Kieren Briggs celebrates a goal during the match between Carlton and GWS at Marvel Stadium in round 19, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

IN MID-MAY, Adam Kingsley sat in the press conference room inside the MCG and confessed he did not know who his best ruck option was.

Mason Cox had just put on a masterclass in a thumping Collingwood win to hand Kingsley his biggest defeat since landing his first senior coaching gig, and he was at somewhat of a loss.

Fast forward just a month and the Giants coach is in no doubt.


Since replacing Matt Flynn in round 10 against St Kilda, Kieren Briggs has rapidly emerged as not just a permanent option for Greater Western Sydney, but a clear ruckman on the rise.

Briggs was recruited from just around the corner at Pennant Hills with pick No.34 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, but has taken time to find his feet in the AFL. 

The 23-year-old made his debut in his third season and played a total of nine games across his first five years, but something has clicked in 2023. 

Kieren Briggs prepares for his Giants debut. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Briggs has played the past four games – the first time he has played four in a row – and his impact has been enormous for a side that has been searching for the next Shane Mumford since the bruising ruckman finally retired, for real, in 2021.

Now an assistant coach at the Giants, it was Mumford who last month told Briggs he was back in the senior side. Since then, only four players in the competition – Josh Dunkley, Zak Butters, Shai Bolton and Taylor Walker – have averaged more AFL Player Ratings points than Briggs.



Josh Dunkley


Zak Butters


Shai Bolton


Taylor Walker 


Kieren Briggs


Briggs is the highest rated ruckman across the past month after strong performances against St Kilda's Rowan Marshall, Geelong's Jon Ceglar, Richmond's Toby Nankervis and North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein. 

Toby Greene dominated the Kangaroos in Hobart on Sunday with 3.2 from 24 disposals, but the Giants skipper split the coaches' votes – nine each – with Briggs after the ruckman finished with 20 hitouts, 16 disposals, 11 contested possessions, eight clearances, seven tackles and seven score involvements. 

Kieren Briggs in action during the match between North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney at Blundstone Arena in round 13, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

When it comes to Briggs' game, it isn't the pure tap work that inflicts the most damage - it is everything else.

The Giants Academy product is averaging the most clearances (6.5 per game) and tackles (6.0) of any ruck in the AFL in the past month, the second most goals (four in that period) and third most score involvements (5.3).


AFL Player Rating






Contested possessions



Hitouts to advantage 






CB clearances 



Score involvements



Total goals



It's been a remarkable run of form from a man many viewed as the third in line at the start of the season. Braydon Preuss had been expected to make the No.1 ruck spot his own after managing only 10 games across his first two seasons, but the former North Melbourne and Melbourne ruckman hasn't been able to remain on the park. The out-of-contract 27-year-old underwent back surgery earlier in the year and has dealt with shoulder and shin issues across the past few months, with no return date in sight at this point.

While it may seem like it, Briggs's hot streak hasn't exactly come from nowhere. As Flynn had first crack under a new regime, Briggs averaged 31 hitouts, 20.4 disposals and 111.6 ranking points across five games in the VFL, patiently waiting for his shot before the call-up came. 


For a player who only started playing the game as an 11-year-old, just down the road from the Giants' base, a player who used to be a shot put star for New South Wales, who graduated from the Giants Academy and has now muscled his way into the big time, it's been a remarkable rise.

Mumford was a raging success in orange, winning a best and fairest and playing 117 games across two stints, and the Giants may have finally found their next 'Mummy'.