A rival to dislodge Sam Taylor as an All-Australian key defender is yet to emerge this season, according to the GIANTS' backline coach, who expects the young star will do enough to retain the position in 2023.

Taylor is on track to play 16 games this season if he can stay fit for the remaining five home and away rounds, with his year interrupted by a serious hamstring injury in round six.

The 23-year-old has been dominant in the games he has played and particularly influential in the GIANTS' past five wins since returning from injury in the 70-point win against Fremantle in round 14.

Defensive coach Brett Montgomery, who has taken charge of the GIANTS' young and flourishing backline this season, said Taylor deserved to retain his mantle given his impact when fit.

"I'm extremely biased obviously, but I've always been a strong believer that if you're the All-Australian key defender, it takes a significant effort from someone to dislodge you from that position," Montgomery told AFL.com.au.

"I think Sam is going to end up playing enough games this year to prove that he hasn't been dislodged from that position. There are some wonderful defenders around, and I love watching them. But I just don't see anyone dislodging Sam right now."

Collingwood captain Darcy Moore and Brisbane's dual All-Australian Harris Andrews are seen as the competition's other standout tall defenders this season, while Melbourne's Steven May has been selected at full back for the past two years. 

Montgomery highlighted Taylor's incredible record in one-on-one contests this season, with a loss rate of just 6.8 per cent in defensive contests.

It is Taylor's ability to turn defence into attack through intercept marking, however, that Montgomery believes separates him from the pack.

"He's operating at 60 per cent one-on-one contest wins, which is daylight between him and the next. It's a significant gap for a guy who's there to stop someone," the defensive coach said.

"He has this incredible appetite for the contest, but he has an approach that can quickly switch from competing and not being beaten to winning and working himself into winning positions.

"I'm certain he doesn't go to contests thinking anything other than competing and battling. But he can turn that very quickly into a very attacking play for us."

Working up close with Taylor this season, Montgomery believes the Swan Districts product has attributes for a key defender that he has not seen at AFL level before.

He has been the cornerstone of a young defence this season that has gone six straight weeks without conceding more than 75 points, with Jack Buckley and Harry Himmelberg also thriving.

For Montgomery, the tight group has reaped the rewards of having an open mind to change under first-year coach Adam Kingsley, who publicly highlighted their efforts this week. 

"They challenged each other that the way they were doing things was potentially OK but it hadn't got them exactly where they wanted to get to," said Montgomery, who joined his Port Adelaide premiership teammate Kingsley at the Giants ahead of the 2023 season.  

"So what did they have to lose? I think they were well led by 'Kingers' right at the start about where we wanted to take this and it has been about the last six or seven weeks [where it's clicked].

"We were doing some good things prior to that, but we weren't able to get that connection and reap the rewards. We were still all feeling each other out."

Montgomery said the tight relationships that had formed in the GIANTS' backline were important to their improving form, while maintaining an ability to challenge and educate each other.

Connor Idun and Isaac Cumming were the group's "ministers for energy and enthusiasm", while Lachie Whitfield and Lachie Ash were the educators, who liked to own the game plan and be an extension of the coaching group.

It was clear this season that a 'team within the team' was forming in a healthy way.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't there, but I don't see this team within a team being insular or detached in any way," Montgomery said.  

"Teams within teams can work in a powerful way. The common trait they (defenders) have is they take a lot of bullets generally as players and they build up a layer of connection and resilience through that alone.

"I think that is just one of those beautiful things for guys who play in the backline."