Cameron Giles (Woodville-West Torrens)
Position: Key defender
Player comparison: Harry Taylor
Strengths: Offensive run, spoiling, athleticism
Weaknesses: Tackling pressure, kicking
You wouldn’t expect a 195cm, 93kg key defender to be averaging 21.8 possessions a game at 87% disposal efficiency but that is exactly what Woodville-West Torrens back man Cam Giles is doing this year. But not only is Giles a great rebounding defender, he can also play a shutdown role on dangerous opposition forwards, as he showed in the Champs where he sacrificed his attacking game to nullify danger men Max King, Dallas Willsmore and Max Hayes.
Giles is the most attacking big man we have seen for a few years. He loves to take the game on and leaves his man regularly to impact the play and get forward. Giles loves to run and carry which is rarely seen from a man as big as him and he rarely gets caught with the footy due to his great acceleration and vision which allows him to burst clear of the congestion. Once he has got rid of the ball Giles realises his work is not done yet and continues running to try to influence the play once more. On the flip side, he is also very keen to get back to his man which shows that he is certainly a two way runner.
One area of his game that needs polishing is his foot skills. There is nothing wrong with them as he hits his targets most of the time, as evidenced by his 87% disposal efficiency, but a lot of them are quite loopy and sit up allowing the defender to close in and either lay a spoil or slow down the counter attack by forcing his teammate to go back over his mark. Giles needs to kick through the ball more and get a little more penetration on his kicks rather than stabbing at them to make himself a more dangerous option coming out of the back line.
Whilst Giles has a good work rate and puts in a lot of second efforts, he could certainly put on a bit more pressure defensively. Giles doesn’t do the little things like tackling and blocking enough. He is a handy tackler and makes them stick but he only averages one per match. Despite his eagerness to run forward and get involved he seems more interested in getting the ball himself, even if he is in a worse position, rather than laying a shepherd to open up space for his teammates. This is demanded of all players at AFL level, especially big men like Giles who are expected to throw their weight around and get rid of smaller men.
As a man on man defender Giles is quite good. He has long arms and a good leap so he is often able to jump in and lay a fist on the ball. He uses this long arms to take a number of contested marks (averaging two per game) and can backs himself to out-mark the forward if the opportunity arises rather than taking the safe option and spoiling. He is strong enough to hold an opponent under the ball and takes a number of marks this way but he is also very difficult to get around when he stands his ground in front of his opponent.
Giles was selected by Geelong in the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft because they are in need of a key defender. He is tall enough to take on almost all tall forwards but he can also play the rebounding role which Andrew Mackie has excelled in. Giles is rated by most as the second best key defender in the draft behind Darcy Gardiner, although they possess different skill sets and are not similar players at all.