Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron says Port Adelaide’s rapid rise in the AFL serves as encouragement for his fledgling side.
The Power have undergone a mighty transformation since the two clubs first met in August 2012, when the Giants scored an upset 34-point win in their maiden campaign.
Port ended that season 14th on the ladder, prompting the exit of coach Matthew Primus and appointment of Ken Hinkley.
Hinkley, under new chairman David Koch, went on to lead the side to 13 wins last year to finish seventh overall.
They now sit atop the AFL ladder with five victories from six games.
“It’s a great story, a terrific story,” Cameron said ahead of their round-seven clash in Canberra on Saturday.
“Eighteen months ago, where that club’s come from, it’s just fantastic.
“(The arrival of CEO) Keith Thomas, Ken Hinkley, Kochie … it just goes to show you can turn a club around really really quickly.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due.
“The brand of football they play is awesome. They deserve to be top spot.”
Cameron said Port’s stunning turnaround was “absolutely” encouraging, especially given they had done it with the league’s third youngest list – ahead of only Gold Coast and the Giants.
“So it’s not just on the back of experience,” he said.
“They’re doing it on the back of youth, fantastic recruiting and drafting that they’ve had over the last three or four years.
“It gives confidence to a lot of young clubs who are either rebuilding or starting out like us and the Gold Coast that you can climb up the ladder pretty quickly.”
The Giants themselves have enjoyed an impressive start to the year, posting two wins – including one over cross-town rivals Sydney – to sit 14th after six rounds.
The club will this week be boosted by the return of Josh Kelly (hamstring) and Toby Greene (suspension), while Rhys Palmer, Lachie Whitfield and Dylan Shiel are also a chance.
Star ruckman Shane Mumford (knee) won’t be risked on Saturday, but Jeremy Cameron will likely play despite injuring his ear last round.
“It’s good that there are about three or four players ready to come back,” the coach said.
“It’s a going to be a huge task for us (against Port Adelaide), but we look forward to it.
“It’s a great opportunity for our young players to come up against a genuine top-four side.”