Now a member of the GWS Giants, Ryan Griffen has stamped himself as one of the competition’s most elite players over the past few seasons. Originally an AIS-AFL Academy graduate hailing from SANFL club South Adelaide, Griffen captained South Australia at the 2004 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, where he won All-Australian honours. He was selected with pick three at that year’s NAB AFL Draft by the Western Bulldogs.
Displaying his pace, skill and uncanny awareness, Griffen finished runner-up in the 2005 NAB AFL Rising Star and announced himself as a player of the future. He reached 50 AFL games in 2007, building on his style of play, before suffering a season ending knee injury. He returned in 2008 to finish second in the AFL for running-bounces, a testament to his exhilarating approach to the game, while in 2009 Griffen became one of the Bulldog’s prime movers, damaging opposition teams with his line-breaking running and precision ball use.
2010 was a breakout season for Griffen and he was duly awarded his first Charles Sutton Medal for the club’s Best and Fairest. He replicated this with a third place finish in 2011 and second place in 2012, a year in which he also reached the 150 AFL game milestone. 2013 was a career-best year for Griffen, winning a second Bulldogs Best and Fairest, while he was also named in his first All Australian team as he recorded a career high in possessions and Brownlow votes.
Appointed Bulldogs captain in 2014, Griffen overcame a debilitating back injury in pre-season to play his 200th AFL game and claim third in the Best and Fairest. At 28, Griffen requested a trade to the Giants, citing a desire to be away from the Melbourne football environment. With the Bulldogs receiving 2013 number one draft pick Tom Boyd in exchange, Griffen’s wishes were granted.
Since arriving at the Giants, Griffin has been a key identity that has helped establish and form the AFL’s 18th club. With more than 200 games under his belt before entering into the GWS list, Griffen comes to the club with great experience, leadership and mentoring qualities and has helped significantly in growing and maturing the young list. Over the 2015 and 2016 season, Griffen played 36 games, providing maturity and experience in both the midfield and forward line.
Sadly, Griffen only played 3 senior games for the Giants after sustaining a season-ending ankle injury. After playing a promising opening 3 rounds for the year, Griffen was unfortunately struck by injury and was set to miss the rest of the year. Griffen has now played 241 AFL games and will look to play his 250th in the 2018 season.