Friday night at The Cattery GWS went down to Geelong by 61 points and were held to their second lowest score in the club’s short history.
The Giants were atrocious by foot recording 71 clangers and a disposal efficiency of less than 60%. Missing stars to injury like Jeremy Cameron, Brett Deledio, Toby Greene, Josh Kelly and Zac Williams, as well as important role players like Rory Lobb, Adam Kennedy and Tom Scully leaves too much up to too few with their depth players only able to provide so much.
The stand ins last night were not up to scratch against the well organised Geelong defence and a deep opposition midfield. Former Collingwood defender Lachlan Keefe actually outshone number one pick Jon Patton in the ruck for the Giants last night (Patton’s career and the Giants’ ruck conundrum post-Mumford are two stories for another time) but recycled Carlton forward Dylan Buckley couldn’t impact enough with just the seven touches to go with his four tackles. First year draftee Nick Shipley looked in over his head with a handball as his only impact with the ball.
Other mature age pickups like Matt de Boer, Daniel Lloyd, Sam J. Reid and Zac Langdon all serve their purpose for such a young club that has turned over so many since it began. These older heads provide maturity off-field and hardened bodies on-field but when all are in the same AFL side it lacks the necessary class to take it up to the best teams in tough matches.
As an interstate club a top four finish for the Giants is crucial. If they can’t get their key players on the field like Greene and Cameron they have to find another way to win to maintain their high grasp on the ladder. A flag this year before the contracts of key players like Dylan Shiel and Josh Kelly expire in 2019 could be the last chance for a period of time before young mids like Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper and Will Setterfield mature should Shiel and Kelly be lured back to Victoria on deals the talent rich Giants can’t afford.