They were against a weakened Richmond side that was without first team member such as Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt, Dion Prestia, Dylan Grimes, Kane Lambert, and Nick Vlaustin, and the Giants still managed to give away a promising early lead to get beaten by 0-2 record, leaving AFL tipsters stunned.
Despite the fact Callan Ward was playing its 250th match, the Giants were outclassed in a 16.13 (109) to 10.13 (73) loss. The coach Leon Cameron called this outcome “the Richmond Way”.
The Giants Did Not Compete at the Same Level in 2022
After an 11-10 season that was a middle of the road one in 2012, which saw the Giants win a final over the Sydney Swans, before losing to Geelong in the semi-final, many hoped that they will compete again at the same level in the new AFL season.
However, they were outclassed by the Tigers and Swans in two successive games at the beginning of the AFL season. All this made Sam McClure from the Herald Sun question the team’s salary cap.
The 2019 success convinced the Giants to invest in their midfield core. In that line, Lachie Whitfield, Toby Greene, Jake Kelly and Stephen Coniglio sign lucrative long-term contracts.
So, speaking on Footy Classified on Monday, McClure said that the deal Coniglio signed after 2029 was ill-advised and it would prove to be a major obstacle in the club’s ability to recruit good players.
He says that he stands by his claims that the contract was the wrong decision by the club.
McClure says that he has nothing against Coniglio, whom he considers to be a great servant of the club for a long time, but he just had to be let go. In his opinion, there are plenty of midfielders coming through the ranks in the Giants.
He goes on to claim that the decision to award him a lucrative contract has put the club into a corner for the next few years, saying that it has “destroyed the club financially”.
The Team Just Relies Too Much on the Star-Studded AFL Midfield
Former Port Adelaide player and a great AFL servant Kane Cornes agrees with McClure in this case. He says that the Giants have made massive missteps in creating their list. The long-term deal Kelly signed that is to run until 2029, would also be very problematic in the club’s attempt to win their first Premiership, eveafln though Kelly is considered to be one of the best midfielders around.
Kane Cornes says that clubs must be brave when discussing new deals, and sometimes they need to be ready to make a “tough” decision for long-term benefits.
He says that the club has made a massive mistake with Kelly, and in a few years’ time, the same discussion as Coniglio’s one will emerge.
However, he states that Coniglio would have got the contract in other clubs in the AFL, if not at the Giants. He references Williams who got seven years at Carlton, Polec got five years contract, Hannebery got five, and Shiel got six, so there are plenty of clubs in the AFL falling into this trap.
He calls for more bravery with teams, and he urges them not to be scared of losing their best players.
Coniglio has had an injury-hit 2021 campaign, and it has raised eyebrows about his form even back then. However, now, he has regained fitness and he shares captaincy duties with Kelly and Greene.
He has had a good start in the 2022 AFL season, but that wasn’t enough for McClure. He has remained sceptical about the new contract, but it only remains to be seen if his and Kane Cornes’ predictions will come true.
McClure adds that the list management in the Giants has been misguided and the club has simply ‘picked up too many midfielders year after year’.
All these contract decisions will harm the club in the coming years according to McClure, and he finishes his criticism by saying that if Coniglio had left, the Giants would have been able to recover, it wouldn’t have been so harmful to their aspirations.