Callan Ward runs through the banner with son Romeo ahead of the R2 clash between GWS and Richmond on March 27, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

HE WAS the first captain, first goalkicker, first best and fairest winner and amid a myriad of other inaugural achievements, Callan Ward will on Sunday become the first Greater Western Sydney player to notch up 200 games for the club when he steps out against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

And as he reflected on that achievement to, 10 years on from his first season with the club, Ward still maintains hope of being a part of the biggest first of all before his time in orange and charcoal is up – a Giants premiership.

"If you look at our list and the talent we've got, it's still a really exciting one and I still think in my time here, hopefully we can do it," he said.


"Even this year, we've played really good football against some of the best sides, we've just been inconsistent. We have a great list. We've got a lot of young players playing really good football and some really good experienced players along with others who have now played 100 games."

Now 32 and with one season remaining on his contract after the 2022 campaign, it's certainly more unlikely than not that Ward will be part of that watershed moment.

But as the reflections take place around his latest milestone and of his contribution to a club that has come so far from its days of infancy, there are few people more deserving of trailblazing credit at GWS than the games record holder.

"It's pretty crazy when I think back. It's been a really good journey and a really exciting one. The plan was always to have a long career at the Giants," he said.

Stephen Coniglio, Callan Ward and Tomas Bugg before the R7 match between GWS and Gold Coast at Manuka Oval in 2012. Picture: AFL Photos

"To be here 10 years later is something I really wanted to do and it's amazing to think how far we've come.

"It's changed me quite a bit, it's really made me grow up and learn a lot about myself and develop. I wasn't that keen on doing the captaincy and leadership stuff and tried to hide away from it to be honest. I've had to mature a lot earlier in my life than others but it's a part of life that I've really enjoyed."

Riding with him for the entirety of that journey at the Giants was his now-departed long-time coach Leon Cameron.

And as an assistant coach during Ward's time at the Western Bulldogs, their relationship spans some 15 years. 

Leon Cameron, Callan Ward and Phil Davis ahead of the 2016 preliminary final against Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

The parting of the ways was an understandably emotional one and while Ward concedes the time for deeper reflection between the pair will come in time, the move has felt fitting for all parties.

"Leon was terrific for us for a number of years and had a great relationship with every single one of his players and that was his biggest strength," he said.

"It probably did get to a stage where he was a little fatigued and didn't have much more to give as a senior coach.

"The transition we've made has been a really smooth one and the club have handled it really well and I think the freshness we've got now with Mark (McVeigh) taking over and tweaking a few things with the gameplan has been really exciting for us as well."

Callan Ward looks on during a GWS training session on June 8, 2022. Picture: Phil Hillyard

There is a feel of a new era at the Giants as a result but now a decade old, it is a club that can now start to lean on some history as well. 

"I'm just most proud of how far we've come as a football club and a team," Ward said.

"Hopefully I can look back at the Giants in 10 or 15 years' time and know they're a strong football club with really strong values."