GWS has now lost the most ranking points of any club this season, and fallen from third to sixth on these rankings (though if the Giants had kicked a bit more accurately in front of goal on the weekend they would probably be fifth). It has been often noted by the media and fans this year that the Giants’ players have missed a lot of games through injuries. But how much has that really contributed to the Giants’ loss of form (noting that they are still an above average side)?
The biggest loss this year for the Giants has been Stephen Coniglio, who was one of the Giants most productive players last year, and has so far missed most of the season. Many matches have also been missed by Ryan Griffen and new recruit Brett Deledio. Deledio of course wasn’t there last season so he doesn’t really explain anything in terms of the Giants’ form compared with 2016.
The other regular productive Giants to miss significantly more time than last season are Toby Greene (who has missed five games), Steve Johnson (five games), Rory Lobb (four games), and Lachie Whitfield (seven games). Greene and Whitfield have lost time to suspensions rather than injury. Devon Smith and Nick Haynes have also missed matches, but at comparable rates to last season.
So Coniglio, Griffen, Johnson, and Lobb are arguably the only important players from 2016 that have missed significantly more time to injury this season. But the suspensions of Greene and Whitfield have added to that extra time lost. Johnson has also been a lot less productive than last season, which has added to the Giants’ decline.
In terms of other changes of form for regular players many SuperCoach owners will tell you (including me) that Heath Shaw has been significantly less productive than last season. Many SuperCoach owners (including me) will also tell you that Josh Kelly has been significantly more productive. If you consider statistics to at least be indicative of a player’s value then there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot more that is different among the Giants’ regular group. So it’s really more to do with the Giants’ ‘replacement players’. They have had to use them more often due to injuries and suspensions. Also, their ‘replacement players’ haven’t been as good – they lost a couple of better ones over the off-season in Rhys Palmer and Jack Steele, and Matthew Buntine has generally been unavailable this season.
The Giants were great last season with most of their top players being regularly on the field. This season they have lost a few of them for significant amounts of time, and have been merely good. They could well improve if Coniglio and Griffen become regulars again and others can stay on the park a little more often; if not then having to use their thinner reserves may keep them from reaching their heights of 2016 in the near future.