GWS will confront familiar foes in Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams and Will Hoskin-Elliott when they tackle Collingwood in Saturday's knock-out AFL final at the MCG.
The Giants entered rugby league heartland armed with a war chest of draft, list and salary cap concessions, which were steadily phased out in ensuing years after their AFL debut in 2012.
The rules meant the expansion side were never going to be able to retain every youngster they wanted to.
Most clubs have benefited from the overflow of talent. Few have benefited as much as the Magpies.
Treloar is almost certainly the best player to have left GWS, having signed a six-year deal with Collingwood in 2015 after four seasons with the Giants, but that's only part of the reason his exit hurt so much.
The star on-baller was regarded as a future leader in western Sydney; now he shapes as a future captain at Collingwood.
"I sort of knew I was giving up an opportunity to be a part of something that's going to be truly remarkable, when they do eventually win something," Treloar said.
"Being a part of that footy club for its foundation years is something I'm extremely proud of and it's made me the man I am.
"I support them well and truly, but obviously not this week."
GWS always suspected Adams, who left after fulfilling the mandatory two-year draftee contract, might head home to Victoria.
But the rise and rise of Adams has nonetheless stung. The hard-nosed midfielder, now a vital cog in one of the league's best engine rooms, finished second in the Magpies' best and fairest count last year.
Hoskin-Elliott, who sought greater opportunities after being left out of the Giants' team from round four onwards in 2016, has also kicked on.
"I haven't spoken to any of them the last few days. I probably won't expect to receive a text throughout the week either," GWS skipper Callan Ward said.
"They've all been gone a couple of years. They've moved on and we've moved on as well.
"When you've been in the system for a while you start to understand player movement, the offers that some guys get, and that you can't hold things against anybody.
"I loved playing alongside them. Now they're at a different club and it happens to be the team that we're playing against in a semi-final, I'm really looking forward to it."
Giants key forward Jeremy Cameron, like Ward, hasn't made contact or received any messages from Treloar, Adams or Hoskin-Elliott this week.
"But there might be a bit said during the game, that's for sure," he grinned.
Australian Associated Press