AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: GWS

IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.

Next up in the series is GWS, who gave the AFLW world glimpses of their true potential in Season 7.


Emerging young talent

Season 7 saw many of GWS’ younger stars really come to the fore and show what they might be capable of. Tarni Evans really lifted her game on the half-back line and her long kick set up plenty of attacks for the side this year, while Georgia Garnett and Jessica Doyle really lifted in the forward line and became solid forward option alongside the likes of Cora Staunton. Zarlie Goldsworthy and Madi Brazendale also both had stellar debut seasons.

Izzy Huntington risk/reward

Looking more to next season, but the GIANTS get the reward from trading for an already injured Isabel Huntington. It was always a risk trading for someone who was already injured and not able to play in Season 7, but the GIANTS were always thinking more long term and could afford to with a talent like Huntington.

Gameplan clicking

As the season progressed, the GIANTS’ new game plan under new coach Cam Bernasconi was really starting to click, and when it did the GIANTS looked like a very dangerous side.

As part of their game plan the GIANTS often try to use the full width of the ground while moving forward, and they really rely on their running game to propel them forward. Hopefully for the GIANTS Season 8 sees the plan click consistently and for a full four quarters in games.

Injury returns

The injury front was not kind to the GIANTS in Season 7, so Season 8 will also see plenty of top end talent return to the line up. Although with no confirmed season start date it is unclear whether Emily Pease and Pepa Randall will make it back in time, Tait Mackrill, Rebecca Beeson and Chloe Dalton will all be back from injuries that kept them out for much of Season 7.

More dangerous forwardline

As alluded to earlier, GWS’ forward line is looking a lot more dangerous now. Alongside Staunton, the likes of Doyle, Garnett and Goldsworthy are all genuinely strong forward options now, so if opponents target Staunton that is not as much of an issue as it used to be for GWS.


Long road to the top

Despite the glimpses of hope they showed this season, the GIANTS are still quite a way off the top sides. They were only able to beat sides that did not make finals this year, and got comfortably beaten by both Brisbane and Adelaide.

Cora returning?

It is a question that is no doubt raised every year, but will Staunton come back next year? Although she is still in quite good form, she is also not getting any younger. GWS will certainly be hoping she comes back in 2023, but time will tell if she does.

Player retention

Like with some of the other clubs that have seen a bit of stagnation in results, player retention may become an issue this offseason. Growth and optimism for the future will no doubt be used to persuade players to stay, but that may not be enough for some players who are keen for more guaranteed finals action.

Sydney talent issues

Like Sydney, the GIANTS face having to pick from a talent pool that is not as strong as much of the rest of the country. It means they are going to have to keep making moves like did over the off-season and the Swans have done in the past, and try and lure talent from other states into nominating for the NSW pool.

Fourth most points conceded

As much as the forward line is improving and getting more exciting, the defensive end still needs some work. The Giants conceded the fourth highest number of points against them in the competition, and with defensive stalwart Tanya Hetherington retiring, that is an area they need to target for improvement this offseason.


The future is bright for GWS. The GIANTS just need time to gel into their roles and with the gameplan. But once that happens, they are going to be such an exciting team to watch.

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