Who are the Giants? An In-Depth Look
There’s no denying the GWS Giants will have a massive impact on AFL Dream Team in 2012. But who are these blokes that will be running around in witches hat orange next season? Greater Western Sydney foundation member, and all round good guy, Robert Griffin has a look at how the team might shape up and offers an in-depth look at players we should be thinking about!
Okay, so everyone knows that the AFL is desperate to achieve GIANT things in the heart of Greater Western Sydney. Everyone also knows that the new guys were given a GIANT step up with selection concessions, free reign on out of contract players, and due to some clever plotting, hoarding and trading by Stephen Silvagni, basically an entire first round of the 2011 draft to themselves.
We all know the coaching staff: four-time AFL premiership coach and Australian Football Hall of Famer Kevin Sheedy (senior coach), and three time minor-premiership winning, two times grand final chocking, and one time winning Mark Williams (the senior assistant coach). These two are joined along with the footy smarts or Paul Kelly, Tom Harley, Brett Hand and playing/assistants Brogan, Power and McDonald.
We’ve all heard about the pin-up boy convert, Israel Falou, the pin-up boy deserters, Tom Scully and Callan Ward, and the new kids on the block, Jon Patton & Stephen Coniglio. But who the hell knows if any of the players can (a) play football, and (b) are worthy of a second look at our Dream Team sides for 2012? That’s what I’m here to help you with.
Firstly, let’s break the current playing list down into sections. Dad’s Army (The Over 30 Recruits), Men Overboard (Those Who Jumped Ship), The Golden Children (2015 Premiership Team 2011 Draftees) and The Rest (It’s a very long playing list after-all).
This article looks at the top twenty one players (leaving out the sub) for Dream Team that are either currently in consideration, should be in consideration, or are getting media hype. Most importantly, they are also the players who are most likely to get games. I look at the ten men from Dad’s Army and Men Overboard, and the top eleven from Golden Children and The Rest.
Last year the Giants fielded around 75 players and have a playing list of near 45 players this year, If they follow the Suns in a similar rotation policy to what was seen in 2011, you can expect to see over forty GWS players take the field this year, so lets just focus on those who are most likely to make a Dream Team impact – good, or bad. Let’s start with Dad’s Army.
DADS ARMY – 933 Games of Experience, 5 Premiership Medals, 5 Best and Fairest Wins, 4 All Australian Selections, 1 NBL Championship.
1998 NBL Champion Player, 2004 Premiership Player, 174 Games
There is a recurring theme in Dads Army here at GWS, and that is that all four members retired from the game, for the good of their old squads, whilst still feeling like they could go on. Brogan is no different, and stepped aside in 2011 from the number one ruck position at Port to give his younger team mates a go. Brogan played 162 games for Port, often playing second fiddle to Matthew Primus and Brendan Lade. Brogan believes his body has another run in it, whilst getting the chance to top up his super at the Giants, and add much needed depth to the Giants ruck stocks. He will take on a mentoring role for ruckmen Giles, Phillips and Downie, (which is needed! To date Downie has probably played in fewer games of AFL than Relton Roberts).
At approximately $331,000 Brogan isn’t really Dream Team selection worthy, not with an average of 72.9 in his past four seasons. Put simply, Brogan is donating his body to his old friend Chocko Williams to help out Giles in the ruck, and is unlikely to play more than fifteen games in 2012. Decision: Pass.
All Australian Selection in 2004 & 2007, 2004 Premiership Player, Best and Fairest at Port Adelaide in 2002, 2003 & 2004, 239 Games
No matter what you think of Port Adelaide, it is impossible to not be impressed with ‘the Chad’. Between 2004 and 2007, if you didn’t have Cornes in your backline, you didn’t have a chance at the car. Unfortunately, his form dropped in 2008, and he never recovered his Dream Team glory. Pulling no punches, Cornes was told at the start of the 2011 season by Matthew Primus that his head was on the chopping block. After managing only nine games in 2011 Cornes announced his retirement following the round 20 match against Collingwood.
A Dream Team average of 64.75 in his last two seasons, and only managing fifteen games of a possible forty-four, Cornes is barely a blip on the Dream Team radar. His current estimated price of $303,200 is an unfunny, overpriced joke, and he is not worth that much at this point of his career. So why mention him? The one thing that ‘the Chad’ has going for him is the word ‘utility’. At the turn of the century, Chad Cornes and Warren Tredrea formed one of the most powerful forward duos in the league. In 2004, Cornes became a centre-half back for Port, keeping Jonathan Brown to just one point in the Powers grand final win, and winning All Australian Selection in the backline.
The Giants need a player who can stop the bleeding, and then actually cause some. Dream Team wise he proved last year against the Tigers that he still has what it takes, amassing a score of 111 points (with 17 possessions & 3goals). A move forward may reignite his Dream Team relevance, where he can score with +12’s, instead of fight hard for his +2’s, 3’s and 4’s and he should also play most of the season, especially early, body permitting.
Chad is a Dream Team Legend, with plenty of experience in a young team, and is likely to play most weeks. But he is too expensive for the bench spot or seventh defender spot we want him in. I hope he can regain his form, in which case he will be a brilliant early upgrade target in your backline. But in your starting 30 at that price? Decision: Pass.
All Australian Selection in 2006, Best and Fairest at Melbourne in 2006 & 2007, Melbourne Captain 2009-2010, 238 Games
James retired at the end of 2010 (“in the best interest of the [Melbourne Football Club]”) despite McDonald feeling that his body could go another year or so. In 2011 he continued to play AFL in the Victorian Amateur Football Association whilst working in a development role with the Giants.
A Dream Team average of 90.02 over five years (2006-2010), McDonald is a solid in-and-under midfielder. In 2010 he scored over 100 points 50% of the time (playing sixteen matches). He held the record for the most tackles in AFL history in 2006, with 143 tackles, and in his final year he was still laying them with a total of 119.
At an estimated price of $215,000 he is a cheap, inside midfielder who loves to tackle in a team that won’t have the ball a huge amount. He is also a scoring tagger, due to his kick to handball ratio actually favouring his kicking, in a team that will need all the taggers they can get. He also has had a year with the team already to build rapport and to rest his 35 year old body and will bring a lot of experience to the team. If he plays every game this year will depend entirely on how his body pulls up, but he should be good for at least twelve games to bring up his 250th game. I would expect most of these games would also occur in the first half of the season (before the body wears down).
James is cheap, experienced, and tackles (a lot), but he is also 35, and not as cheap as the risk that requires to select him entails. He is too expensive for a serious cash cow, and not my idea of a Smokey. Decision: Sadly, it’s a Pass.
2001, 2002, 2003 Premiership Player, All-Australian Selection in 2004, Brisbane Lions Co-Captain 2007–2008, 282 Games.
It must be tough getting tapped on the shoulder by your former teammate, captain, and then coach, and told ‘it’s time to go’. Luke, whom for many was seen as one of Brisbane’s best players over the past decade, was essentially forced into retirement at the end of 2011 and it’s of no surprise he was willing to take a lifeline in Western Sydney. Although never a huge Dream Teamer, (with his best season in 2006 averaging 99.6) Power had his worst output in nine seasons last year, with an average of just 77.7. He did show he could still produce though, his 121 against Carlton in round 12 an example of that.
Power is not likely to feature in too many teams this year; however he should be able to improve on last year’s average. Likely to play of the half forward line, or even up as far as the forward pocket, Power will provide some much needed experience to the Giants young guns up the field, but he won’t be adding any experience to my starting 30. Pass.
MEN OVERBOARD – 252 Games of Experience, 3 Top Ten Draft Selections, 3 Rising Star Nominations (1 Win), 1 Young Hurler of the Year Award
Number 10 AFL Draft Selection in 2008
The guy started 2011 off with a bang. A solid score of 97 against the Hawks in Adelaide, and things were looking good for the developing back. Unfortunately this bang was followed by a pop. With shoulder injuries that date as far back as 2008, it was again his shoulders that brought about an end to last season in which he managed just three games. His defection to GWS probably saved Adelaide from losing Tex Walker, so some good came from it for Crows fans, despite being the second CHB player lost to expansion clubs in two years.
Although looking promising at times, his career average across his two seasons has been Darren Glass-esque, averaging 48.2 from his 18 games. He has the potential to turn it on, playing a Nathan Bock rebounding role for the under siege Giants next year, but his lack of experience and his shoulder injuries spell trouble for young Phil, or more so for your Dream Team. If he can get his body right, and play all 22 games next year, look for him in 2013. Even at $165,900 don’t be tempted. Decision: Pass.
A hurling Irishman, born in Sydney, Debuted 2005
Not to be confused with Santana (the Spanish-American guitarist), Setanta (the Australian-Irish footballer) was given a lifeline by the Giants after Paul Bower won a showdown for the final spot on the Blues roster. The big lad, who famously kicked Cameron Cloke in the balls (we all know he deserved it) just couldn’t cement himself into the top 22 last season at the blues, although he had his best Dream Team average of his seven season career with 73.5 points across his six games.
Setanta has only broken the 100 point barrier once in his career, but his versatility will be of interest to Dream Teamers come his tenure with the Giants. He is capable of playing a second tall in defence, or the forward line, and will likely be needed to pinch hit in the ruck. Everything comes down to how Sheedy will use him, but use him he will. Pencil him in for the full 22 games in 2012 (which would be his first full year since 2007), and expect to see him around the ball quite a bit.
Whether or not Setanta do anything once he has his hands on the ball is a different matter, but I expect him to improve on his average out in Western Sydney. Not one I would start with priced at $300,300, but a possible upgrade target if he is used correctly by the giants. He also holds a claim to DPP, although not likely to be redeemed. Decision: Watch List.
Number 7 AFL Draft Selection in 2007
Rhys had a breakout year in 2008 on debut when he played 20 games for the Dockers with an 87.5 average. The Rising Star Selection Panel recognised his contribution to the Dream Team community by awarding him the Rising Star Award for that year. Things kind of got worse from there for young Rhys. Not only did he miss most of the 2009 after needing a knee reconstruction, but he will forever be known as the Dream Team villain who put Michael Barlow’s dream debut season down for the count in 2010.
In 2011, still clearly pissed at his actions against Barlow, Mark Harvey decided to make Palmers life a living hell. Green vest, red vest, no jumper or vest, Harvey found a way to really pay Rhys back for screwing all of us in Dream Team land. All this hurt his scoring output, averaging just 65.4 points in his 15 games – his lowest in four seasons. He also dropped $70,000 from his starting value.
The silver lining is now that Rhys is a Giant no vests are likely to come his way, and you can expect his total output to go up. He has got himself very fit and is performing well in the pre-season, coming second in the Giants 3km time trial. He only spent 70% of time on the ground last season, basically the same amount as Jesse Crichton – 69% (who!?). This season you can expect it to jump closer to 90% (more like Nat Fyfe – 89%) with GWS needing his experience, more mature body, and his speed. He can pump out the big totals, and could be a very good Smokey at $296,900 (especially if he can get a DPP). An awkward price, but it you are after something unique, consider. Decision: Smokey.
Number 35 AFL Draft Selection in 2007
Talk about your dark horse. When Sam Reid went to the Western Sydney from the Bulldogs for a third round pick in trade week, journalists and Dream Teamers alike were left scratching their heads. Did they mean Sam Reid from Sydney? He’s alright… or Ben Reid? Eddie would be furious! Nope, they meant the ten game, mid-sized midfielder, who’s biggest Dream Team score came from a 13 possession game in 2009 against the Cats, amassing a huge 68 points. His career average is 45.3.
SOS has described him as “an inside midfielder who can play half back or half forward”. Okay, we’re listening. “He’s the type of player we need that is a little bit older than our new draftees and we believe he can bring with him a hardness and leadership that we need in our playing group”. He is also said to be having his first full pre-season without disruptions since being drafted.
So if this Sam Reid bloke can play, we will know during the NAB cup. Sheedy and Williams will lay the opportunities on the table come the NAB Cup, and it will be all out selection warfare. If he plays well then, expect to see him in the starting 22. Oh yeah, he’s priced at $114,600. Decision: Watch List.
Number 1 AFL Draft Selection in 2009
Having played only 31 games in his two season career (at an average of 78.3 DT points) Scully missed most of 2010 with knee problems. At $348,200, Scully is no cheap bargain (although compared to what some people have recently paid for him, it is just loose change). Having only scored a tonne on six (6) occasions in his first 31 games, you may think he isn’t worth a second look and he sure, he hasn’t proved himself yet. But compare these tonnes to others in their first 31 games; Ablett (0), Swan (1), Judd (1), Cousins (1), Boyd (1), Hayes (3) & Mitchell (4), maybe there is something to the guy. [For the record, Barlow (12) from only 22 games – freak!].
As much as many AFL fans would like to see the money GWS has spent on him go down the drain at some stage, I doubt Scully will fall over anytime soon. Sheedy has recently said that no-one can catch him on the GWS list, and asks him to give 70%, just to see who would win if he wasn’t around. He will be the number one midfielder for the Giants, and should his knee problems be over, he is good for a few more 100+ games this year.
As is stands, Tom Scully will either be remembered as a trivia question for “most over-paid player in the history of the AFL?” or, remembered along side the names of Ablett, Judd and Swan as influential midfielders of their generation. Only time will tell. At the moment, Scully has a huge upside and should play all games (if fit) and will be the go to midfielder. Unfortunately he is at an awkward price and with pre-existing injuries I can’t find a place for him – not with Barlow and Hayes each being only $50,000 more. Decision: Pass.
Number 19 AFL Draft Selection in 2007
Although helpfully donning a hair cut which allows you to always find him on the field wherever he is; Ward isn’t a Dream Team star just yet. Having managed 54 games at an average of 70.5 per game, he isn’t horrible either. Last season was his break out season, averaging 81.7 and playing all 22 games, he now comes to GWS with momentum behind him. Callan will face a baptism of fire next year without the workhorse team of Boyd and Cross around him but I suggest that can only mean good things for his DT scoring potential.
Ward cracked the magic 100+ range only four times last year, and cracked 90+ scores on another four occasions. At $371,000 Ward is another Giant at an awkward price, especially with Barlow and Hayes being within reach at only an extra $30,000 each. If you can’t quite squeeze them in at that price, Ward isn’t a horrible compromise. He is only going to get better, and given his obvious ‘leadership by doing’ style, expect him to fight out every game this year, and for his younger team mates to feed him the ball at every opportunity.
At the same time, Callan could be deemed a risk to your starting 30, purely due to him being untried in a new team. Watch his season closely though, as he may just dominate in a team of young men. Decision: Watch List.
GOLDEN CHILDREN AND THE REST
Who am I? I’ve got a bad hair-cut, and look like a ginger-nut, only with slightly browner hair. I’m a utility player who can take a strong contested pack mark. I float across half back at will, run through the centre, and pile on goals when the game is in the balance. B.Goddard? No. J.Cameron
Jez, or Jezza as he is known to his mates (and future Dream Team owners) is a freak. Drafted as a seventeen year old concession by the GWS, Jezza only started playing AFL when he was fifteen. In the past three years he has grown to become a GWS fan favourite, and a damn good footballer. Playing twelve games in 2011, and featuring in the best on ground votes seven times, he also piled on nineteen goals whilst often switching between CHB and CHF. Cameron was named on the bench in the inaugural NEAFL Team of the Year, again, just his third year of AFL.
Although not a massive Dream Team scorer just yet, last season he averaged 77 points in the NEAFL. The up-side to Jez is huge, and as a Dream Team coach, you want to be on him when he shoots up in value. Although Jezza has shown he is a fast learner, be warned, it will only be his fourth ever season of AFL next year and even Goddard didn’t score a tonne in his first three seasons. See how he goes in the NAB against men. Decision: Watch List.
Pick 1 AFL Rookie Draft 2010, VFL 2010 Best and Fairest Winner
Steve is mature by Giants standards. An in-an-under midfielder, the twenty-four year old played several years with the North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL, winning three premierships in his time at the club, and winning the Roosters BnF in 2010. He played ten matches last year for the Giants (whilst rookie listed), kicking seven goals and featuring in the best on field votes five times. He did miss a few games with an ankle injury, however recovered to see out the season with the Giants fourth best Dream Team average of 84 points per match.
He’s also got a lot of run. Clifton won the first 3km time trial in 2012 preseason training, beating out Scully and Palmer (2nd/3rd). In November, Clifton was elevated to the clubs senior roster, a good sign for next year, and when asked about the boy from Ballarat, Kevin Sheedy said “Steve Clifton’s been very good for our club – he’s got great leadership qualities, a heart of gold and, importantly, he’s determined to see if he’s good enough to make it”.
With a lot of young bodies on the GWS list, Steve is likely to see a few games in 2012, as his ball winning, larger body will be called upon to protect his younger team mates. Oh yeah, he’s also managed by Liam Pickering – so someone has faith in him. Decision: Consider.
A fast ball winning midfielder, Stephen was the number two pick in this year’s draft that is known as much for his skill and goal prowess over in WA, as for his choice in pursuing footy over cricket. The talented youngster joins an ever growing list at the Giants of players who believe their place is in the engine room, and will put his hand up for selection in round one. Stephen’s midfield ability has been compared to the likes of Adam Cooney (that’s 2008 Cooney, not 2011), but it’s his ability to attack the scoreboard that will likely get him a role on the field in 2012.
With so many midfielders on the GWS list, and with Scully, Ward, Palmer, McDonald, Power and Reid likely to get the most time rotating through the middle due to their mature bodies, Stephen’s ability to put points on the board whilst winning contested footy will be his biggest asset come the selection table next year. Likely to play off the wing or half forward/back line with some midfield rotation (ala Isaac Smith), Coniglio could be a good selection should he play.
Presumed to be one of Sheedy’s ‘ready to go’ four from this years draft, the biggest headache with selecting Coniglio for your Dream Team starting 30 is his inflated, number two selection price tag. Shiel, Clifton and Miles should all be cheaper than him, and just as likely to get games. Decision: Watch List.
Falou was the second massive NRL defector in 2009, following Karmichael Hunt to the AFL. Although Hunt went first, Izzy differs from Karmichael in a number of ways. Firstly, Hunt played AFL as a kid, Falou didn’t. Hunt had kicking skills before converting to Aussie Rules, Falou didn’t. But more significantly, Hunt didn’t have a full season to get his body ready for the AFL, Falou did.
By the end of the 2011 season, 33,000 Dream Team coaches had selected Karmichael Hunt in their teams on the off chance that the kid could actually play. Hunts 29.44 point average will scare a lot of (average) coaches away from Izzy this time round but expect bigger things from this Giant.
Falou played thirteen games last year, the first three of which was at full back (see: catastrophe). Quickly realising that the backline was not the place for him, the Giants trialled him at full forward with instant success. His first game in the forward line returned a bag of four goals. Across the season he had further bags: a six, a five, another four and two threes, whilst only remaining scoreless once.
At only 22, he is a massive unit! Falou dropped seven kilograms to ‘trim down’ to a playing weight of 101 kg for next season, and at 1.93 metres, he will be sure to make an impact physically. Unfortunately, he make not make one in Dream Team. Power forwards take a while to develop, and even under the guidance of Sheedy and Williams, who coached the likes of Lloyd and Tredrea, Izzy will take time. See how he goes against quality defenders in the NAB cup in case he can come out firing, but as far superior to Hunt as he will be, I suggest to everyone, especially 33,000 coaches in particular, look elsewhere. Decision: Pass.
Sturt (SANFL) Best and Fairest Winner 2010, First Ruck in Adelaide Advertisers SANFL Team of the Year for 2010, NEAFL Team of the Year 2011
Joffa (yes, that’s his actual nickname) stands at just over two metres, and has a one hundred kilo frame, but has never seen AFL action despite being on Port Adelaide’s senior list from 2006-2009. Whilst at Port, Giles just could not get a game, and was always behind Brogan and Lade at the selection table. In 2011, the (soon to be) twenty-four year old was the standout player for Western Sydney in a rather dismal NAB Cup, and has improved his game further under Sheedy and former coach Williams.
Giles was one of the only players who played all possible sixteen games last year for the Giants in the NEAFL, featuring in the best on field votes nine times. He also doesn’t mind resting forward and finding a goal, kicking twelve goals in those games. If that’s not enough, the sneak peak AFL Prospectus shows Giles DT average in those 16 games as 92.
Expect the big man to share the ruck duties with his former teammate Dean Brogan for the first half of the year, and taking over the number one ruck position towards the end of the season. Joffa is what you call a December lock, at a Rookie price on you ruck bench, there’s no going wrong with having Giles in your side. Pending injury, Giles is one of the few players yet to debut in the AFL on the GWS who could play all twenty-two games this year, and fatten up as either a nice cash cow, or a safe third ruck option. Decision: Lock.
At only 18, Hombsch was one of only a handful of players to play fourteen or more games for the Giants last season. Starting his junior football as a forward, Hombsch has made a name for himself in 2011 as a quality defender for Western Sydney with a booming left foot kick. So much so that he was named at Full Back in the inaugural TEAFL Team of the Year.
At 6’4” and 87 kgs, Jack isn’t big enough (or experienced enough) to hold down the full back role for the Giants next year against the likes of Buddy Franklin or Travis Cloke, however he is of good enough quality to play on the second or third tall in the backline with rebounding run, and versatile enough to play a defensive forward role when needed. Likely to be given plenty of opportunities to show his talents next year, Hombsch will be pushing for senior selection each and every week. Although one of the more likely youngsters to get games, you may want to look elsewhere for your defensive purely on the uncertainty on how many games he will play. Decision: Pass.
Anthony Miles is an example of what happens when you keep your head down and work hard. Hardly mentioned on fan forums or in media beat-ups of the Giants best 22, Miles is almost a forgotten man when it comes to his relevance in your Dream Team squad of 30. I’m here to change that.
Miles played a key role in the midfield for GWS last year after the former NSW-ACT Rams captain signed with GWS in 2010 (bypassing the draft). He played fourteen games with the Giants in a ball winning inside-midfielder role, whilst kicking eight goals across those games. Miles was the highest Dream Team point scorer last season with a 103 point average, and hitting 120 points or more on six occasions, three times reaching 140+! So why is he not an instant lock in your starting 30, and why have you not heard his name?
Miles biggest challenge will be to cement a starting place in a team full of similar players. Scully and Ward will take over the role Miles played last year, with Palmer also putting pressure on Anthony for his place in the middle. Combine this with Clifton and Shiel also vying for spots in the midfield, and the addition of Coniglio and Tyson, Miles will have to fight hard for a spot in the Giants top 22. Should he manage to hold his spot, Miles could be one 2012’s fastest maturing cash cows. Watch how he is played in the NAB Cup. Consider.
Tim created media hype when he was picked up by Western Sydney under draft concession rules in November this year. Not because he has been a stalwart in defence for Casey Scorpions winning the 2011 best and fairest, or because he came to the club due to a concession allowing the Giants to select pervious draft nominees for well, nothing. But Tim made headlines because he suggested Brendan Fevola was great to have as a mentor throughout 2011, and suggesting he would love to see him on the Giants list. I doubt even his ability to run a 20-metre sprint in 2.86sec would have got him out of that little hole he dug.
That aside, Mohr is a ready made defender; ‘the type of player the Giants will need week in and week out in 2012. At 195cm, 98kg and twenty three years of age, Tim is likely to be holding down the full back role on a weekly basis. Although seen at Casey as an ‘80 metre player’ for his ability to run and carry the ball out of defence, this role is likely to be shared with Phil Davis and Jack Hombsch, and Tim may get stuck deep in defence too often to get any form of decent average. Decision: Pass.
The number one draft pick is a future superstar of the competition and a Giant in every sense of the word. At just eighteen (nineteen next May) Patton stands at 197cm and 95 kilograms, which put in perspective is a centimetre taller and eight kilograms heavier than Lance Franklin was when he was drafted, and that dude is huge! Touted as the next Jonathan Brown, Patton will in years to come destroy backlines, and pile on goals. The question is: will he do it next year for your Dream Team.
There are two factors at play here. Firstly, Kevin Sheedy suggested recently that only four players from this years draft would be ready to play round one in 2012, but you could put money on Jonno being one of them. Although the forward line dynamics are yet to be worked out with Cameron, Falou, Patton, O’hAilpin and Cornes all capable of playing as a key tall, Patton was selected in the draft as number one for a reason. He will be a marquee player for the Giants for years to come, and you can expect him to play at least fifteen games for Western Sydney next year.
Secondly, and more importantly, key position players take time to develop. Watts, Franklin and Riewoldt have all had slow starts to their careers averaging just 33, 51.1 and 42.6 respectively in their first season. Brown however, who Patton is most a likened to had a better start to his career, averaging near 70 in his first two seasons. Although GWS at times will have class delivering the ball to the forward line, if Patton wants big scores he’ll have to go and get the pill himself. See how he goes in the NAB cup, and if he is playing out of Centre Half Forward, consider. If he stays deep, look for a cheaper option than the first selection priced forward. Decision: Watch List.
Dylan was picked up by Western Sydney at the end of 2010 as a seventeen year old concession. At the time Shiel played for the Dandenong Stingrays , where he was compared to Tom Scully (by mentor Graeme Yeats). Shiel polled in the best on field votes six out of seven times he took to the field whilst playing for the Stingrays as a seventeen year old. In those seven games he average 30 disposals, 10 handball receives and 12 groundball gets per match. He isn’t afraid of a contest either, averaging 13 contested possessions in those six games.
Fast forward one year and Dylan polled in the best on ground votes for the Giants six times last year, in the ten games he played, whilst also snagging 11 goals. According to the AFL Prospectus sneak peak, in his ten games this year Dylan scored an average of 96 Dream Team points, topping the tonne six times! A true workhorse in the middle of the ground, Shiel was recognised for his outstanding year by being named as rover in the inaugural NEAFL Team of the Year. Dylan has had a full year with the GWS (completing his studies at 17, one month after being selected in 2010) with a lot of focus on conditioning his already solid frame (think David Swallow) and building his endurance; all in sight of debuting in 2012.
An almost certain top three draft pick had he made it to this years draft, Shiel is a elite kick and should be ready for a round one debut. How many games he will play is yet to be seen, but at this stage he would be ahead of many other Giant youngsters fighting for a spot in the top 22. Decision: Consider.
Tyson, the left footed former Oakleigh Charger midfielder has been likened to Scott Pendlebury, Lenny Hayes and Simon Black, and was selected at pick three in this year’s draft. Dom describes himself as an inside midfielder who is expanding his game and learning to play an outside role when required. He is seen as an elite ball user who can work in tight spaces, and has spent the last two seasons being mentored by Lenny Hayes, helping his understanding of stoppages and improving his spread from the contests.
In 2011 he played ten games in the TAC Cup, averaging 26 disposals and five tackles a game. He also managed to collect and average of ten contested possessions and one goal per game. His speed and endurance has always been his biggest drawbacks, but he is aware of this, and has been working hard on improving his ability in both of these. He ran a personal best at the draft camp over twenty metres (3.01sec), and when I asked Phil Davis who is tearing up the preseason track (and who Dream Team coaches should look out for next year), he felt Cameron, Coniglio and Tyson were the ones to watch.
Dom will be an expensive bench option compared to some of his team mates (due to being a high draft pick), but his smart decision making and ability to spread from the contest puts him in good stead to get games next year, and rack up some DT points in the process. Decision: Consider.
Honourable mentions should go to (in no particular order): Sam Darley, Josh Bruce, Adam Kennedy, Devon Smith, Will Hoskin-Elliot, Jacob Townsend, Sam Frost & Curlty Hampton. All of these boys (and more) will be fighting for spots in the Best 22 all year, but due to one reason or another they just didn’t make this list.
It’s obviously still too early to lock in anyone from the Giants, but Giles is by far going to be one of the most selected players this year. If coaches had deeper benches again this season I’m sure Miles, Tyson, Coniglio, Shiel, Clifton and Cameron would also all feature prominently. Make sure you watch the NAB closely, and not just the DT scores, but what players do on the field, as it won’t be an exposure event for Sheedy and Williams, it will be all out selection warfare! If a young gun does well there, across all games, expect them to play round one. Oh, and for the record: here is my guess at the Giants starting 22 in Round 1, 2012. Good luck for the 2012 Dream Team Season.
B: O’hAilpin, Mohr, Hombsch
HB: Reid, Davis, Cornes
C: Shiel, Miles, Palmer
HF: Tyson, Patton, Power
F: Cameron, Folau, Clifton
Foll: Brogan, Ward, Scully
Int: Giles, McDonald, Coniglio
Thanks a lot to Robert Griffin (Twitter: @rlgriffin85) for this analysis. Absolutley sensational!