GREATER Western Sydney's extraordinary ability to re-sign most of their young stars in 2015 has surprised even the club itself, according to chief executive Dave Matthews.
With the likes of 2013 All Australian Jeremy Cameron, midfield guns Dylan Shiel, Adam Treloar, and Stephen Coniglio, plus classy forwards Devon Smith and Will Hoskin-Elliott all in the final year of their contracts heading into this season, many expected the Giants to lose a handful of their highly-rated talent.
As it stands today, Treloar remains the only name on that list yet to commit to GWS, with the club still working to secure his services beyond this year.
In an exclusive chat with AFL.com.au, Matthews says he's proud of the success that his club has had with contract negotiations in the past few months because in reality he expected to wave goodbye to some of his young guns post-season.
"In truth probably, yes (we did)," Matthews said.
"But I've often asked myself if I was in their position would I leave, and the answer in 'no' in many respects.
"One is, I don't reckon Melbourne is a great place to play footy anymore, I think the environment down there is quite toxic and suffocating.
"The lifestyle in Sydney is fantastic our players really enjoy it.
"We haven't seen it as a desperate situation in any sense, we haven't put pressure on any players, (it's about) when they're ready.
"The most important thing for our players was to see an improvement in our performance, so the first four to five rounds were really important to the decision some of these guys were going to make.
"I can't think of any reason why anyone would leave now because if you talk to any of our players, their number one driver is not money, it's success.
"Right now this club is rising pretty quickly and this wouldn't be the time to leave."
Intentional or not, Matthews' comments could be seen as a direct call out to Treloar, the star onballer who would be in All Australian considerations right now after a standout season.
The 22-year-old has averaged 27.5 possessions per game in 2015 and along with Shiel, Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield and co-captain Callan Ward, is part of an exciting midfield brigade at the Giants.
While many of his teammates have signed on to continue their careers in Sydney, the foundation Giant has yet to decide his future, with speculation rife that some big name clubs are lining up with big offers to attract him back home to Victoria.
As every week passes without a new contract in writing it seems more certain that Treloar's career at GWS is coming to a close, but Matthews isn't worried by the wait.
"There's no particular rush from our point of view," Matthews said.
"He's been playing really good footy, he's been here from the very start, he knows what the opportunity is, so that will play out in due course.
"There's no particular concern there, we know what the club means to him."
To a man this year every re-signed Giant has paid tribute to the role played by the Giants welfare team of former Richmond and Brisbane Lions champ Craig Lambert and his wife Melissa, in creating an environment that has helped the club's interstate players – which is the majority - feel at home.
Matthews says the amount of time and effort GWS has put into the players' lives away from footy, is just one of the reasons behind the club's success in hanging on to so many sought after youngsters.
"There's a lot of stuff that gets done off field that I think is first class, probably as good as there is in the competition," Matthews said.
"If the players are happy off the field, they're more likely to be playing really good footy on the field, so it's a pretty good approach all round I think.
"Being able to get the right facilities in place has given the players and the coaches, the professional environment that they deserve, so that’s also helped.
"I've got no doubt that the bond between the players and the prospect of having success together, is the key driver.
"They want to stay together and do something pretty special.
"I think we've completed 12 negotiations with players this year, which is a big number.
"It's critical to our overall strategy that we're able to hold this playing list together, and give them the opportunity to succeed."
Senior coach Leon Cameron has also been a major factor in the Giants' rise this season, and not just up the premiership ladder.
GWS currently has 10 wins - easily eclipsing their best season of six in 2014 - with four rounds to play, and is still in the running for a finals berth.
Matthews says it's an exciting time for the club and Cameron has played a massive role in guiding the young group both on and off the field.
"He really cares about people and as a coach he's an incredible man manager," Matthews said.
"The amount of time he spends one on one with our players and staff is remarkable.
"He's got great values, he opened his coaching presentation to us by describing his values, and one of those was empathy.
"At the same time he's implementing a ruthless culture and the players buy into that because they're there to win as well."