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.
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 and he will be a key player for the emerging Giants for several years to come.
Griffen’s eye-catching play makes him an excellent marketing option, while away from the playing arena Griffen is a keen fisherman and he is one of Asics AFL ambassadors.