The Big Questions – GWS 2024 Season Preview

When commencing this preview, it was easy to look back at the last game the Giants played and how they almost made the Grand Final

But stopping there would make it sound like they failed. And they didn’t fail in 2023. From the outside looking in, it more appears as though they simply laid the groundwork for what’s to come.

After the disastrous 2022 season, there were plenty who thought the days of the Giants contending may be in the rear vision mirror. They were ready to move onto the next story, the next team that was entering the window.

But the Giants grabbed hold of them as they went to leave and said “we’re not done yet… we’re just getting started”.

Under the tutelage of Adam Kingsley, GWS found their groove in 2023, commencing a run of 11 wins and three losses to finish the season.

And it so easily could have been more.

When people talk about a team believing in themselves, they gravitate toward Collingwood – their run through 2022/23 was remarkable, but what we saw from GWS in 2023 was just wonderful in and of itself. This was a team who got the right person in the right role (whether it was Kingsley as coach , or Toby Greene as standalone captain) and started to roll.

It took something special to stop them, and perhaps something a little unfair.

What can they provide in 2024 with another preseason under their new coach?


It’s that time of year, already.

The break after Christmas and New Year is over. The holidays are finished for AFL players, and the hard stuff starts now. Yes, the teams had been training for well over a month prior to Christmas, but as we head into 2024, the ante is upped and the intensity increases.

This is where premierships are won and lost. This is where improvements are made and lists come together. New faces, new colours, old heads with renewed passion… so much feeds into the making of a contender. And as the days tick down toward to the intra-club clashes, practice games, and eventually the real stuff, questions are raised about each team and how they’re going to perform in 2024.

We don’t do things by halves here, at The Mongrel Punt. When we do a season preview, we go all out to make sure it is the best, most comprehensive coverage you’ll receive. We pride ourselves on it. If you are going to read one season preview for your team, or any team, this series provides it.

The way it works is as follows.

Each club has a minimum of 15 questions asked about the upcoming season, their coaches, their players, and their expectations. The answers are not glossed over. We dive deep on each and every one – some singular answers would normally be long enough for an entire column. The first five questions/answers are free for you to consume. The next 10-14 for each club are for our members, including a special appearance from Mrs Mongrel to throw her two cents in the mix.

Isn’t it a bit early for a season preview? Well, I suppose, but do you know how long it takes to write seven thousand words? That’s 18 x 7,000… gets out the calculator… that’s 126,000 words. The average novel is about 85,000 words, so buckle the hell up with these previews.

Also, if there are any issues that arise after the publication of the preview, they will be covered in standalone articles to act as additions to this preview.

You will not read a deeper season preview than this – I guarantee it. This is where we start the run to the new season and believe me – nobody does it better than The Mongrel.




Don’t screw your nose up – there are some similarities. And if this results in a flag, I am sure you’ll sit back and say “Well, you know… there were some similarities between us and the Pies” like you’re some type of oracle.

Come on, man… everyone can see them! Even me!

The Giants were maybe coming off their lowest ebb after the 2022 season – yes, even worse than the period after their inception when they copped beltings. This was a team full of experienced players – stars of the game, yet they were bottoming out. They looked like a team playing without inspiration. They were done. Tired. Had enough. They looked like a team that had been around the mark so often that they were ready to fall over and give someone else a shot.

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of coaching paint can do to a team, huh?

With the appointment of Adam Kingsley as the man in charge, the Giants spent the first ten weeks of the season coming to terms with what the new coach wanted. Things were different under him – change is always difficult, even if you do embrace it. It always takes time to adjust and get things right. Some never get it right.

However, after the early losses piled up (3-7 after ten rounds), the Giants trekked down to Kardinia Park and gave the Cats a touch up. Back against the wall, they headed down to one of the more feared venues in the game to take on the reigning premiers.

No probs… they’d pulled this one off before, and this time it was the type of win a club can build on. No one gave them a shot. It was them against the world.

Screw the world – they did it.

There were some hiccups along the way, but from that point on, the Giants had something that can take teams a long way – belief.

Like the Pies of 2022, GWS rode out a period where people wrote them off and started to focus on what they could do. They started to play their own game. And just like that… they started winning.

The belief took Collingwood to one kick away from the Grand Final in 2022. It was the same for the Giants in 2023.

A new coach at both teams, a renaissance in year one, and in year two, it was Collingwood winning a flag. What does year two hold for Adam Kingsley and his Giants?

They have always had the talent – that has never been in question. However, this team also possesses heart. I love that about them, and as much as people who have too much time on their hands slap labels on this club as being “plastic” if there was one team, other than my own, I’d like to see win it all in 2024, it’d be the Giants.

Their response in 2023 was fantastic, just as Collingwood’s was in 2022. Can they emulate what the Pies did last season?



So, to illustrate a point, I’ll play two characters in this section. Showing my range… maybe it’s not too late for Hollywood to come knocking?

The first is the role of a GWS supporter – knowledgeable about their team and a little frustrated at some of the boneheads that have opinions and really don’t know what they’re talking about. And the second is a generic AFL fan – the bonehead who doesn’t know what he’s talking about –  who watches Friday Nights and then sleepwalks through the weekend. Okay? We ready. Aaaaand… action!

GWS Fan – I’m pretty excited about this season. We’ve got great depth.

Friday Night Mate – Like who?

GWS Fan – Where do I start? In defence, we have Jack Buckley.

Friday Night Mate – The guy who sang Hallelujah? Didn’t he die?

GWS Fan – Yes… he did. Jeff Buckley died. Well done. Jack Buckley was the bloke who stepped in and held down the key position in defence while Sam Taylor was out with his hamstring injury, remember?

Friday Night Mate – Yeah nah… who else?

GWS Fan – Harry Himmelberg? Connor Idun? Perryman, Ash…

Friday Night Mate – I heard of Himmelberg. Idun? Who is he?

GWS – Oh, an easy one. You know Collingwood, right?

Friday Night Mate – Oh yeah, the Pies, mate! They play Friday nights!

GWS – Well, they have that bloke named Isaac Quaynor – they just signed him to a big extension. Really good player. Idun basically plays just like him, except because he doesn’t play for Collingwood, he doesn’t get his name splashed all over the newspapers and websites to get a click.

Friday Night Mate – Never heard of him.

And so it goes for every line across the field.

The Giants are a team that sneaks under the radar because not only are their top tier – Kelly, Cogs, Greene and Green, etc… so good, the next tier down is outstanding, as well. And the tier after that, too!

A guy like Harry Perryman can play anywhere on the park. Isaac Cumming can’t even get a run in the role he plays his best footy, Lachie Whitfield isn’t even required in the midfield these days, and they have these kids developing at their own pace who are going to run the footy world in a couple of seasons.

I LOVE what the Giants have been able to do with their list. Sure, Friday Night Mate can sit there, sink some cans, and wonder when Carlton will get their next Fright Night Showcase game, but if you love great footy, check out what this GWS does and how they cultivate enormous talent year upon year.

They’re a brilliant club that has created a culture to be proud of.



Not too much, but the fact that he re-signed with the club through to the end of 2026 demonstrates a maturity about the young man, and a knowledge that his journey won’t be one that starts off like a rocket.

It’ll be a little more like a hot air balloon for the first couple of years. A slow rise before hitting great heights.

Let’s face it – key forwards take time, particularly ones that are not built like brick shithouses from day one. Cadman has brief moments where you could see the oak tree in the acorn, but for the most part, he was still an acorn, and will take a bit of nurturing before he starts paying dividends.

And that’s okay.

He played 12 games in 2023 and averaged just a goal every two games. Further, he managed to average just 4.5 disposals and 1.6 marks per contest. Those numbers jump off the page for all the wrong reasons, but his AFL career is not a sprint, and he will take a while to put a bit of muscle behind his hustle. In the meantime, the Giants are not reliant on him to be the face of the club, or the number one man up forward. If anything, Cadman has the luxury of working his way into the team, finding his feet, and developing at his own pace. He is probably the fourth option, which is just right for him at the moment.

If we look south toward the Whitten Oval, a bloke named Jamarra Ugle-Hagan looked anything but a superstar in his first year in the system.

Whilst Jamarra did manage to kick 1.4 goals per game, he played just five games and averaged seven touches.

Again, life for a developing key forward is not all wine and roses.

In year two, Aaron Cadman will be a better player. He will be stronger, faster, and be able to hold his ground in one-on-one contests better, but he is very much a work in progress, and without bursting anyone’s balloon, I reckon it might be 2025 before we see him showing the footy world just why he was taken first overall, on a regular basis.

Until then, enjoy the glimpses of what is to come. He has the support around him to afford him the time he needs.



Jesse was probably the most underrated player of the 2023 season.

Considering where he has been, and the pathway that led to him joining the Giants, watching him take big contested grabs inside 50 was an absolute joy last season, and it appeared as though Hogan started to rediscover exactly what he loved about the game.

Ranked third for marks inside 50, second for total contested marks, and 16th for goals in 2023, it was like a re-awakening of Jesse Hogan, and he reminded people of just how good he could be.

With him as the focal point on the slower build ups, it gives the Giants a predictable forward set-up. I know that can be viewed as a weakness, and yes, when you consistently go to one player, it can bring things undone, but on a slower play, you need to know you’re going to have someone crash the pack and bring the footy to ground, and that is what Hogan did so well last season.

Jesse Hogan took a back seat to Toby Greene when it came to goals, but Hogan was still able to produce over two per game, and had one week when he really got to flex, with nine snags against the Bombers. It was close to the best individual forward performance of the season from a forward.

A motivated Jesse Hogan is a powerful weapon to wield. Whilst it inflicts huge damage on the opposition, like a good axe in Baldur’s Gate, it also allows for other benefits, such as offering protection that allows Aaron Cadman the space to grow into the role Hogan now occupies.

If Jesse is up and about in 2024, it is good for the Giants now, and for the next ten years because of what it affords the kids coming through.

And, on a personal note, it is bloody brilliant to see him back at this level. During his time at Freo, I wondered whether we ever would.



Ideally, we could see Ash played in the midfield. That is what he was drafted as, and that would be his best position.

But on every team, there are players who play other roles, not because it is best for them, but because it is what the team requires, and I reckon Lachie Ash fits that statement perfectly.

The Giants were crafty in the way they acquired Ash prior to taking Tom Green as their academy pick back in 2019, and whilst Green has gone on to live up to the hype, Ash has been a bit more of a slow burn – highly capable, and has demonstrated as much – but relegated to other roles due to the abundance of talent in this GWS team.

Whether he has played half-back, wing, or as a midfield run-with player, there has never been a point where I’ve looked at Ash and thought “he wasn’t worth pick four”.

On the contrary, I keep watching him play thinking “this guy gets no publicity but he is solid as a bloody rock!”

He is the type of player I reckon every team would love having. Unassuming, workmanlike, but has that something about him that let’s you know that he has the capacity to be so much more and is prepared to do so at the drop of a hat.

Last season, he basically made Isaac Cumming redundant in the rebounding half-back role, averaging over 24 touches per game and 5.3 rebounds. More on Cumming below, who was tearing it up in that role the year before, but Ash made it his own.

What is his ceiling?

Well, it largely depends on where he plays. I don’t want to see him become this jack-of-all-trades type, so I want him to settle into that half-back role now. He has demonstrated what he is capable of. Now it might be time to allow him to grow into it.

Is 26 touches, six rebounds, and an All-Australian squad selection out of the question as early as this season?

I genuinely don’t think it is.



And that concludes our free section of this season preview. The next five thousand-or-so words are for our members. I told ya, nobody dives in like us. You can join if you like?


As mentioned above, the first five questions are free – the next 14-15 are for our members. Yep, I believe my work is worth twenty-five cents per day. If you don’t, that’s fine. You’re welcome to join and keep reading