GIVEN the draft circumstances, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) GIANTS were able to make the most out of a hand they knew would be compromised with an elite talent coming into the club. Able to trade up to Pick 4 in order to avoid using their first pick on Northern Academy member Tom Green, the GIANTS instead nabbed the talented inside midfielder at Pick 10, and while they head into 2020 with a deficit, traded back into the 2019 National AFL Draft to snaffle up a couple of late selections. Like most sides that make a Grand Final, the GIANTS did not need to add too much, instead able to go best available, whilst adding some mature-age needs.
4. Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | 187cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
10. Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies) | 190cm | 89kg | Inside Midfielder
51. Jake Riccardi (Werribee) | 194cm | 96kg | Key Forward
65. Thomas Hutchesson (Adelaide SANFL) | 177cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder
15. Jake Stein (GWS Giants)
28. Tom Sheridan (GWS Giants)
36. Zachary Sproule (GWS Giants)
The GIANTS had already committed to redrafting their three players in Jake Stein, Tom Sheridan and Zach Sproule in the Rookie Draft, so the third day of action was nothing too exciting. Most of the GIANTS’ work was done on night one, with night two also featuring a couple of surprises. Knowing Green was all but safe from their first selection, the GIANTS would have been that bit more relieved when the Demons opted for Luke Jackson and not place a bid on the inside midfielder. It allowed the GIANTS to instead select Murray Bushrangers and Vic Country co-captain Lachlan Ash. He is a readymade talent with an elite right boot and great vision that can set up the play from half-back. By selecting Ash, GWS is able to hand Zac Williams more midfield minutes and continue the form he showed during the 2019 AFL Finals Series. Ash will rarely make too many mistakes by foot and takes the game on from half-back, able to slot straight into the GIANTS line-up.
When the bid for Green came in at Pick 10, the GIANTS did not need much time to think about it. In what could be akin to daylight robbery, the GIANTS picked up a genuine top five talent with a mid-first round selection. Like Ash, Green could slot in straight away if required, and even more so given he stands at 190cm and 89kg with deceptive athleticism. He is a hard man to bring down and bullocks his way around stoppages, allowing other midfielders to use their outside strengths. He has shown some signs he could also play as a leading forward if he was to rest there, and that would be another string to his bow and the team’s versatility.
With the final two picks in the AFL National Draft, the GIANTS scooped up a couple of mature agers, including Werribee’s key position forward Jake Riccardi after trading up to take him off Collingwood’s hands. While the Magpies were rumoured to be interested heading into the draft, the GIANTS were willing to pay up and took a punt on the forward to find a role in a strong front six that saw Jon Patton leave over the off-season. Along with Riccardi, the GIANTS liked what they saw with small but tough Adelaide midfielder, Thomas Hutchesson. The 177cm prospect is an outside player with neat skills, good decision making and most impressively, an eye for defensive pressure.
What the GIANTS achieved over the draft period was bringing in four talents of whom could all play in Round 1 if given the opportunity. Whilst there is no doubt that would be a tough feat given the strength of the side, it allows GWS to have extra depth at its disposal heading into a season where it has to be considered one of the premiership contenders.