Giants gauging how best to tackle Martin
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.