If the footy pundits are to be heeded, the team from Greater Western Sydney had the flag won at several points last season. All except come finals time, when a gimpy outfit looking less than giant lost to both grand finalists by six-goal margins. That blueprint for victory sitting in a drawer in Homebush remained unfulfilled.
The forecasts will still be downright ruddy, because on paper, it still looks good for GWS. The classes of 2011-13, or the nine first-rounders who form the core of the side, close in or cross through the 100-game mark in 2018, reaching that Venn overlap of physical capability and experience that should represent the designated peak for the AFL’s littlest brother. Josh Kelly (right) made the leap to elite last season, and there’s more young talent to follow in his steps.
But the Giants also became acquainted last season with the oscillations of their growth curve: the injury toll was remorseless, outing the likes of Jeremy Cameron come September; meanwhile, Toby Greene’s livewire play paralleled his emergence as the league’s resident heel, and it hardened anti-GWS ambivalence into full-on distaste. The Giants can be attractive to watch when they get a-running, but their wins are hardly popular. What’s a pundit to think?
Improbable scenario: Josh Kelly makes other plans for Brownlow night.