One of the biggest bombshells has landed ahead of this year’s AFL trade and free agency period, with Greater Western Sydney star Zac Williams confirming he will leave the club.
The restricted free agent has played 113 games for the Giants since coming through their Academy system and being selected in the 2013 rookie draft. His switch from half-back flanker to the midfield was crucial in the club’s run to the 2019 grand final.
With the Giants always set for a contract crunch at the end of this season, he was viewed as priority no.2 behind reigning Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron. He did have a multi-year offer at one point, but elected to put talks off until the end of the season.
As recently as last week it was thought he was a fifty-fifty chance of staying on.
Giants football boss Jason McCartney said in a club statement he was “disappointed” to hear of Williams’ decision.
“We understand that free agency is part of the current football landscape and that the players have the right to go down this path,” he said.
Williams, 26, is thought to be firmly in Carlton’s sights, although Essendon, North Melbourne and St Kilda are also thought to be in the running.
As a restricted free agent, GWS do have the right to match an offer made by a rival club, but it’s unlikely they’ll have the salary cap space to do so.
He joins Aidan Corr (who is almost certain to join North Melbourne) and retiring duo Sam Jacobs and Tommy Sheridan in leaving the Giants this season. Cameron and Sam Reid are GWS’ other restricted free agents, while out-of-contract Harry Perryman is thought to be in demand.