A REJUVENATED Greater Western Sydney has quickly overcome the loss of several key and emerging players last year and is now just one win - over Carlton - away from securing a top-eight finish.
While the Giants are on the brink of returning to finals, the six players that moved to another club for this season have found new pastures aren't always greener.
Jeremy Cameron, Zac Williams, Aidan Corr, Jye Caldwell, Zac Langdon and Jackson Hately have all faced form or fitness issues this season, with only Cameron on track for a meaningful finals campaign if his body holds up.
It's a familiar tale for players that leave the Giants and one the many that have moved to the Blues know all too well.
Williams - who will miss today's game against his old club due to a hamstring injury - is the most recent of 13 former GWS players to follow the well-worn path to the Blues then fail to play finals.
He'll finish his first season in navy blue averaging 18.9 touches in 14 games – his lowest disposal rate since 2015.
For the other former Giants still with the Blues; Matt Kennedy appears to have resurrected his career, Lachie Plowman has been typically steady, Will Setterfield has had more lows than highs, and Caleb Marchbank was again struck down by injury.
All must be wondering what their future holds with the winds of change set to blow through the Blues.
Yet while the eight other Giants-turned-Blues averaged only 13.6 matches for the latter, Carlton isn't the only club to have more misses than hits with former GWS players.
THE GIANT HITS FOR THEIR NEW CLUB
It has been tough to break into the Giants' star-studded midfield at times, forcing many onballers to take their talents elsewhere. Here are some that have hit on-field highs away from their former clubs:
31 games in the Giants' first two seasons. The reliable onballer has been Collingwood vice-captain since 2017 and earned a club champion award and All-Australian nod last year. He was runner-up in the Norm Smith Medal in the Pies' 2018 Grand Final loss.
A key player in the early Giants' midfield with 79 games in four seasons then was even better at the Magpies. He was named in the All-Australian squad in 2016, 2017 and 2019, and played in the 2018 Grand Final, but was forced out of the club and traded to the Western Bulldogs last year.
17 games for the Giants in 2015-16 then moved to St Kilda for more onball opportunities. Has become a premier midfielder and was the club champion, an All-Australian and equal third in the Brownlow Medal last year. Has been the Saints' co-captain this season.
109 games and 100 goals in six seasons with the Giants. He won the best and fairest and a place in the All-Australian squad in his first season at Essendon.
An integral part of the Giants' midfield for 135 games and an All-Australian in 2017. He moved to the Bombers at the end of 2018 and has continued his strong form in an emerging midfield.
Outside of this choice collection, the only midfielders to play 100 games after leaving the Giants are Will Hoskin-Elliott at the Magpies, including the 2018 Grand Final loss, and Dom Tyson at Melbourne and North Melbourne.
The big men to play 100 games since leaving the land of the Giants are Josh Bruce at the Saints and Bulldogs, Sam Frost at the Demons and Hawthorn, Jack Hombsch at Port Adelaide and Gold Coast, and Lachie Plowman at Carlton.
GRAND FINAL GLORY
Only two former Giants have gone on to taste premiership success – Tom Boyd in 2016 and Jacob Townsend the following year. But even they had limited success outside of that Grand Final day.
Spent one season at the Giants and played nine games before leaving for the Bulldogs in a blockbuster trade at the end of 2014. After 52 games with his second club and battles with injury and mental health the No.1 pick in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft retired in 2019 at the age of 23.
Played in the Giants' first-ever match and a total of 28 in four seasons. Timed his move to the Tigers for their successful period but only played 20 matches in four seasons – including the last five of 2017. Moved to Essendon in 2020 and is now on the rookie list at Gold Coast.
THE TOP PICKS WHO GOT AWAY
There are many more misses than hits of former Giants that continued – or tried to kickstart – their career at another club. Rather than list them all, theses are the Giants' first-round draftees that tried their luck at a second club:
THE 2011 NAB AFL DRAFT
Jonathon Patton (pick No.1, 6 games), Dom Tyson (pick No.3, 100 games), Will Hoskin-Elliott (pick No.4, 104 games), Adam Tomlinson (pick No.9, 20 games), Liam Sumner (pick No.10, 20 games), Taylor Adams (pick No.13, 133 games), Devon Smith (pick No.14, 63 games)
THE 2012 NAB AFL DRAFT
Jonathan O'Rourke (pick No.2, 12 games), Lachie Plowman (pick No.3, 108 games), Kristian Jaksch (pick No.12, seven games), Aidan Corr (pick No.14, two games)
THE 2013 NAB AFL DRAFT
Tom Boyd (pick No.1, 52 games), Cameron McCarthy (pick No.14, 49 games)
THE 2014 NAB AFL DRAFT
Jarrod Pickett (pick No.4, 17 games), Caleb Marchbank (pick No.6, 41 games), Paul Ahern (pick No.7, 24 games)
THE 2015 NAB AFL DRAFT
Matthew Kennedy (pick No.13, 41 games)
THE 2016 NAB AFL DRAFT
Will Setterfield (pick No.5, 42 games)
THE 2017 NAB AFL DRAFT
Aiden Bonar (pick No.11, 15 games)
THE 2018 NAB AFL DRAFT
Jye Caldwell (pick No.11, two games), Jackson Hately (pick No.14, three games)
The jury might still be out on some of those players but enough that looked for a fresh start have already shown the Giants don't give away too many bargains and instead the buyer should beware.
Superstar forward Toby Greene has said Giants players thinking about changing clubs should think twice too.
"Guys that have left the Giants, I know it hasn't gone the way they wanted it to," Greene told AFL.com.au earlier this year.
"I won't mention any names but there has certainly been a lot of the boys that have said the grass probably isn't greener."