Canberra-born Jackson Hately to make GWS Giants debut on Manuka Oval

He only spent his first two years living in Canberra, but Jackson Hately's ties with the ACT are still strong.

It's why the GWS Giant's AFL debut will be extra special when he runs out against the Fremantle Dockers at Manuka Oval on Saturday.

Canberra-born Jackson Hately will make his AFL debut for the Giants on Manuka Oval. Photo: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

Canberra-born Jackson Hately will make his AFL debut for the Giants on Manuka Oval. Photo: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

His mother's family still lives in the capital, where he regularly visited during holidays, and they'll be there to see his first game.

Hately, 18, was only drafted last year, but he's been starring for the Giants in the NEAFL and Callan Ward's season-ending knee injury has given him his chance.

He said he doesn't normally get nervous, but there might be a few on Saturday.

"The big two years I lived up there, but mum's family still lives there," Hately said of Canberra.

"I was obviously born there and then moved to Adelaide quite young, but every year I'd go there to see family and see mum's parents.

"I've got aunties, uncles and cousins all still there, so most of my family does still live there and it will be pretty special to play there in front of them for my debut."

Hately's followed a similar path to his co-captain Phil Davis.

Davis was born in Canberra before moving to Adelaide as a teenager, where Hately's father Nick taught him at Trinity College.

While Hately didn't meet Davis back then he had heard of him.

It was Davis who let him know he was making his Giants debut at a team meeting this week.

GWS Giants co-captain Phil Davis presented Hately with his guernsey. The pair have followed a similar path. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

GWS Giants co-captain Phil Davis presented Hately with his guernsey. The pair have followed a similar path. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

"I didn't know Phil, but I knew of Phil. Dad obviously taught him and I knew he had," Hately said.

"Phil was born in Canberra like myself and grew up in Adelaide so there were a few connections there, which did make it pretty special.

"Phil's been great ever since I got to the club. He's been a really big mentor and it was pretty special having him present me with my guernsey."

Hately was expecting to play on the wing, where he could find himself against Ed Langdon or former Hawthorn premiership player Bradley Hill.

The Dockers have made a solid start to the season, winning two of their opening four games to sit seventh on the AFL ladder, while the high-flying Giants have had just one loss.

Now he's got his chance, Hately's determined to make the most of it.

Ward's gone for the rest of the season following his knee reconstruction and Hately wants to fill that hole.

"I was definitely hoping that I'd be able to play this year," he said.

"I knew if I put in the work and kept getting better over the pre-season and during the year that I'd have an opportunity.

"I'm really thankful to have it now and I just want to make the most of it and just put my best foot forward and play well.

"Once I did get in my, goal's to stay in, to play well and stay in the side. It starts on Saturday and playing well there."

GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron said Hately has been knocking the door down to make his debut. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron said Hately has been knocking the door down to make his debut. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Giants coach Leon Cameron said Hately had been "knocking the door down", which was why he got the call up.

Cameron was looking forward to another sea of orange at Manuka, which has become a GWS fortress over the past three years.

They've won nine games in a row in the ACT, with their last loss back in 2015.

"His composure is probably his No.1 quality. He's composed with the footy, he doesn't get flustered, he plays with a really good, even temperament," Cameron said of Hately.

"He's tough and hard at the footy, we saw that in [the pre-season trials] where he put his head over the footy, and that's what you want from a young player."

AFL ROUND FIVE

Saturday: GWS Giants v Fremantle Dockers at Manuka Oval, 1.45pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Giants squad

FB: 21 Matt Buntine, 15 Sam Taylor, 40 Adam Kennedy

HB: 1 Phil Davis, 19 Nick Haynes, 20 Adam Tomlinson

C: 29 Zac Williams, 24 Matt de Boer, 31 Jeremy Finalyson

HF: 50 Sam Reid, 18 Jeremy Cameron, 3 Stephen Coniglio

FF: 16 Brent Daniels, 27 Harry Himmelberg, 2 Jacob Hopper

R: 41 Shane Mumford, 22 Josh Kelly, 14 Tim Taranto

Int: 9 Jackson Hately, 38 Daniel Lloyd, 6 Lachie Whitfield, 23 Heath Shaw

Emerg: 13 Isaac Cumming, 25 Lachlan Keeffe, 26 Dawson Simpson, 34 Nick Shipley