WHILE we wait for play to resume, and with the little bit of knowledge we've gleaned from round one, we're taking this opportunity to put the microscope on every club.
THE PRESSURE GAUGE Which coach is under the most heat?
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The biggest lesson from round one was…
New ruckman Sam Jacobs might just be the missing link. As Shane Mumford battled manfully last year as a big part of the finals campaign, the Giants went about recruiting a ruckman that can service their star-studded midfield. They landed on Jacobs and handed him a two-year deal to move from Adelaide. The 31-year-old excelled in the second half against the Cats with his tap work.
What’s their weapon in 2020?
The midfield depth is going to be off the charts. When Callan Ward (knee) and Tim Taranto (shoulder) return from injury, good luck picking a starting centre square alongside Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio, Matt de Boer and Jacob Hopper. Kelly enjoyed a pain-free pre-season and is hittig his peak as a 25-year-old.
What could be their downfall?
How much of a toll will last year's Grand Final take? Added in with three other finals exits in the previous three years, it wil be a big effort mentally for the Giants to contend again. The added trips to Canberra as home games may also pose a concern in a condensed season – the Giants catch more flights than any side in the competition.
Who missed out on round one and what does it mean for them?
Zac Williams will be ready to go whenever round two falls after missing with Achilles soreness in round one. Midfielders Jackson Hately and Jye Caldwell, both entering their second years, were overlooked and will be desperate to push into the jam-packed midfield. Sam Reid missed out, while No.4 pick Lachie Ash was close to selection.
Which players could benefit from the break between games?
Taranto's initial diagnosis of a 4-5 month shoulder injury doesn't seem so bad right now. If games return on June 1, the reigning best and fairest may only miss 6-8 games. Ward was on track to make his comeback from ACL surgery in mid-April and now it will only be a matter of match fitness in order for him to play.
Who looked set for a breakout season?
Harry Perryman's four goals against the Cats turned heads. Now that Adam Tomlinson has departed, the 22-year-old will assume a permanent role on the wing. A punctured lung cost him seven matches last year but he looks set to continue his strong form from last year's finals series. Jacob Hopper will also get greater opportunity with Tim Taranto out of the side.
Free agent Williams was already planning to put contract talks on hold until mid-season, but the delay may push it back further. Given the Giants' bursting salary cap, he will have to knock back bigger offers to stay in orange. Jeremy Cameron had opened dialogue on a new deal but will also have to wait to progress his conversation with the ability to sign beyond 2020 frozen. Perryman – who also falls out of contract – has become a fascinating case with his sudden rise in importance at the Giants. Given the commitment to long-term deals across the list, will the Giants be able to reach his market value? First-rounders Caldwell, Hately and Xavier O'Halloran also need news deals and rival clubs will be watching closely.