Despite being less than a month until the start of the AFL Draft, almost all of the league's 18 clubs will believe their starting line-ups are close to complete

But irrespective of this confidence, every roster still has holes.

Due to the nature of the league, it is almost impossible for two sides to be in exactly the same place, so some of these gaps may be chasmic, whilst others may be wafer-thin.

However, if left unattended, those of any magnitude could lead a side to ruin.


Greater Western Sydney

Despite an array of AFL club’s shortcomings sitting smack bang in everyone’s line of sight, others a far more subtle.

When the Giants’ list is inspected with a diligence below that of an Agatha Christie sleuth, everything appears rosy for the orange-clad side.

Their age demographic is spread. The club has coverage in their back half. The midfield bats as deep as the Australian cricket side in the early 2000s, and like Ponting, Gilchrist and Hayden, they’re more than able to keep the scoreboard ticking over too.

Still, as the side with the lowest accumulative total of goals to end up with a spot in the eight this season, head coach Leon Cameron is unlikely to be completely content with his forward line’s production levels.

While 10 names that currently call Tom Wills Oval home managed to clock 10 or more majors in 2021, the loss of Jeremy Finlayson (23 goals) to Port Adelaide and the extended suspension of Toby Greene (45) is set to leave the Giants short across the opening month and change.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Toby Greene of the Giants looks dejected as he walks from the field after defeat in the round 22 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Western Bulldogs at GIANTS Stadium on August 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Though Finlayson was allowed to walk, like Essendon, GWS should be commended for their efforts to upgrade their offensive third at the trade table – even if they also fell short.

Despite a return to Sydney’s west remaining out of Rory Lobb’s sizable reach, the attempts made by Jason McCartney to dislodge him from his Fremantle anchoring showed that the league’s youngest side also feel they require an attacking boost.

The retention of Ian ‘Bobby’ Hill will help the scoreboard to tick over in 2022, as will a fit and firing Jesse Hogan who managed 20 goals from just nine appearances, but should either of this pair begin to wobble, a return to the eight could become a flip of the coin prospect.

With Greene’s average of 2.5 goals erased from replication until Round 6, much will now fall at the feet of the quadruple ‘H’ forward structure of Hill, Hogan and Harry Himmelberg.

But even with a boost from forward wandering midfielders in Kelly (16 goals), Ward (15), Taranto (13) and Hopper (10), the Giants’ big, big sound could well be muted if their fixture throws them a series of curveballs between weeks one and five.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Giants head coach Leon Cameron speaks to Josh Kelly of the Giants during the round 15 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Marvel Stadium on June 27, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Although some may suggest that this is a temporary hole that has the potential to be filled well before the bye, given Hill’s desire to leave, Hogan’s injury history and Greene’s rap sheet, it could well be one that still requires roadworks 12-months from now.

However, as Cameron was able to extract a solid return from delisted Eagle, Jarrod Brander, the addition could go a long way to easing any possible pain.

But as his career return sits at just 5.10 from 22 games, the Victorian is likely to be seen as a small cog in the pursuit of their first premiership.



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