The Giants had their moments in a season that started 6-2 but as the season progressed they were unable to keep up with the contenders.
BY THE NUMBERS
W-L-D (%): 9-9 (87.7%)
Players used: 56
Played every match: 4 – Wade Derksen, Darcy Edmends, Ryan Hebron and Barry O’Connor
AFL players used: 27
Debutants: 26 – Jakob Anderson, Aaron Cadman, Mitchell Conn, James Creighton, Isaac Cumming*, Josaia Delana, Darcy Edmends, Jason Gillbee, Jack Glanvill, Max Gruzewski, Darcy Jones, Darcy Jones-Hughes, Daniel Lloyd*, Andrew Mathieson, Charlie McCormack, Toby McMullin, Taine Moraschi, Nick Newton, Dayne Posthuma, Tyson Pratt, Harry Rowston, Mitchell Ryan, William Sabolch, Harvey Thomas, Nathan Wardius and James White (*previously played NEAFL)
Best and Fairest: 1st: Cameron Fleeton, 2nd: Harry Rowston, 3rd: Barry O’Connor, 4th: Wade Derksen, 5th: Matthew Flynn
J.J. Liston Trophy votes: Matthew Flynn (7), James Peatling (7), Josh Fahey (6)
Coaches MVP votes: Josh Fahey (35), James Peatling (32), Kieren Briggs (24) and Cameron Fleeton (24)
VFL Team of the Year representatives: Cameron Fleeton
Goalkickers: Wade Derksen (34), Max Gruzewski (26), Aaron Cadman (20)
(Averages – minimum 6 matches)
Disposals: Josh Fahey (29.0), Cameron Fleeton (22.7), James Peatling (22.5)
Kicks: Josh Fahey (21.8), James Peatling (14.1), Cameron Fleeton (13.9)
Handballs: Mitchell Conn (10.5), Barry O’Connor (10.1), Harry Rowston (9.0)
Marks: Cameron Fleeton (8.1), Josh Fahey (7.4), Phil Davis (6.0)
Tackles: James Peatling (5.1), Barry O’Connor (4.4), Tom McCaffrey (3.7)
Hitouts: Matthew Flynn (22.6), Nicholas Madden (17.2), Wade Derksen (2.3)
Clearances: Harry Rowston (6.2), James Peatling (5.8), Matthew Flynn (4.4)
Inside-50s: Harry Rowston (5.5), Josh Fahey (4.4), James Peatling (4.3)
Rebound-50s: Josh Fahey (7.4), Cameron Fleeton (5.7), Phil Davis (3.4)
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Giants won six of their first eight games to get their season off to a great start. They showed their mettle in close games to pip Port Melbourne and Collingwood at the post away from home. The early run also included a first-ever win over Footscray and they also thrashed Southport by eight goals in Round 13. Cam Fleeton put together a terrific season to earn Team of the Year selection while Josh Fahey played himself into the AFL team by averaging 29 disposals per game. The forward line functioned well most weeks, with Wade Derksen enjoying a strong year and youngsters Max Gruzewski No.1 draft pick Aaron Cadman showing their potential.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The Giants struggled for continuity, using 56 players including a scarcely believable 26 debutants, 11 of which played no more than three games as they gave plenty of Academy members a chance to shine. While their best form was solid, their worst was uncompetitive, as shown by hefty defeats to Essendon (80 points), Brisbane Lions (83), North Melbourne (52), Casey Demons (96) and Sydney (78). The after-the-siren loss to Richmond in Round 11 put a major dent in their season as they lost momentum and won just three of their last 10 games.
Hard to get a read on the Giants’ season. They did have their moments but for the most part they simply didn’t have the class to go with the contenders when it mattered. Former Sydney Swan Barry O’Connor impressed through the midfield and they got plenty of games into a few former Coates Talent League youngsters who followed former Sandringham Dragons coach Wayne Cripps north such as Jakob Anderson, James Creighton, Darcy Edmends, Mitchell Ryan and Jaelen Pavlidis. The focus should clearly be on narrowing the gap between their best and their worst because the finals are well within reach if they can do so.