Lachie Whitfield during Greater Western Sydney's 2024 team photo day at the VAILO Community Centre. Picture: AFL Photos

THERE'LL be plenty to take in come the first bounce of Sydney Derby 28 on Saturday, and a potential repeat of the James Jordon tag on Greater Western Sydney star Lachie Whitfield will be one of the close watches.

This season's first Derby, back in round eight at the SCG, saw Jordon given one of his first tagging tasks of the season. The Swans recruit has carried out the role with such aplomb, he's now known as the 'padlock' to Swans teammates and fans.

Whitfield is in the midst of another outstanding season, sitting 10th in the competition for disposals playing off half-back and fifth for rebound 50's.

The 29-year-old will likely be in the mix for a third Club Champion award and second All-Australian blazer, but he was held to just 19 touches against the Swans earlier this season and had his impacted diluted by Jordon's close checking.

"I respect him really highly. He did a good job on me and he's done good jobs on a lot of half-backs throughout the year. I won't be surprised if that's coming again, it'll be another good battle," Whitfield told

"The tag's sort of back this year. I know within a few minutes if it's happening, but we've got ways to quell it. At the end of the day, I'm a defender so as long as I'm beating my forward I'm doing my job.

"It's not just down to me to move the football, it's definitely a collective so we'll see what happens. We've got Lachie Ash back as well so the load will be a bit more spread.

"We've formed a great partnership over the years Lachie and I, if I'm getting sat on I can push him up to the ball and vice-versa. I'm fortunate to have him back, I love playing with him."

Lachie Whitfield (centre) is all smiles after Greater Western Sydney's win over West Coast in round two, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants have their own lock-down plans though after the emergence of Toby Bedford as a surprise tagger last week on Zak Butters.

He carried that role out superbly, which now has the Giants weighing up whether to send him to one of the Swans midfield maestros in Errol Gulden, Isaac Heeney or Chad Warner.

Remarkably, all three sit inside the top four in the League for score involvements per game, with Marcus Bontempelli the only non-Swan in the group.

Errol Gulden and Isaac Heeney celebrate a goal during the match between Sydney and Carlton at the SCG in round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

It's a huge reason, along with their myriad of other threats, as to why Sydney is three games clear at the top and enjoying a nine-game winning streak.

"They're flying. They're pretty far above the rest of the competition at the moment and they're doing it in all parts of the field, their midfield's unreal, their forwards are kicking bags and backs are running off well so it's the toughest task in footy at the moment, but after a pretty solid win we're looking forward to it," Whitfield said.

The build-up to this year's first derby was lit up by Sam Taylor's "smug" accusations of the Swans, but in the absence of the Giants' superstar defender through injury, there was no fanning of the rivalry flames from Whitfield.

"I don't like adding any fuel to the fire, so I'll stick clear of that stuff," he said.

"They're classy, I respect them, they're all good people and they're hard to play against. But once the ball gets thrown up in the middle, it's war. It's our favourite game of the year, that's for sure."

Lachie Whitfield during the round six match between Carlton and Greater Western Sydney at Marvel Stadium, April 20, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

With just three wins from their last eight games, the Giants have been spluttering through the mid-point of the season despite their unashamed premiership aspirations.

A strong second half in the win over Port Adelaide looked more like the Giants' style of play that has won so many games and admirers in the past 12 months, and there's a feeling the mammoth stage of a match-up with the red-hot Swans may extract the very best from them.

Harry Himmelberg and Lachie Whitfield leave the field after Greater Western Sydney's win over Port Adelaide at Engie Stadium, in round 14, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"We haven't seen it enough this year and it's definitely been a frustration but this back half of the year we're going to definitely attack, and we'll make a push," Whitfield said.

"You want to play the best teams and get the best results from it and if you can match the Swans you can match anyone really.

"I feel like in derbies no matter who's in form or out of form, it's going to be the same sort of hard-fought battle so we know what to expect.

"We just need to stem their pace on the ball and defend really well."