He’s about to become the 15th Giant to reach the 100-game mark at the AFL’s youngest club, but GWS speedster Zac Williams never expected to rack up half that number.
For all the high draft picks they got early in their existence, GWS have also plucked the odd nugget from lower down the system, especially Williams.
He was taken near the bottom of the 2013 rookie draft at pick 55.
The lad from from Narrandera in southern NSW with a rugby league background, had to wait and work for the chance to become an established member of the side.
“I was in and out of the side,” said Williams who was a substitute in three of his first four games and played 31 times in his first three seasons.
“I’d play a couple of games and I’d come in and play sub and not play much.
“But (head coach) Leon (Cameron) always referred to ‘do your apprenticeship’ during those early days and it took me three years to crack into the side and play regularly.
“I actually never thought I’d play 50 games let alone 100.
“I guess I will reflect on the days that I was playing rugby and basketball and all of those type of sports through school.
“But I haven’t really had time to think about that milestone just yet because it’s finals time.”
He will make his 100th appearance in Saturday’s semi-final away to Brisbane.
Williams showed his maturity in last Saturday’s elimination final by not getting rattled by a kick-in howler, which triggered a three-goal Western Bulldogs burst that got them to within three points of GWS just before halftime.
“If you don’t move on from your little mistakes and you let it dwell you let it affect your game and then I guess you’re just out of it. In finals time you just can’t let that happen, so I just got on with it pretty quickly,” Williams said.
After making only two appearances in 2019 – both in finals – due to a serious Achilles injury, Williams has missed only two this year and played 12 straight since a hamstring issue.
“The week off before round one of the finals was huge because my body was starting to get a bit sore,” Williams said.
Asked what he learned from the Giants’ 20-point home loss to Brisbane in Sydney in their only 2019 clash back in round 16, Williams said: “That they are a really fast team, they’ve got really good talent, their young boys crack in hard.”