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2022 AFL Team Previews: GWS Giants

March 1st 2022, 12:08pm, By: Jack Tobin

GWS Giants Team Preview

Despite key departures in the off-season and an abundance of injuries, the Giants managed to make their way to the Semi Final in 2021. It was an impressive campaign in the face of adversity, but can they reproduce that form in 2022? 

Jack Tobin will be previewing EVERY team in the lead up to the 2022 season, while PuntingInDanger and his crew will be back this year to give their betting tips on every game. Be sure to head to the AFL Tips page for regular updates! 

GWS Giants Season Preview

Squad

In: Finn Callaghan (Pick 3), Leek Aleer (Pick 15), Josh Fahey (Pick 42), Jarrod Brander (Delisted Free Agent)

Out: Jeremy Finlayson (Port Adelaide)

The Giants lost Jeremy Finnlayson during the trade period, and struck out on Chad Wingard and Luke Bruest. The trade period didn’t go to plan, but the Giants secured the highly sought after Finn Callaghan at pick three in the National Draft, and picked up mature aged defender Leek Aleer to add some depth to their key defensive posts.

After missing finals in 2020, coupled with the departures of Jeremy Cameron, Zac Williams, Jye Caldwell, Aidan Corr and Jackson Hately, there wasn’t much optimism surrounding the Giants coming into 2021. The Giants fell to 0-3 with captain Stephen Coniglio and former captain Phil Davis suffering long term injuries, and all hope looked lost for GWS. The Giants rallied to finish in seventh place, defeating their crosstown rivals Sydney in the Elimination Final.

There will be plenty of intrigue around the Giants ruck structure, with Brayden Pruess, Matt Flynn and Kieran Briggs all competing for that position. The Giants didn’t use a two ruck lineup at all last year, so it’s safe to say there’s one position up for grabs between them.

The Giants will be without Toby Greene for the first five weeks of the season which will be a massive challenge, but if Jesse Hogan can stay fit then the Giants will have enough avenues to goal. Hogan kicked 20 goals in just nine games, and made an excellent key forward partnership with Harry Himmleburg who kicked 36 goals in 2021. Tim Tarranto is set to play up forward, while another season under the belt for youngsters like Bobby Hill and Tanner Bruhn means the Giants should have enough up forward to stay afloat without Greene.

GWS’ ability to win close games in 2021 was a hallmark of their season. Seven of their eleven wins came by under 16 points, including a one point win in the Elimination Final. The Giants have a combative team that is able to grind out games, which will continue to keep themselves around the mark in 2022.

Breakout Player: Jarrod Brander

Brander arrived during the offseason as a delisted free agent, with the former Eagle set to relish bigger opportunities at his new club. After being taken at pick 13 in the 2017 National Draft West Coast threw Brander all over the field, not allowing him the opportunity to gain consistency in one position. Brander has been training as a forward and Leon Cameron has locked him into play as a key tall, which will fill Brander with a world of confidence being able to settle into one position. Playing as the third tall alongside Himmelberg and Hogan will be a perfect fit for Brander, and he’ll be well positioned to have a breakout campaign in 2022.

What Do The Giants Need To Do In 2022?

Simply put, the Giants need to find a way to stay healthy if they’re going to fulfil their potential this season. Stephen Coniglio, Matt De Boer, Phil Davis, Braydon Pruess, Jesse Hogan and Brent Daniels all missed large portions of 2021, and it’s remarkable to think how far the Giants could have gone with a healthy list. If GWS can keep its star players on the park for the majority of 2022, they’re a lock to play finals.

VERDICT

gws giants team preview

With all the adversity GWS faced last season through injuries and the Sydney Lockdown placing them away from home for the majority of the season, it’s hard to see the Giants regressing this season. Despite missing Toby Greene for the first five weeks of the season, their forward line looks incredibly deep with the acquisition of Jarrod Brander. With Sam Taylor starting to become one of the best key defenders in the competition, the Giants have an outstanding spine. And as they’ve had for the majority of their existence in the AFL, the Giants star studded midfield is as good as any in the league. Barring an abundance of injuries the Giants will be playing in September, and they could cause some chaos as they did last season if they get there. 

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