Giants weigh op­tions to stop Rich­mond star

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JON RALPH

LEON Cameron could choose to run the gaunt­let and not heav­ily tag Dustin Martin on Saturday night de­spite the hottest sea­son in AFL his­tory.

The GWS coach has an ar­ray of op­tions, in­clud­ing run-with star Stephen Coniglio and hard­headed co-cap­tain Cal­lan Ward.

Yet Saturday’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal shapes as a clash free of heavy tags if re­cent his­tory is any guide. In Round 18 Martin was com­ing off his most dom­i­nant game of the sea­son against Brisbane — 40 dis­pos­als, 12 in­side 50s, 14 clear­ances and two goals.

Yet in that MCG clash the Giants al­lowed him to run around op­posed to un­her­alded mid­fielder Matthew Kennedy for much of the game.

The re­sult: an­other “triple dou­ble”, as Martin had 31 dis­pos­als, 11 clear­ances, 10 in­side-50s and a goal in a 19-point Tigers vic­tory.

The in­jured Coniglio did not play in that con­test and, as a tag­ger who made the All Aus­tralian 40 last year, he seems the per­fect can­di­date.

He runs hard and can play in­side and out­side.

But in the ef­fort­less win over West Coast, Cameron chose to pri­ori­tise ball movement over re­strict­ing the op­po­si­tion’s stars.

He didn’t tag any of Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff, Matt Prid­dis or Sam Mitchell.

This year Coniglio has tagged Jack Steven in Round 7, played on Pa­trick Danger­field for 31 min­utes in Round 23 and Matt Crouch for 44 min­utes in the qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal.

None of them were pure tags, with Crouch one of Ade­laide’s best play­ers with 31 dis­pos­als.

In the Round 9 win over Rich­mond, Ward went headto-head with Martin for 22 min­utes when the Brown­low Medal favourite played in the mid­field.

At Rich­mond, Shaun Grigg shapes as the mid­field cooler most likely to go to young star Josh Kelly.

But while the Tigers have used Grigg, Kane Lam­bert and even Dion Pres­tia in ac­count­able roles they don’t run with a start-to-fin­ish tag­ger.

Kelly wasn’t tagged in Round 9 and had 31 pos­ses­sions, but Grigg went to him for 47 min­utes in the Round 18 win. Kelly had 11 touches to Grigg’s 10, a vic­tory for the Tigers on what was a heavy MCG track.

Leon Cameron had a tri­umphant game from the coaches box against West Coast, with re­vi­talised ruck­man Rory Lobb shap­ing as a real con­cern for Rich­mond ruck­man Toby Nankervis.

But if Coniglio af­fixes him­self to Martin’s side from the first bounce, it will be a sig­nif­i­cant de­par­ture from Cameron’s strate­gies this sea­son.

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