Lock and Load: Formerly known as the Zac Williams ($516,200) spiel, this section is now sadly surplus to requirements. Get well soon, Zac.
Feeling Lucky: If there was an award for Supercoach Defender of the Decade (and why isn’t there one, I should like to know), then Heath Shaw ($458,100) would be at Winxesque odds to win it. Heater has been a lock in the back six since he moved to the GWS in 2014, averaging 104 in his first three seasons in orange. It seems age might have finally caught up with Shaw in 2017, as he suffered a 20 ppg drop in his scoring. But as Thommo has suggested earlier, with Nathan Wilson off to Freo and Zac Williams seemingly gone for the season, Shaw may have to step up again in the twilight of his career. Given his scoring history, he is excellent value.
Money Maker: Missing two of his most important backmen from last season, Leon Cameron might have to get creative to fill in the gaps in the Giants’ defence. Isaac Cumming ($123,900) is a rebounding defender who was the 20th pick in the 2016 draft, and spent last season honing his skills in the NEAFL. His game style seems to be a like-for-like replacement for Williams, so the teenager may get a go this year. Lachlan Keeffe ($123,900) is a more experienced option, albeit a key position one, and has also been suggested as a back-up ruckman to Rory Lobb this year. Keeffe comes with D/F versatility.
Lock and Load: I made more than a few dud calls last year, and one of the worst was deciding that none of the GWS mids were viable in Supercoach ‘because they all steal points off each other’. Josh Kelly ($628,600) quickly set about making a mockery of that notion, finishing fifth in the Brownlow and raising his SC average by an incredible 27 ppg to a team-best 114. After resisting the Roos’ offer of a Caribbean island and a private yacht for his services, Kelly re-signed with the Giants at the end of the season, and you’d be brave to suggest he won’t at least reproduce last year’s effort.
Feeling Lucky: Stephen Coniglio ($452,400) had a frustrating campaign last year, missing 15 games after two bouts of the dreaded syndesmosis injury. Coniglio was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, and had his breakout year in 2016 (106ppg). Tough, skilful and team-oriented, Coniglio gets my stamp of approval and is vying with Patrick Cripps for the M6 spot in my current lineup. His price is in that tricky limbo range however, and if you start with him, there will probably be a point at some stage during the season when you question whether he’s a keeper.
As always, there are a bunch of sub-elite Giants in the midfield for you to choose from (today’s trivia: the collective noun for Giants is percussion). Callan Ward ($548,300), Dylan Shiel ($537,300), Lachie Whitfield ($536,600) and Tom Scully ($484,600) will probably all have fine seasons, but fall just short of the top tier of SC midfielders. Be warned: I said the same thing about Kelly 12 months ago!
Money Maker: After six years in the league, the Giants’ list is now pretty well established. There isn’t a lot of space for rookies, with the odd exception of a Taranto-type player. Will Setterfield ($195,700) may buck the trend this year. The fifth pick in the 2016 draft (Taranto was number 2), Setterfield is what flashy commentators like to call the “prototypical modern midfielder”, which means he’s tall (191cm), tough (can play inside or outside), and talented. Showed good signs on debut in round 18 against the Tigers, with 12 touches and six tackles. A bit on the expensive side for a rookie, but should be considered, and can be switched to the forwards also.
Feeling Lucky: The downside of a big man leaving is that he leaves a big gap to fill. The retirement of Shane Mumford seems to have come as a bit of a shock to the GWS list managers, as it has fallen upon the angular shoulders of Rory Lobb (see below) to take on the ruck duties. It’s also come as a surprise to the Champion Data folk, as Lobb is not even listed as a ruckman in Supercoach this year. Instead, we have Dawson Simpson ($290,300) as the lone orange option. He couldn’t outrun maple syrup, but big Dawso went alright in the couple of games he managed to play last year. Awkwardly priced, yet if he gets that role as the primary ruck….
Lock and Load: I’m filthy at myself for even mentioning him, but Toby Greene ($528,100) is the standout premium forward at GWS, and one of the best in the league WHEN HE’S NOT DOING SOMETHING STUPID, LIKE PUNCHING BLOKES IN THE HEAD RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE UMP. Sigh. I won’t be picking him, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, because he is perfectly capable of finishing the year as the number 1 forward.
Or, you know, not.
Feeling Lucky: As alluded to earlier, the retirement of Shane Mumford has made Rory Lobb ($396,500) a popular pre-season choice in the forwards, based around speculation that his new primary ruck role will help make him a top six forward. Scores of 108 and 129 in last years finals series, playing that exact lone ruck role, would seem to support that hypothesis. Hmm, I think I might have just talked myself into selecting him! The other guy to consider is “Old Man” Brett Deledio ($339,800), who is of course not old at all, but a recent spate of injuries have resulted in a heavily discounted starting price. He’s hard to recommend on that basis alone, but at full fitness he is elite, as evidenced by his eight consecutive seasons averaging 100+. Monitor!
Money Maker: See Will Setterfield ($195,700) and Lachlan Keefe ($123,900), above. Zac Giles-Langdon ($117,300) is a mature-age recruit from Claremont whose pre-season should be watched closely. Keep an eye out for names like Tiziani and Sproule, too.
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