GWS coach Adam Kingsley has criticised the decision to remove Brent Daniels from the preliminary final for a concussion test after an incident which will see Collingwood star Nick Daicos scrutinised by the MRO.
Daicos is unlikely to face suspension, but his tackle on the speedy Giants forward midway through the final term will certainly be examined after Daniels’ head was driven into the ground.
The tackle came from behind into Daniels’ back rather than any slinging motion, and he remained out on the field for seven minutes of play before the Giants’ club doctor made the decision to take him off the ground following Jesse Hogan’s goal, which cut the margin back to one point.
An independent AFL doctor also oversees the decision to remove a player for a head impact assessment (HIA), and Kingsley said after the one-point loss that he would seek clarification from the AFL over the incident.
“(I was) really disappointed to lose Brent Daniels for a HIA assessment that he passed comfortably in the last five minutes of the game, which hurt us around the ball with a bit of leg speed, a bit of overlap run, so that’s extremely disappointing,” he said.
“I haven’t seen the incident, but from what I’m led to believe, it didn’t warrant having to take him off the field to assess it.
“Yeah, I’m sure we will (contact the AFL for clarification).”
Daniels had 19 disposals with 14 kicks and six score involvements before he was removed from the game.
He was a source of important speed and creativity in the Giants’ forward half along with captain Toby Greene, who Kingsley praised for the care he showed his teammates in the wake of the heartbreaking one-point loss.
“I knew the on-field person and the on-field leader is as good as any in the competition, but the off-field stuff, the way that he cares for his teammates, the way that he value-adds … he’s very thoughtful around how to improve people, how to improve the program,” Kingsley said.
“He gets an enormous amount of credit, but I still think he’s played an undervalued part in the impact he has on our group, he’s just been really special.”
Kingsley said the disappointment of being less than a kick from a Grand Final would linger for some time, but he was satisfied the Giants had the talent on their list to contend again next season.
Veteran Nick Haynes looks set to depart for a new club but the Giants secured the signatures of trio Harry Himmelberg, Jake Riccardi and Lachie Ash during the season, while Kingsley confirmed former captain Callan Ward would play on again in 2024.
“I think we have all the tools – I think there’s a capacity to potentially upgrade some areas, but I’m pretty comfortable with what we have currently,” he said.
Kingsley said he would come away from the first season of his senior coaching career most proud of the vibrant playing style his team had embraced.
“The way that we played developed across the course of the season and became, I feel, a really attractive brand and a really fun brand for our players to play,” he said.
“We became quite good at being able to play that way – that’s what I’m proudest about.”