The Bombers list boss couldn’t get the Giant to Windy Hill in the dying hours of the AFL trade period.
The Greater Western Sydney Giants finished seventh in 2021, with 11 wins, one draw and ten losses, although they are effectively sixth for the purpose of this exercise, due to their semi-final performances against higher-rated teams.
They had six debutants, while only four players featured in every game: Callan Ward, Harry Himmelberg, Tim Taranto and Isaac Cumming.
Here are the five players and an honourable mention that the Giants could least afford to lose based.
Honourable mention: Sam Taylor
Taylor featured in 17 of 22 games, the Giants winning two, losing two and getting a draw when Taylor was unavailable through injury.
He averaged the fourth most intercepts of any player in the AFL, an average of 8.47 per game, and averaged the third-most contested marks of any Giants player.
5. Josh Kelly
Kelly was extremely consistent in 2021 and was rewarded with a new contract. He averaged the most metres gained in the club, with an average of 454.17. He also averaged the second-most score involvements, with an average of 5.96 per game, as well as the most tackles, an average of 5.61 per game.
His versatility was a strength as he could play in the midfield or on the wing.
Last but not least, he led by example.
4. Jacob Hopper
Hopper was in the All Australian squad, had at least 21 disposals and only missed one game, which was through injury.
He averaged the third-most inside 50s of any of GWS player, with an average of 4.30, and the most contested possessions, with an average of 12.04.
3. Toby Greene
Greene featured in 18 games, including the elimination final win over the Swans and was named in the All Australian forward pocket.
He averaged the second-most score involvements of any player in the competition, with an average of 8.28, and kicked at least one goal in every game!
2. Lachie Whitfield
Whitfield was unavailable for the opening six games, and the club lost five of the seven games he didn’t play. Along with that, in Round 17 he was subbed out after accumulating just three disposals and the team lost to the Suns by one point!
He averaged the third-most metres, with an average of 437.65 per game, and 4.53 score involvements per game – remarkable for a player who played predominantly on a half back flank.
1. Tim Taranto
Taranto was a revelation, featuring in all 24 games that they played, averaging the most disposals and the most inside 50s at the club.
He also averaged 5.42 score involvements per game and had the second-most tackles – with an average of 5.33 tackles per game – which shows he worked hard defensively.