MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Zac Williams of the Giants celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the GWS Giants at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Since their 2017 Preliminary Final loss to Richmond, Greater Western Sydney have lost a host of talented names including Nathan Wilson, Devon Smith, Tom Scully and Rory Lobb.

However, it was the trade of Dylan Shiel to Essendon which left many questioning the Giants’ premiership credentials.

The Giants however, did not slip out of the eight at all during 2019, and despite finishing sixth, there were high expectations with the club full to the brim with talent and three years of finals experience under their belts.

Although GWS will be the underdogs heading into Saturday and will have to negotiate a hostile pro-Richmond crowd, they will be no push-overs.

With Toby Greene back in the team and Lachie Whitfield poised to return from his appendix surgery, Leon Cameron will have a much stronger side, in comparison to the team that faced Collingwood, at his disposal.

However, it is not the Giants’ superstars who will make the difference for the eight-year-old club. Tagger Matt de Boer, who has been discussed at length heading into the game, will be crucial in nullifying the impact of Richmond’s number one player, Dustin Martin.

The last time the two faced off, de Boer held the former Brownlow medallist to just 15 disposals and frustrated the midfielder into lashing out and striking GWS’ Adam Kennedy.

The former Docker isn’t the only role player who will have a part to play in a GWS victory. 20-year-old Harry Perryman was influential in the Giants’ shock victory over Collingwood in the preliminary final, tallying 23 disposals, eight tackles and four score involvements to help pull his club over the line.

Perryman, who lined up at half-forward and rotated through the middle, will be tasked with limiting the influence of Richmond rebounders Bachar Houli and Nick Vlastuin and keeping outside midfielders Brandon Ellis and Josh Caddy away from the ball.

GWS also have one of the game’s leading forwards in Jeremy Cameron and the tough defensive pair of Phil Davis and Nick Haynes to lean on if things get tough.

Many Giants will be playing sore on Saturday after their gruelling game against the Pies, but the energy and momentum the group carry into the game is eerily similar to the 2016 Western Bulldogs.

Head Coach Leon Cameron will undoubtedly be hoping his men can take down the heavily fancied Tigers in the same fashion the Bulldogs took down the Sydney Swans three years ago.