Giants must wean themselves off their Greene reliance

When up and firing, their midfield of Kelly, Coniglio, Tim Taranto and Callan Ward should be as good as just about anyone. That’s without mentioning Tom Green who has been one of the standout young stars in the competition.

They’ve got key defensive pillars in Nick Haynes, Sam Taylor and Phil Davis when fit, as well as the poise of Whitfield wherever he is deployed.

This is a team that has won big games without Greene before. As recently as last September, they sent packing a Swans outfit that had just won 15 home and away games. So, what is the problem this year?

You have to wonder whether losing so much talent to Victorian raids is finally catching up with them, not just from a list management point of view, but also mentally.

Jeremy Cameron’s departure was now almost two years ago, but maybe it hurt more than most given his standing at the club.

Regardless, Toby should and will make a difference against St Kilda on Friday night.

But maybe it’s time to ease up on the burden he’s being made to carry. He won’t be the reason the Giants do or don’t reach September, just like he won’t be the reason coach Cameron stays or goes.

And if those excuses are repeated often enough, sometimes players can start believing it.

The two best examples of young teams emerging from the shadow of their stars are Sydney and Fremantle.

The Swans have proved they can win without Buddy Franklin and, on the weekend, Josh Kennedy was the sub. In the past that would have spelled trouble.


Now their best players every week are dominated by names like Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills and Ollie Florent.

With that emerging core still only just entering their prime, it sets the Swans up as possible contenders for an extended period.

Out west, the Dockers have established a brand under Justin Longmuir that means they can win games without Nat Fyfe.

It’s Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, Will Brodie, Sean Darcy and others who are now headlining the club’s emerging talent.

No longer do Fyfe or David Mundy need a three-vote game for them to win. Instead, they are now the cream on top.

Comparing that to others, including the Giants and Geelong, makes for some concern.

There’s good reason the likes of Joel Selwood, Tom Hawkins and Patrick Dangerfield continue to be among the Cats best and that’s because they’re champions.

There is great support from Mitch Duncan and Tom Stewart, but they’re also deep into their careers.

We all marvel at how consistent Geelong has been under Chris Scott, but at some point their time near the top will be up. Were there signs against the Hawks that that moment might come sooner rather than later?

The mantra of the best team of recent years, Richmond, was always ‘lose a soldier and replace them with another one’.

Right now, I don’t think the Cats can do that, nor the Giants.

How they gradually wean themselves off their reliance on Greene could be a factor in how quickly they respond as a club, and whether Cameron gets the extension I think he deserves.

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