Image Source: GWS Giants via Facebook
After their round 12 win over the Essendon Bombers, the GWS Giants went to the top of the AFL ladder for the first time since their inception into the league back in 2012. It was a historic event for the newest team in the competition and the question on everyone’s lips is, could this be the Giants’ year? The fans down at Spotless Stadium certainly think so and are hoping that this is the year they can take home their maiden premiership. In what is only the club’s sixth season in Australia’s elite competition, they have already exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations.
You can definitely feel the excitement surrounding the AFL’s latest addition. Josh Kelly is starting to firm as a possible Brownlow Medal winner and with Oddschecker finding the best odds at 4.75 for GWS to win the premiership, it could very well be their year.
The Giants’ debut season was a miserable affair, as they equalled some embarrassing records that went back to 2001, with five losses by more than 100 points. Their second and third seasons weren’t much better. However, since then, the club has been on the up and up, and last season the side recorded their highest ever finish. This also included a 75-point win against the reigning premiers Hawthorn and a record attendance of 12,333 ecstatic fans who started to believe. They ended the season in an impressive fourth place, earning themselves a place in the playoffs.
They played the Sydney Swans away in a preliminary final at ANZ Stadium in front of 60,000 fans – the largest crowd in the young club’s history. Having defeated the Swans, the Giants were only one game away from a maiden grand final and faced the Western Bulldogs to advance. In what was a tightly contested affair, the Giants eventually succumbed to the Doggies, after a last-gasp goal from Jack Macrae saw their grand final hopes vanish.
That successful season for the Giants gave them the new-found belief that they had what it took to be title contenders. This is the GWS Giants that we have had the pleasure of watching so far this year. It also included the club’s record winning margin, as they beat the Gold Coast Suns by 102 points.
One of the standouts this season has been the powerful and energetic performances from Jeremy Cameron. Averaging three goals a game, he has become the Giants’ leading point scorer and is proving himself once again as one of the most dominant kickers in the game. The young centre-half forward, who started his career with the club, has been outstanding throughout this campaign, as he has been since debuting for the Giants back in 2012.
Josh Kelly is also having the season of his career and has put himself in a prime position to possibly take the club’s first ever Brownlow Medal. Players and coaches alike have thrown their admiration towards the Victorian midfielder/forward, who is more and more looking like a potential winner. At such a young age, it can only be taken as a compliment when looking back at the greats that have received this prestigious award. He is a key element to this Giants’ side and one that the team needs to keep producing the same quality as he has been week in, week out.
Another key player for the Giants has been Dylan Shiel, who has had an exceptional impact in the midfield as he continues to impress with his kicking game and knack for reading the game. Shiel is always a consistent performer on the field with an outstanding disposal record, averaging 28.2 per game.
It seems that everyone is starting to believe that this is the year for the Giants, with former Herald Sun reporter Mike Sheahan declaring, “17 sides are playing for one spot this year”. This kind of praise comes off the back of some hard-fought victories against quality opposition such as Sydney Swans, Richmond Tigers and the West Coast Eagles. They do seem to be putting themselves in a prime position to finish strongly, especially considering they will play four out of their last five matches on home soil: one of which will be carried out at Manuka Stadium up in Canberra as the GWS Giants have a deal stating that four league games are played up in the nation’s capital per season.