Season 8 AFLW preview: GWS

GWS GIANTS had a really unlucky season last year, with the Western Sydney team having a host of inactive players that were unavailable in Season 7. An incredible six players – including one who replaced an initial inactive player – were all out due to injury.

Looking ahead to Season 8, the GIANTS are in a much better spot from a list perspective, only missing the two players in Meghan Gaffney and Tait Mackrill, with the former only being moved to the list in the past week after doing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and her side will gain an extra spot for an injury replacement player.

GWS has a fairly balanced list, but will be looking to take the next step both from a consistency and ladder position point of view. Losing their all-time leading goalkicker in Cora Staunton to retirement over the off-season, the GIANTS will need to be more creative in Season 8, but hope the inclusion of Isabel Huntington will help with that.


#1 Annise Bradfield
#2 Alicia Eva
#3 Alyce Parker
#4 Katherine Smith
#5 Jessica Doyle
#6 Rebecca Beeson
#7 Zarlie Goldsworthy
#8 Nicola Barr
#9 Caitlin Miller
#10 Jasmine Grierson
#11 Chloe Dalton
#12 Isabel Huntington
#14 Annalyse Lister
#15 Teagan Germech
#16 Isadora McLeay
#17 Georgia Garnett
#18 Tarni Evans
#19 Grace Hill
#20 Fleur Davies
#21 Pepa Randall
#22 Meghan Gaffney*
#23 Madison Brazendale
#24 Haneen Zreika
#25 Cambridge McCormick
#29 Jodie Hicks
#30 Ally Dallaway
#31 Brodee Mowbray
#32 Tait Mackrill*
#33 Emily Pease
#35 Zara Hamilton
#40 Tess Cattle

* inactive list


In: Caitlin Miller, Annise Bradfield, Isabel Huntington (inactive), Fleur Davies (inactive), Rebecca Beeson (inactive), Pepa Randall (inactive), Chloe Dalton (inactive), Isadora McLeay (inactive)
Out: Cora Staunton, Georgie Fowler, Casidhe Simmons, Emily Goodsir, Tanya Hetherington, Brid Stack, Jess Allan, Tait Mackrill (inactive), Meghan Gaffney (inactive)


Round 1: vs. Sydney @ North Sydney Oval
Round 2: vs. Melbourne @ Manuka Oval
Round 3: vs. Richmond @ Blacktown ISP
Round 4: vs. Adelaide @ Manuka Oval
Round 5: vs. North Melbourne @ Arden Street
Round 6: vs. West Coast @ Blacktown ISP
Round 7: vs. St Kilda @ RSEA Park
Round 8: vs. Carlton @ Henson Park
Round 9: vs. Gold Coast @ Heritage Bank Stadium
Round 10: vs. Port Adelaide @ Alberton Oval


  • Isabel Huntington returns as a key target
  • Fleur Davies a vital inclusion to help ruck stocks
  • Favourable second half of the season draw
  • Youth ready to take next step

GWS will be thrilled to welcome in a couple of key position talents for Season 8, with young ruck Fleur Davies and former number one draft pick Isabel Huntington. Two areas where the GIANTS struggled last season were up forward and through the ruck, and the pair should help solve those problems to a degree.

Davies was a first round prospect on talent and though she is yet to play an AFL Women’s game, should step straight into the starting ruck position, while Huntington is a readymade key position forward who will be the number one target for the GIANTS. Both are returning from long-term injuries that ruled them out of making their club debuts last season.

Davies is one of a number of young guns who can take GWS to the next step. Tarni Evans enjoyed a great season in defence last year, while Georgia Garnett (six goals) was second behind Staunton. Zarlie Goldsworthy and Jess Doyle are another couple of players who can fast-track the GIANTS’ development and also hit the scoreboard.


  • Can the GIANTS avoid a slow start in a tough first half draw?
  • Where will the goals come from?

After playing Sydney in the first round, the GIANTS play four consecutive finalists in Rounds 2-5, before playing all bottom 10 sides in the last five rounds of the season. The lob-sided fixture quality means GWS may need to play catch up, so causing a couple of upsets early in the season is crucial. If the GIANTS can win two of those games against finalists, then they should be in the box seat in the run home.

The other big question mark is the GIANTS’ ability to score. With Staunton now retired, GWS will rely upon Garnett and Huntington to be the key targets, while needing the midfield to contribute goals each week. There is definitely potential there, but GWS needs to spread the goals around rather than having too much reliance on one or two players.


Alyce Parker is one of the best players in the competition, and a standout choice for the league best and fairest. She had a whopping 73 more disposals and 36 more clearances than any other GIANT in Season 7, while also topping the tackles, inside 50s, contested possessions and uncontested possessions. She is an all-round star and is a heart and soul player for her team.


Garnett is a player who will likely thrive from the inclusion of Huntington up forward. She booted six goals in nine games last season from 11.6 disposals and a massive 6.4 marks. An aerial specialist, Garnett started to show serious signs of being a breakout player for the GIANTS, and with Huntington taking the best defender, do not be surprised if Garnett surges past double-figure goals in Season 8.


GWS GIANTS always have patches during the season where it looks like they will get it all to click, but ultimately have not been able to do it consistently. They have the pieces to make a really good side, and are still young, but have the height to compete now and should at least be aiming for finals contention. The GIANTS should avoid the bottom six spots, and be in that seventh to 12th region.

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