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Season review: Greater Western Sydney

High-priced Giant 'needs to lift' What went right and what went wrong for GWS in The Wash-Up

In a nutshell

The Giants had far too many key players miss multiple games through injury, fought hard to make the finals, but came up short again because of some important lapses in a big final. Deja vu anyone?

What we said in the pre-season 

We got it wrong in tipping Brett Deledio to lead the Giants' to an historic flag, with the veteran suffering more injury worries and the team going out at the semi-final stage. Dylan Shiel will poll some votes but is no chance of winning the Brownlow. Nick Haynes wasn't All Australian, but did have an outstanding season.


Have your say: Give your season verdict on the Giants using the form at the bottom of this article


What worked

Lachie Whitfield as a defender

The wingman stepped in across half- back with Zac Williams injured and filled the role to perfection, earning himself his first All Australian jacket.

Harry Himmelberg's emergence inside 50

The former defender picked up where he left off last year and played every game, kicking 29 goals to sit second in the club's goalkicking.

Last year's recruiting

Mature-age forward Zac Langdon was a revelation, while Sam Taylor was a key member of the backline until he was injured late. Aiden Bonar and Brent Daniels also showed a bit at senior level.

What failed

Injury prevention

The Giants had some bad luck again, but Toby Greene, Brett Deledio, Ryan Griffen, Matt de Boer and Sam Taylor all missed multiple games with soft tissue injuries, and at important stages of the year.

Goalkicking accuracy

A return of 287.314 for the year at 43.9 per cent had the Giants ranked 14th in the League, and some critical misses cost them in their semi-final loss to Collingwood.

Finals attitude

On the big stage at the MCG the Pies kicked 3.6 to 0.2 in the first term and if not for their own poor finishing, the game would have been over at quarter-time. GWS also failed to fire a shot with the game on the line in the final term.

Overall rating

C

Another solid season considering the missing stars, but it ultimately ended without success.

The coach

Leon Cameron took his club to a third straight finals campaign and had to do it the hard way again thanks to a constant battle to get his best team on the field. Made some important tactical moves in the Giants' elimination final win over Sydney. Out of contract at the end of 2020.

Leon Cameron had to do it the hard way in 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

The leaders 

Co-captains Phil Davis and Callan Ward continued to lead the Giants brilliantly, with both players integral members of the side both on and off the field. The pair works well together, and their form was outstanding.

MVP

Stephen Coniglio: The star midfielder was strangely left out of the All Australian squad but led the team for disposals, was ranked second in clearances and tackles, and kicked 24 goals for the year.

Surprise packet

Lachie Whitfield: The elite runner averaged 26.8 possessions per game after being moved to half-back and was named All Australian, then starred during the finals when moved back to the midfield.

Get excited

Harry Himmelberg: The athletic swingman kicked 29 goals and didn't miss a game for the season, providing the Giants with a reliable and versatile target inside 50.

Disappointment

Toby Greene: It started with a broken toe in the off-season and was followed by hamstring and foot issues that limited the gun forward to just nine games for the year.

Best win

Round 11: Giants 14.13 (97) d. Adelaide 11.15 (81)

The Giants had lost four in a row when they went to Adelaide with their season on the line and came away with a famous victory after booting the last three goals of the game.

Best individual performance

Josh Kelly. Round 20 v Carlton

The star onballer dined out on the hapless Blues, with 41 touches, 16 inside 50s, 10 clearances and five tackles.

Low point

With their season on the line, the Giants gave up three goals in the first five minutes of the final term against Collingwood and blew a massive chance to make a third straight preliminary final.

The big questions

Will Dylan Shiel or another big name leave the club this year?

Is Rory Lobb the answer in the ruck or should Dawson Simpson get the gig to allow him to go forward?

Who will be the first GWS star to sign a new deal next season?

Season in a song

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

Who's done?

Retirements: Ryan Griffen

De-listings: Nil

Unsigned free agents: Tim Mohr

How should they approach trade and draft period?

The Giants targeted small forwards last year and picked up Zac Langdon and Brent Daniels but could just elect to get the best available talent this year. Academy big man Kieren Briggs is a likely prospect and will add ruck depth which they need.

Early call for 2019

Anything less than a return to the top four will be a failure and if they can get some long-awaited luck on the injury front, it's a certainty. 

Giants fans: what's your season verdict?

Share your views via the form below and we'll publish the best responses on Wednesday, September 26. 

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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs