Are GWS Back?
What a difference a week makes? From outhouse to penthouse, the Giants recovered from their embarrassing defeat against the Bulldogs to unseat the competition favourites at home. As is often the case, it wasn’t so much the results but the manner in which they were achieved that has changed opinions about the Western Sydney team.
More intent to engage in faux toughness than chase the ball against the Bulldogs they had their premiership credentials in question. Then, when presented with an opportunity to answer their critics against one of the competitions hottest teams they took it with both hands.
Does it mean the Giants are back? Well I guess it depends on whether you thought they were ever out of the running. Their best is unquestionably good enough but can they produce it often and consistently enough to be there again when it matters?
How the game was won.
Just like they were in last year’s Preliminary Final, Collingwood and GWS were separated by less than a kick when the final siren sounded at Giants Stadium on Friday night. Jeremy Cameron was the hero on this occasion with his late goal proving the difference in this thrilling encounter.
After an even opening half, it looked as though the home team had blown the game open with three goals in the third quarter that saw them take a game high 19-point lead. It wasn’t going to be that easy though, with Collingwood lifting themselves off the canvas to draw within a point at the final change.
Their inability to take advantage of their third quarter surge seemed a fatal error when Mason Cox kicked Collingwood ahead in the shadows of full time. They weren’t to be denied though and they earned themselves an invaluable four points and answered their doubters in the most dramatic way.
What the coaches said.
“It was a really gutsy win,” coach Leon Cameron said. “They’re one of the better teams in the competition and clearly we’d been down for a couple of weeks and trying to find our feet since we resumed play.” He was also full of praise for the teams ability to cope with the loss of Zac Williams and Phil Davis. “To find a way with a couple down in the last quarter was really pleasing,” he said.
The Giants return to form was no surprise to Collingwood Coach Nathan Buckley. “When you get away against a top-four side or grand final side last year with their backs against the wall, we knew what we were coming up against,” he said. “There’s no easy games in the AFL and you need to keep earning your opportunities to move forward and we spoke about that leading up to the game. We invested enough from a physical standpoint, but we just weren’t clean enough.”
GWS GIANTS 1.3 4.4 8.6 10.6 (66)
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 4.4 8.5 9.10 (64)
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 3, Cameron 2, Finlayson, Green, Perryman, Ward, Kelly
Collingwood: Stephenson 2, Mihocek 2, Phillips 2, Daicos, Crisp, Cox
Greater Western Sydney: Greene, Green, Whitfield, Haynes, Kelly, de Boer
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Moore, Howe, Maynard, Crisp, Wills
Greater Western Sydney: Davis (right hamstring), Williams (left hamstring)
Collingwood: Howe (right knee)