A back line teller around one man

It’s no secret that the Giants have shown a fair share of their inspiring performances in 2022, with a 52-point win over the weekend expected to turn a corner.

There were many notable performances against the Eagles – Stephen Coniglio returned to midfield, behind Harry Himmelberg – but it was another strong performance for Sam Taylor, the most consistent performer of the year.

He exploded on the scene in Round 21, 2021, leaving Tom Hawkins with a goal in the Giants win that took them to the final. It may come as a surprise that Taylor played his 50th game next week.

So far the 63-game fullback has performed during a disappointing GWS campaign, already playing in the current top five of the Coleman Medal – Tom J. Lynch, Charlie Carno, Max King, Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron – and just eight wins. Goals from all match-ups. He is reliably one of the best key defenders in the league.

Lynch scored the only three goals on Taylor in the group – kicking Cameron Taylor in just two of his five after a quarter-time shift from Nick Haynes – Levi Casbolt was the only forward to score three goals. Since Round 4, Taylor has scored just nine goals in six games. This is 1.5 goals per team which allows 12.8 goals per game in that period

The metric in which Taylor was a true standout was one defense after another of his rivalry. Among the top 10 percent players in defensive competition in 2022, Taylor is second with a loss percentage of 9.1 percent. It is second only to Steven May, 5.3 percent, who has lost just two contests through the first ten rounds. Third is Darcy Moore with 17.9 percent, which shows how good both May and Taylor were.

To qualify for this number, the top ten percent of players in defensive competition have finished the last ten years, with a loss percentage below 11 percent. But only two have finished below 15 percent (in 2020 and 2021 as second defender to Liam Jones Jacob Waitering and in 2017 Alex Rance with 14.9 percent).

Four of the 11 players below 20 percent were under the age of 25: Jacob Waitering, 2021, 16.8 percent; Harris Andrews, 2020, 17.5 percent; Tom MacDonald, 2016, 16.9 percent; And Eric Mackenzie, 2014, 16.5 percent. This puts Taylor in some great key defenders and at just 23 years old he has the potential to create problems for the forwards for the next decade.

If the 23-year-old can continue this form in the second half of 2022 when GWS concedes the sixth highest point, it will be one of the truly great defensive seasons.

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