New GWS coach Adam Kingsley says the Giants’ coveted number one pick may not feature in the early rounds, with three other tall forwards cemented in the side.
Aaron Cadman finds himself just on the outer ahead of the Giants’ season opener at home against Adelaide on Sunday, despite his four-goal haul in a VFL practice match last week.
The 19-year-old had impressed Kingsley with his pre-season, but will need more time to get ahead of the Giants’ key forward trio of Jesse Hogan, Harry Himmelberg and Jake Riccardi.
“(Cadman) will be close – we’ve certainly discussed him at length around where we play him and how many we can play with those talls,” Kingsley said.
“I would expect to see him pretty soon, but again, it’s hard to actually know how well the other key players perform.
“I’ve been really pleased with his development, even if he doesn’t play early. He’s going to be a really good player for us for a long time, but that doesn’t mean he has to play within the first month of the season, either.”
Kingsley confirmed Riccardi, 23, had won first crack at the forward-ruck role after booting four goals in the Giants’ only practice match against Gold Coast.
“I like how (Riccardi) competes; he’s obviously very athletic and a beautiful kick, so he finishes his work really well,” Kingsley said.
“I’ve been really pleased with his summer and I expect him to get a really good opportunity in both those areas (forward and ruck).”
Luckless small forward Brent Daniels was likely to be able to make his return from a hamstring strain in round 1, Kingsley said.
The 24-year-old hasn’t played since round 21, 2021 but will add damaging pace to the Giants’ forward half.
“We played 26 (against Gold Coast); we’ll probably have Brent Daniels back. I presume that will be roughly the squad, give or take,” Kingsley said.
“We wanted to make sure we put the most likely team together to get a bit of synergy in that last game, so I don’t think it will be too different to what turned up against Gold Coast.”
Key defenders Phil Davis (hamstring) and Jack Buckley (knee) were both in the selection frame as the Giants prepared for a tall Crows forward line featuring Taylor Walker, Darcy Fogarty and Elliot Himmelberg, Kingsley said.
If named, the 25-year-old Buckley will play his first game since his ACL injury 618 days ago in round 16, 2021 against Melbourne.
The pair will be jostling with Leek Aleer for a spot in the backline after the 21-year-old played against Gold Coast.
“Phil is certainly in contention for round 1 … we’re pleased with his progression in returning from injury and there’s every chance he’ll play,” he said.
“(Buckley) certainly could play – we’ll have a discussion around him; he’s on the cusp of the team at the moment.
“He got through the practice match at VFL level last week … strong, competitive, quick are all his attributes, so he’ll be in discussions.”