FORMER Greater Western Sydney captain Phil Davis is "very impressed" by the improvement he's now seen up close in a young group that settled into the Giants' defence during an early-season injury crisis.
The Giants have relied on an incredibly inexperienced backline at times this season, to cover injuries to Davis, Nick Haynes, Lachie Keeffe and most recently Sam Taylor, but Jack Buckley, Connor Idun and Isaac Cumming have more than held their own.
Davis returned for the match against Carlton last week, his first AFL game since straining a calf in round three, but left the tough task of minding the Blues' spearhead Harry McKay to 15-gamer Buckley.
"I knew my role was very simple because they've been doing such a great job. They've been very impressive," Davis said.
"The thing that stands out is just their appetite, for the contest but also to get better and improve. Isaac, Connor and Jack just keep taking significant steps forward.
"There was a lot of trust in Jack to get the job done [on McKay] and I was sort of there for a 'break in the case of emergency' situation but it never really came to that.
"They've been able to build on their game and build confidence. To use Isaac as an example, I think he's such a beautiful kick and we're now actually starting to see it. That to me is a mark of confidence."
The Giants are set to bring more experience into the team in the coming weeks with captain Stephen Coniglio and prized recruit Jesse Hogan expected to return to playing in round 16, while Brent Daniels will be available to face Hawthorn on Sunday.
Coniglio has been sidelined with a syndesmosis injury and a related issue with his big toe that he suffered in a tackle against Melbourne in round three, but has continued to be heavily involved with the team outside of gameday.
"He's looking really, really good. You can tell he looks sharp on his feet and he's also got that real hunger and that energy in his legs which looks great," Davis said.
"He must've been incredibly frustrated, what was supposed to be a six- or seven-week injury has blown out because of a few other things. But I've seen someone that has been able to really just front up.
"He's just got to get his preparation right, which he's doing, he's training really, really hard, and when he comes back in, come in and play his role. Because of who he is, he's a natural leader and the boys will follow."
Davis added that he wants to be playing regularly again before turning his mind to re-signing with the Giants for next season and beyond.