After a disappointing finish to the 2021 season with a final round one-point loss to Carlton, the Giants are looking to climb up the ladder and make their second finals appearance after five seasons in the competition.
Under coach Alan McConnell, the Giants will be hoping to transform into a more consistent side who can make it against the best.
The Giants looked like they could be a finals team for parts of 2021, though their inconsistency turned out to be their achilles heel.
Finishing in ninth with four wins and five losses, the Giants were dealt with the reality of just being average for most of season five, though their emerging talent gave fans plenty to cheer about.
Ending the season just two games outside of finals contention after a strong opening month of the year, the Giants will be looking to improve their consistent output in order to climb the ladder in 2022.
The Giants lost notable talent in the off-season, including former club rising star Elle Bennetts who found a new home at the Western Bulldogs. The club headed to the draft to compensate for a growing inactive list, while picking up some handy recruits through trade.
Recruits: Chloe Dalton (Carlton), Jasmine Grierson (North Melbourne), Katie Loynes (Carlton), Isadora McLeay (North Shore AFL Sydney, replacement player), Ally Dallaway (East Coast AFL Sydney, replacement player)
💬 "I'm still learning heaps, helping with the video and in the gym doing rehab. Bit of a letdown, but it's character building."
Isadora 'Foopsy' McLeay sat down with Chloe Dalton to give an insight into her life and footy journey so far. pic.twitter.com/SAMxtgrAO8
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) November 10, 2021
Strengths and weaknesses
The Giants overall strength is their experience, a valuable asset for a side aiming to climb the ladder into finals contention. With the inclusion of Dalton and Loynes, alongside Jasmine Grierson who played 32 games at Melbourne and the Kangaroos, the Giants have a solid group with both experience on field and in leadership settings.
As consistency was often their downfall in the past, these handy inclusions may be more valuable should the Giants find themselves in a competitive run to finals.
While the club has looked to the draft to strengthen the side, they do still seem to have holes in defence.
In 2021 against lower-ranked teams, the Giants managed to score competitively, with 48 being the season-high. However, when faced with strong opposition, like Adelaide or Brisbane, the Giants conceded big scores (62 and 55, respectively).
The Giants conceded seven or more goals on more than four occasions in season 2021. Going into 2022, defence looks like it could be the biggest obstacle to the Giants' finals plans.
Screenshot it, save it, stick it on the fridge! 📍
Here's everything you need to know about season 2022 📅 pic.twitter.com/TNMQwk4bTL
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) December 2, 2021
The first month of the season will be crucial for the Giants in 2022. Coming off a season where consistency often eluded the club, a run of three winnable games away from home would be the perfect way to start the season.
Facing Gold Coast, Fremantle and North Melbourne, one wooden spooner and two 2021 finalists, the Giants can set their season up perfectly and deliver a warning to the rest of the competition before Round 4.
With a poor track record against eventual finals teams in 2021, the Giants would struggle to fill many people with confidence about making a premiership run in 2022. Against the grand finalists last season, the Giants lost by 47 points (Adelaide) and 38 points (Brisbane) while they turned in strong performances against the lower order of the table.
While the club has recruited some valuable leadership and talent, those players alone won't be enough to lift the Giants out of the bottom half of the ladder. With a fixture that sees the side spend plenty of time at home in the back end of the season, should the Giants get off to a good start a potential finals appearance could be on the cards.
Fortunately, GWS avoid facing Brisbane in the regular season, but do meet six teams that finished ahead of them in 2021. Under pressure, it doesn't look like these Giants will be able to match it with the best.
Danielle Sorati: 11th
Mitch Keating: 10th
Jake Benoiton: 9th
Cameron Grimes: 9th
Ed Carmine: 10th
Niesha Happell: 9th
Michael Georgiou: 9th