Last weekend the GWS Giants were hit with horrible news. The clubs reigning best and fairest winner Tim Taranto injured his shoulder and will require surgery. This reconstruction will mean he misses the next four to five months. With a return unlikely until after the bye round, it opens up an opportunity inside the Giants midfield. But for who?

Embed from Getty Images

The season could not have had a disastrous start to the season for the Giants. Tim Taranto injured his shoulder in the within minutes of the club’s first Marsh Series match against Sydney. However, if any team has the depth to cover his loss, it’s GWS. Here are six players that could fill the void left by Tim Taranto.

Stephen Coniglio

Just weeks ago Giants coach suggested his new captain could spend more time forward as he looked to juggle the star-studded midfield. With Taranto’s injury, Stephen Coniglio could be released to play the majority of game time as a midfielder. Should this occur, the already underpriced premium midfielder presents more definite value for fantasy coaches.

His 2019 AFLFantasy average of 104 is excellent, but if we remove then injury impacted game where he scored 0, it boosts up seven points to 111. Similarly in SuperCoach his average of 101 is more than respectable, but with the injured game removed then he spikes up to 108.

That backs up his scoring from 2018 where he averaged 110 in AFLFantasy and 108 in SuperCoach.

Earlier in the preseason, I wrote about him in the 50 Most Relevant, and you can read that article here.

Tom Green

As a junior Tom Green highlighted that he was one of the best midfielders available in his draft year. Last year he averaged 24 disposals, eight clearances and four tackles per game in the Under-18 Championships. 

In the same game that Tim Taranto was injured, we got our first look at the future Giants star. He amassed 21 possessions, 15 of these were contested and kicked two goals. From a fantasy perspective, he scored 106 in SuperCoach and 76 in AFLFantasy. Should he debut round one and pick up some or all of Taranto’s midfield minutes we have a reliable midfield cash cow option to consider.

Jackson Hately

For many among the footballing community, Jackson Hately was already pencilled in for more opportunities with the departure of Adam Tomlinson. Given the similar physical and football traits, it’s understandable for the expectation. Taranto’s injury has just created an even bigger hole in the midfield. Given Hately’s physical presence and ability to win the ball on the inside and outside of the contest, I expect him to cement himself inside the sides best 22. 

Hately has had limited opportunities, but in his first two games with scores of 84 and 80 in AFLFantasy and 95 and 85 in SuperCoach, he has shown his fantasy scoring potential already.

Jye Caldwell

The explosive and damaging midfielder is one to come under substantial consideration for the Taranto role. The former #11 draft pick is a stoppage king who brings with him a healthy defensive mindset. Additionally, Caldwell has a burst of speed from the contest that will make him a fan favourite.

Toby Greene

Round 17 at the MCG, the Giants injury crisis hit its peak. Already Callan Ward, Josh Kelly and tagger Matt deBoer were all out. However, it was also the infamous match the Stephen Coniglio injured his knee and scored a giant doughnut for coaches. These injuries forced the coaches hands, and Toby was thrown into the midfield.

During the final six matches of the season, he showed his class, ball-winning and presence as a midfielder. The injury to Taranto could see the coaching staff ‘go back to the well’ and place him back into the midfield. When place there he scored: 144, 115, 126, 146 142 & 99 at an average of 128 in AFLFantasy. For SuperCoach he scored; 138, 112, 107, 134, 122 & 115 at an average of 121.

Given the lack of genuine forward premium candidates we have available this year, this move could be one of the most beneficial for fantasy coaches.

Earlier in the preseason, I wrote about him in the 50 Most Relevant, and you can read that article here.

Callan Ward

He’s still a minimum of six weeks away from getting back into AFL calculations. However, when he does, the former skipper is one of the more natural candidates to take on the additional midfield responsibility.

Back in 2018 he averaged 27 possessions, 13 of these were contested, seven score involvements and averaged 96 in AFLFantasy and 104 in SuperCoach.

Earlier in the preseason, I wrote about him in the 50 Most Relevant, and you can read that article here.