.

Even more so after Sam Walsh's stunning return from injury last week that saw him compile 34 disposals.

"It's a credit to him and we know he's a great player. We've paid him the due diligence during the week as we have their whole side," O'Halloran said.

"We're coming off the Saints who we played in finals and coming into another good team in Carlton. We're looking forward to the challenge. A couple of troops down from the weekend but it's next man in and it'll be another really good test for us and hopefully it goes our way."