Giants’ Kingsley keen to slow Hardwick’s rising Suns

Esther Linder |

Adam Kingsley’s Giants will take a 3-0 record into their Gather Round clash against Gold Coast.
Adam Kingsley’s Giants will take a 3-0 record into their Gather Round clash against Gold Coast.

Adam Kingsley says the rivalry will be real when he meets his mentor Damien Hardwick for Greater Western Sydney’s Gather Round clash against Gold Coast.

The Giants make the trip to Adelaide for Sunday’s match at a sold-out Mount Barker boasting fresh legs after a week off.

Kingsley said Gold Coast’s appointment of Hardwick – who the Giants mentor served under as an assistant at Richmond – makes the stakes even higher for his high-flying, undefeated side.

It will be the first time they coach against each other. Hardwick’s shock resignation from the Tigers last year came before Richmond had played GWS, in Kingsley’s massively successful debut year as Giants coach.

Adam Kingsley (left) and Damien Hardwick.
Adam Kingsley (left) is no longer in the shadow of his former Richmond boss Damien Hardwick (right). (Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS)

“(The Suns) are going to be a very good team, if they’re not already,” Kingsley said.

“Certainly the way that ‘Dimma’ wants his teams to play, that is evident in the way that Gold Coast go about it. 

“We know it’s going to be a really hard game. There is that little bit of rivalry there, no doubt.

“The newest clubs in the comp and both trending towards hopefully some success sooner rather than later.”

The Suns were thrashed by 48 points against the Western Bulldogs in round two, prompting Hardwick to dramatically rearrange his side, with six players dropped for the GWS match-up. 

“They’re a really strong clearance team,” Kingsley said.

“And if they do get clearances going their way they’re really hard to beat … we need to be able to really control those stoppages and minimise the damage they can create from them.”

Action from GWS Giants and Gold Coast Suns in 2023.
A genuine rivalry is developing between the AFL’s two newest clubs. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Kingsley cited midfielder Tom Green as crucial to making the most of stoppages, with the Suns’ ball-hungry Matt Rowell certain to come up against him. 

“(Rowell) is their clearance king, Tom’s probably ours. So I’m sure they would be matched up a lot of the time around stoppages,” he said.

“Rowell had 20 clearances in a single game, which is extraordinary. So we know he’s capable, we know he’s a great quality player.”

The Giants re-signed Jesse Hogan this week and Kingsley said the key forward’s influence has been “tremendous” on younger players including Aaron Cadman and Jake Riccardi.

“It’s easier for them to play when Jesse is standing next to them because he does shoulder a lot of the work, particularly down the line stuff,” Kingsley said. 

“Not only does he support them, he shows them how to do it properly.”