Who are Max Gruzewski and Caiden Cleary?  GWS and Sydney young guns are set to make their AFL Sydney Derby debut

Who are Max Gruzewski and Caiden Cleary? GWS and Sydney young guns are set to make their AFL Sydney Derby debut

The 28th Sydney Derby will be big for two players from either side of the division, with GWS’s Max Gruzewski and Sydney’s Caiden Cleary in line to make their AFL debuts in Saturday’s game.

The pair have been very impressive in the VFL this season and in a game important to both the race for the minor premiership and a precious place in the top eight, they were confident they would get the job done at ENGIE Stadium.

Sports News looks at this weekend’s Sydney Derby debutants and their burgeoning careers to date.

MORE: AFL trade rumors | AFL injury list

Who is Max Gruzewski? Career, Giants rookie position

Max Grusewski grew up in Victoria and started his career with the Oakleigh Chargers in his home state.

Selected with the 22nd pick of the 2022 AFL Draft, the forward – who is 192cm tall – played a major role in the Giants’ VFL side in 2023, being the second-highest kicker with 26 goals.

He has continued his form this season, kicking 22 goals in just 10 games this season, including two in the VFL side’s final game against Port Melbourne.

He had to bide his time to make his debut, but coach Adam Kinglsey has entrusted him to perform on the big stage, with the Giants needing a win to secure a place in the top eight.

Earlier this week, the Giants released a video on social media of Gruzewski informing his family that he would be making his debut for the Giants, with his mother and father having an emotional response to the news.

Gruzewski will play at half-forward for the Giants in this weekend’s derby.

Who is Caiden Cleary? Career, debutant position at Swans

Caiden Cleary is a product of the Sydney Swans Academy team, who was selected at pick 24 in last year’s draft; premiers Collingwood were interested in him, but Sydney matched the Magpies’ offer.

He is a midfield workhorse who first came to the fore for the Swans VFL side in 2023, where he made back-to-back 22-disposal performances.

He has played 10 times this season for the Swans’ VFL side, having a standout performance against the Northern Bullants with 39 disposals, six marks and five tackles in a 21-point win for the Swans.

The performances were enough for John Longmire to select him on the bench for this weekend’s Sydney derby, where he will be looking for energy and a strong running game from the 19-year-old midfielder.

The news of his debut was received very positively by his teammates, who congratulated him warmly when Longmire broke the news at training.

How to watch GWS vs Sydney this weekend

This weekend’s Sydney Derby kicks off at 16:35 AEST on Saturday 22 June.

Region Melbourne Sydney Adelaide Brisbane Perth Tasmania Darwin
Canal Fox Footy Fox Footy/7Mate Fox Footy Fox Footy Fox Footy Fox Footy Fox Footy
Broadcast time 4:30 p.m 4:30 p.m 16:00 4:30 p.m 2:30 p.m 4:30 p.m 16:00

This game and every game of the home and away season will be available for live streaming and replay Kayo Sports.

Team Lists GWS vs. Sydney Round 15


IN: Lachie Ash, Max Gruzewski, James Peatling

OUT: Sam Taylor, Nick Haynes, Aaron Cadman


IN: Caiden Cleary

OUT: Matt Roberts