Kieren Briggs celebrates kicking a goal in the GWS Giants clash at Marvel Stadium Round 19 2022. Image: AFL Photos

Why Kieren Briggs is Flying Under the Radar

The GWS Giants had won three of their first nine matches of the AFL season until Kieren Briggs came into the side and tore the ruck apart.

The question of a ruckman's role in the competition has been an arising debate throughout recent years, and how their role does drastically play an impact to strengthening their side.

When asking the question, do clearances make teams win matches? Although they do not necessarily implement this, they strongly play a significant factor in winning stoppages and getting the ball forward.

At the start of the AFL season, many people had doubts about the GWS Giants and wrote their season off, not expecting any excitement to come out of their matches.

It would come due to the departure of Leon Cameron midway through last season after having coached the club since 2014, as well as their young guns Jacob Hooper and best and fairest winner Tim Taranto departing the club to the Tigers.

At the end of Round 9, the Giants were positioned 15th on the AFL ladder almost halfway through the season; at the beginning of Round 10, Matt Flynn was dropped as a ruck, whilst Kieren Briggs came into the side for the first time this season as the team's ruck.

Brigg's dominance being brought into the side has vastly alternated its dynamic, turning their season around to win their next seven of nine matches.

Briggs is also playing as an extra midfielder averaging 5.9 clearances per match, which is the most by any ruckman across the league in his team.

Briggs is ranked 16th across the whole competition for total average clearances, which is insane to achieve as a key ruck; he outranks gun players Patrick Dangerfield (Geel), Tim Kelly (WCE), and Josh Dunkley (Bris).

The Giants had the most total clearances in two of the nine matches Briggs did not play in. Since he has slotted into the side, they have won six out of the nine complete clearances as a part of their hot run.

The Giants' losing margin when Briggs was not in the side was an average of 23.83 points. However when he was brought into the side, the team's average losing margin drastically improved to only nine points.

The Giant's winning margin whilst Briggs was not in the side was an average of 6.33 points; however, when he was brought into the side, the average winning margin was 24.86 points, drastically changing and showing a significant difference to the side.

Kieren Briggs’ unbelievable goal in the VFL!

YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT 🤯 Kieren Briggs kicks an unbelievable goal in the VFL! Watch LIVE 📺

Posted by GWS Giants on Saturday, May 14, 2022

Briggs' role on his side has allowed the recent victories over premiership contenders Geelong and Melbourne; from Rounds 10-18, the Giants would sit second due to their recent hot run, which has heavily gone under the radar.

Not only has Kieren Briggs made a difference by playing a crucial part in being brought into the side as the key ruckman, but too the fact that the Giants had come from nowhere for the possibility to play finals when almost everyone wrote them off in the preseason.

The Giants currently sit seventh on the ladder due to the percentage at the end of Round 19 and are very used to the build-up toward the end of the home and away season.