Sport AFL trades: Zac Williams, Aidan Corr and the giant problem at GWS

03:16  23 september  2020
03:16  23 september  2020 Source:   theroar.com.au

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Zac Williams is leaving the GWS Giants . Credit:James Brickwood. The 26-year-old broke the news to the Giants on Monday, with his preferred Losing Williams is a particularly bitter outcome for GWS , given the talented half-back flanker is a NSW product who grew up in Narrandera, came through the

GWS Giants star Zac Williams reportedly requests Carlton trade , GWS confirm exit. The exodus has continued at GWS with the club confirming star Zac Williams has left the club and It comes less than a week after Aidan Corr also informed the Giants of his intention to leave the club this trade period.

Two GWS Giants have signalled their intentions to move to new AFL clubs for 2021 and, given their position, it would be a surprise if that number does not increase – possibly significantly – before this year’s trade period comes to an end.

Aidan Corr exited the Giants hub last week after advising the club he would be moving via free agency to a Victorian team. That team will, by all reports, be North Melbourne on a deal that may be as long as five years.

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AFL trade rumours: ‘Serious unrest’ after brutal Bombers cull. The 2020 season will end for 10 clubs this After confirming on Monday he would explore free agency options, utility Zac Williams is reportedly eyeing “He’s informed the Giants he’s going and the Giants have said ‘get out’ basically.

Williams is on track to make the All Australian squad this year. His offensive run from half back sets up so many attacking moves for GWS , and Zac Williams has had to plug holes for Leon Cameron's injury-ravaged line-up. Picture: AFL Photos. Key defenders Taylor and Corr might be underrated

But the far bigger name is Zac Williams, who on Monday confirmed that he too would leave via free agency. Shortly afterwards it was reported that he has settled on signing with Carlton.

Before we get into the Giants and their list, it must be acknowledged this is an impressive coup for the Blues, who have shown over the last two years that – despite not yet cracking a finals berth – they can be an attractive destination for players on the move.

Jack Martin and Tom Papley both wanted to join them in last year’s offseason, and while only Martin ultimately got his wish, the fact they – and Williams – were convinced to pick Carlton as a destination shows the club can land A-grade talent.

They are picking the right kind of players to go after too: Martin and Williams are both dynamic and exciting talents who have a hard edge, and the thought of them working in tandem next year should be incredibly exciting for Blues fans.

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With GWS battling a crippling injury toll midway through last year, coach Leon Cameron swung Williams into the midfield. GWS coach Leon Cameron will likely use a scheduled scratch match against the Swans in February, and the upcoming JLT Community Series, to find the right man to be

GWS coach Leon Cameron says everyone has to take a big deep breath after the Giants ' Lockdown defender Aidan Corr has already informed the club of his desire to explore his free agency rights, while a number of other key players – including Jeremy Cameron, Zac Williams , Harry Perrman, Jye

Papley too would’ve been brilliant and filled one of Carlton’s biggest list gaps, but that appears to be off the table for good now after the potential All Australian confirmed he would be staying at the Swans in 2021. A significant missed opportunity, albeit perhaps one the Blues didn’t have much control over.

But enough talking about the Blues: let’s get on to GWS, who have had a remarkably disappointing year.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Many theories have been floated to explain the Giants’ awful form in 2020. Perhaps it is a mental hangover from the grand final loss, perhaps Leon Cameron is a poor senior coach, perhaps something is amiss with Stephen Coniglio as captain. And who knows, there may be some truth to any or all of them.

But it’s often said that they have the best playing list in the league. And while they have some of the competition’s best talent, this is not true. There are some significant gaps and imbalances on their list, and that is hurting them as much as anything.

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IRISH-born debutant Aidan Corr will replace Greater Western Sydney co-captain Phil Davis in the backline for this week's clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium. There was another new addition at GWS training today, Denmark's Aksel Bang, who is the club's international rookie and is currently on

The simplest way to build an AFL premiership list is this: obtain a strong core of A-grade talent – say, four or five undeniably elite players – and then find quality role players to fill in the side around them.

The Giants have been emphatically successful at the former. Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield, Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron is as talented a top five as you could ask for, even if some of them haven’t necessarily had great years in 2020.

But the cost of keeping those players at the club – each of who could demand $1 million per year or close to it on the open market – and the persistent raids from clubs in the traditional footy states have made it nearly impossible to do the latter.

In total 21 former Giants have played a game for rival AFL teams in 2020, the most of any side in the competition – for more than half the league the number of ex-players getting a game in 2020 was ten or lower, which is less than half of the Giants’ tally.

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No ex-Giant has ever been awarded All Australian status (though Jack Steele likely to break that tomorrow night), but it’s the solid role players, the ‘jobbers’ as our own Cam Rose would say, who GWS are missing.

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Zac Williams is in doubt for the Giants but Stephen Coniglio is in the frame to return against the Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Star onballer Stephen Coniglio is in the frame to return from a finger injury while defender Aidan Corr is available after missing a fortnight with an ankle injury.

Aidan Corr – 6 Was outmarked by Ben Reid for a goal early in the second quarter but had the better of his Magpies' opponent the rest of the day. Josh Kelly – 7 Garry Lyon said earlier in the week it was time for Kelly to justify his wage – and the Giants ' wingman did just that.

I’m talking about players like Lachie Plowman, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Devon Smith, Rory Lobb, Nathan Wilson, Sam Frost or Adam Tomlinson, who may all be only B-grade or C-grade talent but are mature bodies who either play their role in the best 22 or would provide solid depth.

Ideally GWS would still have most of them on the list and they’d have spent five-plus years playing alongside that A-grade core, developing the kind of cohesion and structure that has proven to be a launching pad for many of the competition’s most recent premiers.

Instead the Giants regularly lose this type of player, and they’re forced to fill the spot with the cheapest talent they can scrape together to fit under their salary cap.

The end result is a side that only really seems to win well when it’s on the back of those top-tier players showcasing their superstar talent. As former Giant Brett Deledio put it earlier this year, “When things start to go bad, they all try to use their own ability to win the game versus trying to do it together”.

This hasn’t been helped in 2020 by the fact that too many of the Giants’ best talents are competing for the same spot in the team.

Coniglio and Kelly but also Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Callan Ward and Williams too are all at their best when they play on the ball as inside midfielders, and the same is true of four of the Giants’ last five first-round draftees: Tom Green, Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately and Xavier O’Halloran.

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It simply doesn’t work, and paying big bucks to keep all of these players on the list while losing the jobbers and role players is hurting the Giants.

The departure of Williams, as much as it is unfortunate to lose him, may help to ease that logjam. And before the trade period ends I suspect you will see Caldwell, Hately and O’Halloran all sporting new colours, with Caldwell linked to the Saints and Hately to the Crows.

But perhaps GWS should also give some serious consideration to encouraging someone like Hopper to find a new home, which would allow someone like Kelly to spend more time as a dedicated on-baller and give the Giants cap space and trade currency with which to hunt some honest role players.

One last thought is this: it has often been said that the premiership eras of teams like Geelong and Hawthorn were built on players who took less than they could get on the open market in order to help keep a talented team together.

In the last two years GWS have signed Stephen Coniglio and Lachie Whitfield to seven-year contracts and Josh Kelly to a deal that may run as long as ten years if he chooses to exercise triggers. Kelly and Coniglio are both said to be on around $1 million per year and Whitfield is presumably not far off that. Jeremy Cameron is probably negotiating something simillar right now.

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Maybe it is too late with those deals already inked, but perhaps some of the same selflessness and sacrifice that elevated previous talented teams to premiership dynasty level is needed from the top-tier talent at the Giants.

Video: St Kilda v GWS Giants preview (Wide World of Sports)

The AFL all-time great alphabet teams: Letter T .
With a forward line as potent as the one boasted by the T team, there would be plenty of shootouts. Back line Bill Thomas (South Melbourne 1905-13, Richmond 1914-16, 1918-19) 197 games, five goals Bill Thomas was a resolute and consistent defender for South Melbourne and Richmond, playing a key role in the 1909 premiership for South by taking an important saving mark in the dying minutes. His leadership was well noted, and he captain-coached South Melbourne in 1910 and 1911 to finals appearances.

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