MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jeremy Cameron of the Giants celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the GWS Giants at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

At first glance, the Giant's list doesn't look in dire need of any help as it is well-balanced and there aren't any glaring weaknesses.

Despite losing several star players in recent years, including an exodus of six in 2020, it is still a finals calibre list.

The back half is well covered, the midfield is a trench and the forward line is capable of scoring highly.

The men from Tom Wills Oval surprised many this season to make their fifth finals series after being smashed in the 2019 grand final and finishing 10th in 2020, the Giants looked in all sorts after starting the season 0-3.

While GWS has shown they can contend, what do they need to take the next step forward to win their first flag?

SEE ALSO:
-  If your team could steal one player: Adelaide Crows

-  If your team could steal one player: Brisbane Lions
 If your team could steal one player: Carlton Blues
-  If your team could steal one player: Collingwood Magpies
-  If your team could steal one player: Essendon Bombers
-  If your team could steal one player: Fremantle Dockers
- If your team could steal one player: Geelong Cats
- If your team could steal one player: Gold Coast Suns

Gaps in best 22

Despite the thought that their list well stocked, Greater Western Sydney do need a key position player. A key forward to be precise.

The club had the least amount of total goals out of the top eight this season, which would surely leave coach Leon Cameron seeking a lifeline in the forward line.

The loss of Jeremy Finlayson (23 goals) to Port Adelaide hurts, especially after losing Jeremy Cameron the year before. This leaves a lot of pressure on Harry Himmelberg.

A potential star forward that has previously been compared to greats like Wayne Carey and Matthew Pavlich remains on the fringe in Jake Riccardi, but he doesn't get game time.

AFL Rd 14 - Fremantle v GWS
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29: Jake Riccardi of the Giants celebrates a goal with Stephen Coniglio during the round 14 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Optus Stadium on August 29, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

While the club does have Toby Greene (45 goals), he clearly isn't a tall, and will be missing the first five weeks of 2022 due to suspension.

Retaining Ian 'Bobby' Hill will help, and the addition of Jesse Hogan (20 goals in nine games) worked a treat, but both need to remain consistent, something that has proven a challenge for Hogan across the course of his career.

The aforementioned deep midfield doesn't really require a boost, as pick No.3 Finn Callaghan will bring that. So a key position down back could be an option.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Finn Callaghan of Vic Metro poses for a photograph during the 2021 NAB AFL Draft Victoria Training Day at Trevor Barker Oval on November 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Meanwhile in the ruck, Shane Mumford has retired, leaving a big hole to fill. The Giants do have a few rucks on their list, but they haven't had much experience.

Finding a ready-made ruck would do wonders, and an even better option would be one that could help up-forward as well.

 

Candidates to steal

 Option 1: Jeremy Cameron

The prodigal son returns! At least in the hypothetical scenario.

What's better than a key forward who is a former Coleman medalist? Even better, one that played nine seasons at your club and knows the structure.

Cameron was the leading goal kicker at the Giants in each of his nine seasons there, and is sorely missed.

In his first season at the Cattery, the two-time All-Australian averaged 11.7 disposals, 3.8 marks and 2.6 goals from 15 games.

A return to his original team would 100 percent help the club, and it would also make for a good story.

 

Option 2: Sean Darcy

A young ruck who can now find himself amongst the premier ruckmen in the competition after a breakout 2021 season.

Darcy had a career-best season at Fremantle, averaging 28.5 hit-outs (an elite 10 to advantage), 16.6 disposals, 4.3 marks and 4.7 clearances.

The 23-year-old was unlucky not to make the All-Australian team in a best and fairest season.

Still being young, the Victorian will help the current stock of rucks at West Sydney while also continuing to develop his own game.

With Mumford gone, GWS need a new big bodied ruck, and Darcy fits the bill.

 

Option 3: Jacob Weitering

While a key forward is the most sought option for GWS in this article, the men over the other side of the ground could use an extra hand.

With that in mind, in comes Weitering.

The Blue is one of the best defenders in the competition and has yet to reach his prime, at just 24-years-old.

After a best and fairest season in 2020, Weitering followed it up with another stellar season. He averaged 16.4 disposals, 7.6 marks, 6.3 rebounds and 8.0 spoils.

The Giants have youthful defence, and a young player with experience like the Dandenong Stingray product would help exponentially.

 

Option 4: Tom Papley

More scoring power is needed at GWS, and one name that could provide that is Papley.

If the Giants were to steal the small forward from across town, they would have an easy replacement for Greene in the first five rounds.

The Swan kicked a career-high 43 goals in 2021, while averaging 13.6 disposals, 3.9 marks and 1.9 goals. His season saw cemented as one of the competitions best small forwards with his maiden All-Australian jumper.

The Victorian brings crumbing ability, pressure and speed to the game, and would become one of Leon Cameron's best.

 

Verdict

Like we've said, the Giants need scoring power. This season saw 10 players kick 10 or more goals and they ranked last for scoring in the top eight.

With Finlayson out the door and Greene suspended for the opening five rounds, the start of the season could be disastrous.

While the idea of Jeremy Cameron returning would be great, they had their chances to win a flag with him and couldn't.

That's why we say take Papley from Sydney.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Tom Papley of the Swans shows his emotion during the round seven AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on May 01, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The 25-year-old would fill the void Greene leaves at the beginning of the season, but he could also potentially replace him up forward. This would leave Greene to run amok in the midfield, where he can be just as damaging.

Or, you could have both playing up-forward. Imagine that.

The idea of both Papley and Greene in the same team is a scary thought.