After a heart stopping Preliminary Final loss in 2016 to the eventual premier, the Western Bulldogs, the GWS Giants have been widely tipped to avenge that defeat this year and are favourites for the 2017 premiership.
Do the Giants justify their billing as the leading contenders? We answer this question and many more in our preview of the upcoming year.
2016 position: 4th
2017 Fixture Difficulty Rating: 9/10
Off season movements:
ARRIVALS: Tim Taranto, Will Setterfield, Harry Perryman, Isaac Cumming, Lachlan Tiziani, Matt de Boer (Fremantle), Tendai Mzungu (Fremantle), Brett Deledio (Richmond).
DEPARTURES: Jake Barrett, Paul Ahern (North Melbourne), Will Hoskin-Elliott (Collingwood), Caleb Marchbank (Carlton), Cameron McCarthy (Fremantle), Pat McKenna (Melbourne), Rhys Palmer (Carlton), Jarrod Pickett (Carlton), Jack Steele (St Kilda), James Stewart (Essendon)
The Giants list just appears to get stronger and stronger and the expansion club welcomed in another wave of exciting crop of youngsters in the off-season, including the No.2 pick, Tim Taranto, as well as Will Setterfield (No.5).
Brett Deledio adds some experience from Richmond, while notable departures include Cam McCarthy and Jack Steele.
With a list that already bats very deep, the Giants look to be near certainties of figuring in the business end of the season and are rated a $1.45 chance of finishing in the top 4, while they are premiership favourites at $4 with CrownBet.
Leon Cameron's side won 16 of their 22 regular season games last year and opened up with a big win against local rivals, Sydney, in week 1 of the finals series, before bowing out by just one solitary goal against he Bulldogs.
If they can keep their composure in the big moments this year they will be hard to beat. Cameron will need to find a way for his players to win the key one-on-one contests as they were relatively poor in this area last year, while discipline was also an issue at times as they conceded 54 more free kicks than they earned, the second worst differential in the competition.
A downside of the Giants recent success is that they have copped a hard fixture this season and they play the premiers and the runners-up twice this year, as well as Geelong and West Coast.
However, the Giants should be well placed by the time the mid-season bye rolls around as they play just four of last year’s finalists in the first 12 rounds.
In other betting markets, Jeremy Camerson has been installed a $7 chance with bet365 to win the Coleman Medal, while Jacob Hopper is at the $6.50 quote with CrownBet to take out the Rising Star.
Hopper made his debut last season and has already shown that he has all the attributes to be another midfield gun.
Key betting odds
Premiership: $4 CrownBet
Minor Premier: $3.25 CrownBet
Top 4: $1.45 CrownBet
Coleman Medal: Jeremy Cameron $7 bet365
Rising Star: Jacob Hopper $6.50 CrownBet
Take your pick of any of the above market’s as the Giants will be prominent throughout. However, the safe play may be to go with the $1.45 on offer for the top 4. It's hard to see how the Giants won't finish high up, given the cattle they have at their disposal.