Happier AFL days for Giant Finlayson

Jeremy Finlayson has enjoyed his best AFL season after enduring off-field issues in 2018.
Jeremy Finlayson has enjoyed his best AFL season after enduring off-field issues in 2018.

GWS surprise packet Jeremy Finlayson is enjoying his football again after emerging from mental heath issues to add an unexpected potent third weapon to the Giants' AFL tall forward arsenal.

Played down back before this season, Finlayson has returned to the forward line, where he played his junior footy, and has kicked 42 goals heading into Saturday's preliminary final against Collingwood.

The tall forward trio of Finlayson, Coleman Medallist Jeremy Cameron (72 goals) and Harry Himmleberg (37), have combined for 151 majors this year.

"Without them I wouldn't be playing the footy I'm playing," said 23-year-old Finlayson, a steal at pick 85 in the 2016 national draft.

"Jezza (Cameron) has been huge for me this year just telling me where to run, yelling at me out on the ground running patterns and stuff like that.

"42 goals in a year is something I cherish."

Finlayson is running fourth in the goal assists category dominated by GWS, with Himmelberg leading and Brent Daniels second.

"That's where our success has come this year is working together," Finlayson said.

Finlayson is clearly in a happier place off the field than he was last season.

"I wasn't enjoying footy and kind of went downhill. I went home (to CulcaIrn in the Riverina) for a few days and had to come back and just enjoy it again.

"I didn't expect the noise of the outside world. You play footy and you think everything's fine.

"The first few games I was coming off the ground and my phone had a message on there that I didn't really want to see and stuff like that.

"It was 'gee that's a bit tough. It was just the outside noise and that really got hold of me and I just had to deal with that.

"The psychologist we've got at the club Darren (Everett) has been massive for me."

Finlayson has copped plenty of ribbing from his teammates this week after a picture showing him with Brisbane's Darcy Gardiner in what appeared to be a kiss, though it wasn't.

"My phone died after the game so I didn't see anything on social media and Jezza and all the boys were 'look at you, look at you, kissing blokes!'

"I think he (Gardiner) just kind of grabbed my jumper in kind of a head clash.

"It was a pretty good photo, There was a few jokes going around on the bus, but it is what it is."

Australian Associated Press