With only veteran Callan Ward and Tim Taranto missing from the club’s best 22 heading into round one, competition for places in the Giants’ side is fierce, which adds merit to Green’s ability to break into the grand finalists’ line-up.
His selection shows why the Giants formed their draft strategy around securing the academy prospect from Canberra, whose clearance work has been likened to Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps.
Green had impressed the coaches during internal scratch matches and carried that form through the Marsh Series, where he came up against Sydney bulls Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker, and Richmond stars Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin.
A big-bodied midfielder, he has effectively taken the injured Taranto’s place in the side.
“You’re looking at whether they can stack up their pre-season form up against some really good quality teams – we feel as though Tom has,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.
“He’s part of a hungry midfield. There’s going to be some unlucky players that miss out this week. We’re really proud of him and look forward to seeing him play Saturday night.”
“Tommy Green’s had a really big week. He’s extended out by a couple of years, we’ve got him for another three-and-a-bit years, which is fantastic,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.
“It’s a huge tick. Young kid coming through in his first year to be picked round one is really exciting for us as a footy club.”
Williams, one of the Giants’ best players in last year’s finals series, faces a nervous wait to see if he will be given the green light.
There are doubts as to whether Williams has the conditioning to play after a pre-season interrupted by an injury to his Achilles tendon, the same one he injured two years ago.
Given the Giants’ horror run with injury over the past two years and Williams’ importance to the side, the club will have good reason to err on the side of caution with the running machine.
“The big discussion is whether he’s done a big enough body of work to take on the Cats in a really high-intensity game,” Cameron said.
“If we don’t think that’s right then he’ll have another week or another two weeks, whatever we think, but he’s starting to get really close. He’ll put a lot of pressure on.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald