The Giants started strong in 2022, giving hope that this season may mark a finals appearance, but things quickly turned south.

Despite some impressive campaigns from their star players, the Giants struggled when it mattered, falling victim to some humbling losses as they reassess with a new coach heading into next season.

Season Finish: 9th
Record: 4-6

2022 Season snapshot
The Giants failed to live up to expectations in 2022. With a team stacked full of talent, finals seemed squarely on the agenda, but after a solid start to the season the Giants faltered, finishing Round 10 in ninth place and without a finals appearance.
Strong wins came against the Western Bulldogs and Geelong, but the side cost themselves with disappointing performances against Fremantle, North Melbourne and Melbourne, managing to only score one goal in their Round 6 match against the Demons.
With head coach Alan McConnell stepping down from his role at the conclusion of the season, it seems that 2022 didn't go to plan for the Giants, with a new look expected for next season.

Star player: Alyce Parker

The 21-year-old continued to star in 2022, winning her third straight best and fairest despite missing one game of the ten match season.

Averaging 18.7 disposals, 11.3 contested possession and five tackles per game in 2022, Parker was one of the most vital cogs in the Giants' midfield machine, ending the season with a club-high clearance tally.

Alongside captain Alicia Eva, Parker led a formidable midfield unit, a sight Giants fans are becoming accustomed to as Parker's game only continues to grow.

Finishing second in the best and fairest by just two votes, Eva was also one of the Giants' biggest stars, averaging 17.9 disposals and 6.4 tackles across the ten games in one of her career best seasons.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 07: Alicia Eva of the Giants kicks during the round two AFLW match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Adelaide Crows at Blacktown International Sportspark on February 07, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Breakout player: Nicola Barr 

A 2017 debutant, Barr finally found her groove at the Giants in 2022.

The 25-year-old has spent most of her 30 games in the backline, but made a seamless tradition up the ground this season, adding another layer to the Giants' midfield depth.

Finding herself up forward too, Barr managed to hit the scoreboard in three games, ending the year with 5.4 to her name. In addition to averaging 12.9 disposals a game, Barr ended the season ranked number one club-wide for marks taken, while finishing second for score involvements.

After a relatively quiet 2021 season which saw Barr play just six games, the 25-year-old reached new highs this season, managing to finish fourth in the best and fairest count, just four votes behind winner Parker.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 28: Katherine Smith of the Giants, Nicola Barr of the Giants and Lisa Steane of the Giants celebrate during the 2022 AFLW Round 04 match between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs at Henson Park on January 28, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)


Midfield unit 

The lethal combination of Parker and Eva seemed to work for the Giants this season, paired well with the positional change of Barr and the exceptional Ally Dallaway.

Stacked with talent in the middle of the ground, the Giants seemed to have little issue winning the ball, with Parker in particular accumulating clearances. With their two stars in superb form and pressure around the ground (finishing fifth competition-wide for tackles - 604) the Giants had all the makings of a finals bound team, but were let down at either end of the ground.

Ruck combo

The Giants midfield has Erin McKinnon and Ally Morphett to thank for their promising year, with the two rucks combining in career-best performances.

McKinnon excelled when handed the number one ruck spot, averaging 14.6 hit-outs per game, including a Round 9 performance which saw the 23-year-old amass 27 hit-outs.

Morphett, who made her debut in Round 1, handled herself just as well in the ruck, finishing the year with 86 hit-outs to her name.

The ruck duo were one of the best in the competition, ranked third overall (behind Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs) for total hit-outs.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: The players listen on as Giants Head Coach Alan McConnell gives instructions during GWS GIANTS AFLW training session at Tom Wills Oval at GIANTS HQ on November 15, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


Lack of forward options 

Cora Staunton steered the forward line for much of 2022, ending the season with 18 goals to become the Giants' highest scorer.

The Giants though have become overly reliant on their veteran goalkicker, with scoring issues seeming to plague the club for most of 2022. GWS failed to kick more than three goals in a game on three seperate occasions throughout the year.

Round 6 against Melbourne produced just one goal, kicked by Jess Doyle, while Round 7 was even more embarrassing, failing to kick a major as they went down to the Crows by 40 points.

At age 40, Staunton won't be playing forever to provide a dominant target up forward, and GWS will have to spend the off-season sorting out their scoring woes.

Season Grade: C

Failing to make finals again would sting the Giants, as their list has enough talent to do so. Injuries hurt the club throughout the year, but aren't to blame for a goalless outing against Adelaide.