What to Expect
It’ll be an intriguing year for the Giants, who have changed little except for the big move of Caitlin Bassett to the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
This may prove to be a telling loss for GWS, but they have an incredibly strong shooting cohort to thrive in 2021. Diamond Kiera Austin had a whirlwind 2020 campaign, receiving the GA bib in the SSN Team of the Year and taking home the Giants’ Most Valuable Player award for the season.
Alongside Austin is the ever-reliable Jo Harten, who adjusted to the Super Shot rule superbly by leading the competition in Super Shots scored. As captain, Harten is a trusted leader who may help guide the young Sophie Dwyer through the ranks.
The key for GWS is stability – they have been a strong side ever since entering the SSN in 2017, and will be pushing to return to finals action in 2021.
Their mid-court is stable and critical to their success. Jamie-Lee Price is one of the league’s best defending mid-courters, and will once again play big minutes in search of early wins. The underrated Amy Parmenter and the emerging Maddie Hay round out a sound trio of mid-courters who will need to develop chemistry quickly if they are to become the engine room the Giants’ need.
While GWS’ firepower sits in their attacking duo, a solid mid-court and a handy defence should propel them towards finals action once again. With vice-captain Kristiana Manu’a and veteran Sam Poolman looking likely to get the first crack at the defensive positions, GWS will be banking on their experience to guide the Giants through the 2021 season.
Key to success
The Giants will undoubtedly have one of the competition’s best forward duos in Harten and Austin, so their ability to score goals, particularly when the Super Shot is available, will be consistent throughout the season.
But it’ll be in the mid-court where GWS’ season will be made or broken. Jamie-Lee Price will be looking to lead from the front, but plenty of pressure and faith has been placed in Amy Parmenter and Maddie Hay. Parmenter is a trusty centre, but Hay’s ability to attack from the WA position could evolve GWS and transform them into one of the league’s best sides.
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The Biggest Challenge
The main issue surrounding the Giants’ is their ability to improve after making such minimal changes. GWS refused to sign any external players, instead relying on their training partners and program to promote younger players through the ranks.
With their defence only getting older, GWS will be hoping Poolman and Manu’a don’t slow down and become vulnerable down back.
But the main issue that faces GWS in 2021 is ensuring they fire up and improve internally from last year’s disappointing finish. If the young players entering the squad can motivate the Giants, then they should be well on the path to improvement.
Last year: sixth
Kiera Austin, Jo Harten, Maddie Hay, Amy Parmenter, Jamie-Lee Price, Kristiana Manu’a, Tilly McDonell, Sam Poolman
Sophie Dwyer (elevated from training partner), April Brandley (elevated from training partner)
Caitlin Bassett (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic), Teigan O’Shannassy (NSW Swifts training partner)
Jemma Donoghue, Clare Iongi, Matisse Letherbarrow, Annie Miller, Amy Sligar, Latika Tombs