GREATER Western Sydney will unveil another first-round draft pick when Ryan Angwin makes his long-awaited debut against the Western Bulldogs at Giants Stadium on Saturday night.

The 19-year-old has been forced to bide his time in the VFL and build his body up to AFL standard – he has added 12kg after arriving at the club weighing just 70kg – since being selected at pick No.18 in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft.

But after three eye-catching efforts in the reserves across the past month, interim GWS coach Mark McVeigh has produced a surprise selection ahead of round 14.

The Giants will be forced to make at least two changes to the 22 that defeated North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, with Matt De Boer (concussion) and Harry Perryman (broken ribs) both unavailable due to injury.

Shortly after being informed by McVeigh of his debut in front of the entire football department and playing group, Angwin said he has appreciated having to fight for a spot in the Giants’ 22, even if it has been difficult watching others from his draft class hit the ground running.

“You have to be patient, especially me coming up as more of a development player. There is obviously some frustrating times where you think you’re close and then your name doesn’t get read out and circumstances like that,” Angwin told on Thursday afternoon.

“To get an opportunity now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To have to fight the way I have over the last year and a half, I feel like it has set me up for this moment today.”

Ryan Angwin in action for GWS' VFL team in round 12, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Angwin grew up in Foster in Gippsland – a world away from the harbour city – where the population is just north of 1000 people and he took some time adjusting to life in Sydney.

He lived with Tanner Bruhn, who went six picks ahead of him, and Cam Fleeton last year, but has since moved in with ruckman Braydon Preuss, who is expected to return this weekend to help combat Western Bulldogs star Tim English.

“I reckon the first month at least, it rattled me a fair bit. I grew up two and a half hours southeast of Melbourne. There was no city around, just country. I wasn’t used to a city or anything like that,” he said.

“The day I got here I turned 18, so it took some time adjust to the lifestyle and adapt to Sydney. Once I settled in, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I absolutely love it up here. I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon.”

(L-R): Conor Stone, Ryan Angwin and Tanner Bruhn pose for a photo on December 10, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Angwin inked a two-year contract extension in April and becomes the latest first-round pick to debut from the 2020 draft class – Gold Coast midfielder Elijah Hollands is the only top-20 pick yet to play a game, after arriving at the club needing to recover from a knee reconstruction.

Greater Western Sydney has won two of three games since Leon Cameron departed the club at the conclusion of round nine, after almost a decade at the helm.

Those results included thrashings of West Coast and North Melbourne either side of a hard fought 14-point loss to Brisbane at the Gabba.

McVeigh said Saturday night's clash with the Bulldogs presented an opportunity for the club and coach to show the progress they have made over the past month.

“This is a huge test for our club, a huge test for our players and our coaching staff because we rate them very, very highly,” McVeigh told reporters at a press conference on Thursday morning.

“It hasn’t been missed by us in terms of knowing that the two teams we have played and beat really well are lower than us on the ladder. We take great confidence from the Brisbane Lions game at the Gabba. The form line is there, although we’ve played two oppositions that have been struck down by injury and illness.”

Mark McVeigh with GWS players before the R10 clash against West Coast on May 22, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Former captain Phil Davis will return via the VFL on Sunday when the reserves face Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, after recovering from a hamstring tendon injury that has sidelined the defender for three months. GWS has the VFL bye next weekend which could delay or accelerate Davis’ return to the senior side depending on how he performs this weekend.

Out of contract star midfielder Tim Taranto is set to play a half in the VFL on Sunday after missing the past month due to an ongoing back injury that has hampered his season to date, while Jacob Hopper is edging closer to a return after completing a full training session on Thursday, following knee surgery on the eve of the season.

All-Australian defender Nick Haynes will come under strong consideration to return against Luke Beveridge’s side after playing in the VFL against North Melbourne in Blacktown last weekend.

The form of key forward Harry Himmelberg in defence across the three games under McVeigh has created a headache for the match committee inside Giants HQ, after the 26-year-old amassed 37 disposals – 14 above his personal best – and 16 marks against North Melbourne.

Harry Himmelberg in action for the Giants during GWS' round 13 match against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on June 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

“I thought about it for about three years, to be honest. That’s probably just off the back of coaching him when he was a kid. I coached him when he was 15 or 16 years of age and knew he could play down back,” McVeigh said.

“Your team has got to allow it to happen. There was an opportunity there obviously with Nick Haynes not being available for some time and Phil Davis being injured as well. The opportunity presented itself; it was a little bit of a risk, knowing he was our best goalkicker. To take him out of the front half we needed to replace that. The gamble has been really good.

“We know how good he is with the ball, but he is a pretty good defender. That’s foremost in our mind, we need him to respect that side of the game. I’ve thought about that for a long time. It didn’t eventuate due to different circumstances; we’ve been able to do that the last few weeks.”

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Livewire forward Bobby Hill was in at the club on Thursday watching training with his family and is expected to be involved in the football program to some degree in the second half of the season.

The 22-year-old underwent surgery last month after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and is in the early stages of recovering from that operation.