Squad Breakdown: GWS Giants SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at the GWS Giants SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 AFL season.

AFL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

After missing the finals in 2020, Greater Western Sydney clawed its way into the finals in 2021 and knocked out a more fancied Sydney Swans in a thrilling elimination final, before being dispatched by Geelong in the semis.

On paper they look like a side who will be competing for spots anywhere from 5th to 12th on the ladder again in 2022, with enough A-graders to cause some headaches for the teams above them.

The Giants seem to have shed their ‘Ferrari’ tag of years gone by and are no longer the team chocked full of first round draft picks that they once were.

They’re starting to bring through the next wave of young players and you can expect to see more of that in 2022 as players like Tom Green, Lachie Ash, Harry Perryman and Sam Taylor become very good AFL players.

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In terms of player movement, key forward Jeremy Finlayson (traded) has gone to Port Adelaide and Shane Mumford, who was rivalling John Farnham for comebacks, has bowed out which will open up a full-time ruck spot in the best 22.

The Giants signed former GWS Academy product Jarrod Brander after he was delisted by West Coast and draftees Finn Callaghan, Leek Aleer and Josh Fahey have come via the 2021 draft.

On the injury front, GWS are fairly healthy, the one blemish being Brett Daniels who fractured the Lisfranc joint in his foot. They’ll also be missing Toby Greene for the first five weeks of the season as he serves his umpire contact suspension.

Best 22 (Injured players omitted)

FB: C. Idun, S. Taylor, P. Davis
HB: I. Cumming, N. Haynes, L. Whitfield
C: H. Perryman, J. Kelly, L. Ash
HF: C. Ward, H. Himmelberg, S. Coniglio
FF: D. Lloyd, J. Hogan, B. Hill
R: B. Preuss, J. Hopper, T. Taranto
I/C: T. Green, M. Flynn, X. O’Halloran, J. Brander

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Top Price Guns

Josh Kelly // $582,200 // MID // 2021 Ave: 107.0

One of the smoothest movers in the AFL, Kelly’s 2021 season average dipped below 110 PPG for the first time since 2017.

The key to this was a slow start where the poised left-footer posted just one triple figure score in the first 6 rounds.

The big tick that Kelly can lay claim to however was his improved durability, playing 21 games for the season after back-to-back tallies of 14 matches in 2019 and 2020.

The upside of Kelly as a SC option is that his ceiling is enormous and can pump out scores north of 130 points with ease.

Provided he can get through the remainder of the pre-season uninjured, I think he’s an appealing option and can get back to averaging upwards of 110 PPG.

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Tim Taranto // $529,700 // MID-FWD // 2021 Ave: 97.3

Taranto is one of the most relevant SC forwards to kick off proceedings in 2022 with his dual-position eligibility.

The question on my mind however is how many midfield minutes is he going to be seeing week in, week out?

With the likes of Kelly, Hopper, Ward, Green, de Boer, O’Halloran and Ash running around, his time could be limited.

Taranto has shown he knows where the goals are and with Toby Greene suspended for the first five rounds, they may look to play through Taranto a bit more inside 50.

At $500K+, I’m happy to see how his role plays out over the first month of the season, before deciding whether to pull the trigger.

Jacob Hopper // $527,700 // MID // 2021 Ave: 97.0

Hopper has become a mainstay of the Giants’ midfield over the last couple of years and took his SC game to a new level in 2021 with a career-best average of 97 PPG.

However, with so many other star players around him and some younger players starting to emerge, points on offer are at a premium and for that reason I think he’s reached his ceiling in this team.

He would be a decent late-round pick for a draft squad, but not someone I would be looking at for classic.

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Lachie Whitfield // $502,600 // DEF // 2021 Ave: 92.3

Whitfield’s season was a bit of a write off in 2021. He missed the first six weeks recovering from liver bruising and when he returned, he mixed his form more than what we’ve seen in previous seasons.

For that reason, I’m willing to forgive that season average of 92 and tell you that Whitfield presents serious value in 2022.

This was a guy who averaged 111 PPG in 2019 and is under-priced based on what he’s capable of.

His injury history presents some minor concerns (he’s had concussions and other unusual injuries in the past), but if he can get through 22 games then I think he’ll be laying down serious claims to be being the top scoring defender.

He’s every chance to become a MID-DEF at some stage in the season if he plays through the midfield.

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Bargain Bin Buys

Stephen Coniglio // $261,300 // MID-FWD // 2021 Ave:

By all reports Coniglio hasn’t missed a beat this pre-season and is looking fit as he tries to revitalise his career at GWS, which is a weird thing to say about a player who is still a captain of the club (albeit sharing it with two other players in case Leon Cameron drops him again).

His ownership at the time of writing is a whopping 64%, so two in every three teams has Coniglio in it and for that reason the risk attached to picking him is low.

The obvious question is how much time is he going to be playing forward of the ball, a role which historically he has struggled in?

But I think he can make some good early season money for us and if can get to the mid-$400K range by the bye rounds, he’ll have done his job. Currently at F4 in my side.

Braydon Preuss // $204,700 // RUCK // 2021 Ave: DNP

I’ve decided to put Preuss in the bargain bin rather than rookie section as we all know that he’s a more than capable ruckman at AFL level.

Unfortunately, he had the start of his 2021 campaign ruined by a shoulder injury and then also couldn’t get a run ahead of the Giants’ other rucks later in the year.

My opinion is that he might be worth a look as a late-round pick in a draft competition, but Preuss is just not worth the punt in classic. I just don’t think he’ll score enough and the internal competition between GWS rucks could force him out if he has a poor game.

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Rookie Gems

The cupboard is pretty bare when it comes to GWS rookies who are likely to be in the frame for Round 1 selection.

Finn Callaghan might be one we see at some point in the season after being taken at pick 3 in last year’s draft, but I don’t think we’ll see him early on.

Jake Stein played four games last year and is priced at $176K, but is unlikely be in the Giants’ best 22 to start the season and would probably need other players to be unavailable to get a look in.

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