2022 AFL Draft Preview: GWS GIANTS
WITH season proper and trade period done and dusted, AFL fans and staff alike now turn their attention towards the draft (November 28-30). The chaos has settled on player and pick swaps, and budding prospects have completed their combines, leaving a nervous wait until they learn their fate.
In the next of our club by club previews, we take a look at GWS’ draft hand and offer insight into how the GIANTS may utilise the picks at their possession.
2022 FINISH: 16th
CURRENT PICKS: 1, 15, 18, 19, 31, 57
FUTURE PICKS: GWS R1, RIC R1, GWS R3, GWS R4
ACADEMY/FATHER-SON NOMINEES: Harry Rowston, Nick Madden (awaiting confirmation, Draft Combine invites)
FIRST PICK OPTIONS:
There will be no surprises for anyone when the GIANTS read out Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels key forward Aaron Cadman‘s name at pick one. The standout key position player in this year’s AFL Draft, Cadman will be a readymade option inside 50 with his contested marking and work rate up there with the very best in the draft crop.
Cadman has enjoyed a superb season, taking out the Rookie Me Central NAB League Boys Player of the Year, while also earning Team of the Year and All-Australian honours. With go-home factor a prevalent worry for non-Victorian clubs looking at top-end Victorian talent, the GIANTS have identified Cadman as a lower risk who will be a key player to rebuild around.
Though Cadman will be the player who ends up at the GIANTS, the only question is whether or not GWS will place a bid on Brisbane father-son prospect Will Ashcroft. It seems more likely for the GIANTS to read out the forward’s name first and reward him with the monetary bonus from NAB to go pick one, though the success of Nick Daicos in his first year at the Pies might tempt the GIANTS to bid on the talented ball-winner.
GWS GIANTS have an additional three picks in the Top 20, though likely at least one, if not two will slide outside that due to bids on Ashcroft, fellow Brisbane father-son prospect Jaspa Fletcher, and Essendon father-son talent Alwyn Davey Jr. At Pick 15, the GIANTS may even choose to bid on one of the above, with Davey particularly targeting an area of the ground that GWS is looking to fill.
A couple of forwards who have had stints in the midfield headline the potential picks in that Top 20 bracket, with Gippsland Power’s Jacob Konstanty and Sandringham Dragons’ Charlie Clarke both linked to the orange team. Konstanty kicked a goal in all bar two of his 14 NAB League games, while averaging 5.8 tackles off 14.6 disposals per game. Clarke booted more goals – 29 in 15 games – including a seven-goal haul against Tasmania Devils in Round 4. His offensive ability is higher with 3.5 marks and 4.1 inside 50s per game, while still managing 3.4 tackles a match.
The other name constantly linked with the GIANTS is Murray Bushrangers forward Brayden George who might be the other pick in the bunch. Though George will likely miss most, if not all, of his first season recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, he has the long-term potential to be something special. Hailing from the same region as Adelaide Crows dynamic forward Josh Rachele, George provides a similar excitement when inside 50, with his aerial ability particularly eye-catching.
Rounding out the confirmed picks the GIANTS will take to the AFL Draft will be impressive ball-winner and GIANTS Academy member Harry Rowston. Capable of streaming forward, though he did the most damage in the midfield, Rowston played for Calder Cannons, the Allies and of course the GIANTS Academy.
Able to match a bid for Rowston, the GIANTS will have no problems selecting him with that last pick, and may even choose to slide back down the order to gain a pick next year if it comes to Pick 31 and he has not received a bid. The other GWS GIANTS Academy member to remember is ruck Nicholas Madden who may be considered as a rookie if the GIANTS only opt to use the five selections at the National Draft.
– Will the GIANTS bid on Will Ashcroft, or take Aaron Cadman outright?
– Will a bid for Harry Rowston come before Pick 31?
– Could GWS pull a GIANT surprise like it did with Leek Alleer and select someone outside the box?