Greater Western Sydney struggled immensely in their maiden season under Tim Schmidt; as a raft of injuries, a shallow talent pool and an incohesive game plan ensured the Giants the wooden spoon.
A five-point victory over Melbourne, their only win, in soaking conditions became the highlight of an otherwise bleak season.
After a disappointing AFLW season, the Giants have done their best to refurbish their ranks, enlisting talent from interstate. Now with a new head coach at the helm, Alan McConnell, many are expecting vast improvements in 2018.
Ashleigh Guest is perhaps the most notable omission from the Giants’ after operating among the midfield’s supporting cast where she ranked second in the side for total tackles.
Guest’s departure was the ultimate expense paid for promising young key defender Pepa Randall from Melbourne, who is sure to make an impact where the Giants struggled last year.
Alicia Eva also made her way over from Collingwood in a move which suited both player and team, giving Eva the chance to play a more pivotal role, whilst also providing the Giants with a wealth of talent having finished second in the Magpies’ best and fairest in 2017. GWS also bolstered their key posts with Maddy Boyd and Rebecca Privitelli, who again provide depth in areas of concern for the team.
The Giants loom as noticeable wild cards this season. After offseason changes, including a highly touted draft class, many expect the Giants to enhance their repute on the field. GWS will be put to the pace early with games against Melbourne and Carlton in the opening weeks, which offer tough schedules, however, are the perfect measuring stick to adjudicate the Giants’ improvement.
There is considerable hype surrounding the team this year, and while most like to root for the underdog, we’re yet to see the on-field improvement from the team. A convincing win against Brisbane in their only practice match offers a fair indication, yet the only way to properly analyse the team is of course in the season proper. Are they able to live up to the hype?