Giants defender James Peatling will debut for Greater Western Sydney this weekend after knocking on the door of an AFL career for the last three years.

The 20-year old, who hales from Toongabbie, was taken in at pick eight by the Giants during the 2021 NAB AFL Mid-Season draft and will play his first game for the Giants in Round 20.

Peatling missed out on three occasions to make an AFL senior list and came through the  Giants Academy pathway under the guidance of Academy coach Jason Saddington, who told Giants Media that "he always had serious X-factor".

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"He was aways extremely talented, he just wasn’t able to expose it enough or be consistent enough,” he said.

Peatling told Giants Media back in June that the GWS academy pathway puts a "straight line [on] where you need to go."

"I'm very fortunate I probably wouldn't have been in the position I am if I didn't have it," he said.

GWS Coach Leon Cameron praised the youngster for his hard work and said in a team meeting on Thursday that it was a great story of persistence.

“He probably thought his dream was gone. But he’s knuckled down and we got him back this year and he’s just put his head down and his bum up and he just turns up every week,” he said.

On a number of times Cameron had to "give [Peatling] a really tough phone call" that he was not making the GWS senior side.

“That probably sent you into a bit of a spin for a year and you lost your way a bit in terms of, ‘was footy the biggest thing he wanted to achieve?," he said.

However, Peatling's consistent form and work ethic in the VFL program provided him with the opportunity to achieve his lifelong dream of playing AFL footy.

“It’s pretty unreal, considering if you told me last year I would be playing my first game this year I probably would have laughed at you,” he said.

Peatling was stoked at the news and said there were "times around 2019 when [he ] expected to be on a list but wasn't so there were a few times [he] nearly threw it way."

“I think I’m just a lot fitter and being in a full-time program - even for just half a year - has been really beneficial for me to lift my game from where it was to where it is now.”

The Giants will face off against Port Adelaide at Metricon stadium in Queensland this Sunday.