Giants gaug­ing how best to tackle Martin

NT News - - AFL - 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 hard-headed 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 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 19point 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, he can play in­side and out­side, he is strong enough to at least try to negate Martin’s power game. But in the win over West Coast, Cameron chose to pri­ori­tise ball move­ment over re­strict­ing the op­po­si­tion’s stars.

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.

In the Round 9 win over Richmond, Ward went head to head with Martin 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 track.

Dy­lan Shiel cut West Coast to rib­bons at Spot­less Sta­dium but again, his­tory shows the Tigers won’t tag him.

His main match-ups in those games were Pres­tia and An­thony Miles, both for just on 20 min­utes.

Martin was able to get off the chain in the sec­ond half against Gee­long when Cam Guthrie was in­jured.

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