Greater Western Sydney battled the gusty conditions at Hobart to comfortably defeat North Melbourne. Individual recognitions and records filled the game, but it certainly wasn't the prettiest to watch, with both teams setting the bar early with the turnover count set to high in the first term of the game.
The Giants midfield stood tall as they dominated clearances and contested ball the majority of the afternoon. Josh Kelly ran rampant all day in another best on field display for the Giants with North Melbourne seemingly forgetting about his dominant football abilities (need a bigger, better offer now, North).
Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron continued their form by adding more tallies to their goal sheet for the season along with some individual plays to ensure the Giants kept their lead honest throughout the game. Steve Johnson reached his 500 goal milestone in the third quarter after a few typical Stevie J attempts. The big one slammed on the boot from the goal square, definitely one of the easiest of the 500 goals. Well done Stevie J!
The GWS boys took advantage of the North Melbourne fourth quarter blues, as the Giants kicked 6.4 to 2.1 in the last term to further their lead to 42 points on the final siren. The Giants didn't come through the game unscathed, however, with senior player Ryan Griffen suffering a high ankle injury ruling him out for ten weeks minimum. (Ouch!)
The Ruck Contest
Shane Mumford (Mummy) would have loved rocking up to the centre square opening bounce and not facing Todd Goldstein, except he found himself with a new tango partner in third-gamer Braydon Preuss. Mummy battled with Preuss the majority of the day, and it was seeming like the young Roo was gathering momentum and taking the game away by strolling forward and impacting the scoreboard with two goals in the early stages of the match. Preuss' influence awoke the Giant, causing Mummy to flex his muscles and smash every Kangaroo in his path. Mummy's rampage stamped his presence on the game, creating the catalyst for the Giants dominance for the rest of the afternoon. Mummy didn't take marks or have any scoreboard impact but made sure every time he touched that red Sherrin it was turned to gold, providing his teammates with plenty of opportunities to clear the North Melbourne defence. Mummy disposed at 100 percent efficiency for the game, coming out on top in the hit-outs, and getting his Giant midfielders to dominate the clearances 49-32 at the end of the match. Mumford once again proved to the football community that he should be featured in discussions for ‘who is the best ruckman in the competition?'
The club's second ever game at Blundstone Oval provided unenjoyable weather for the visitors, causing chaos throughout the day with disposals and communication (it appeared). The massive winds benefited one side of the ground all day, giving players an extra ten meters on their kicks. You would think that advantage wouldn't benefit any team, but for the Giants, it only hindered their attack.
The first quarter saw GWS rebounding from defence often as North had the wind in their favour and were trapping the ball in their half for the majority of the quarter. The Giants, with their foot skills, were being quite precise moving forward despite having a high number of unforced errors. Dylan Shiel led the GWS attack with plenty of weaving using one-two's through a Roos press, featuring many short kicks, hence his 11 opening disposals for the quarter. It was obvious to viewers that both teams were playing vastly different styles of play.
A mark in the 50 was a rare sight in the second quarter for GWS, as deliveries were arriving many metres behind the heads of leading targets, leaving forwards Jeremy Cameron and Rory Lobb frustrated as they struggled to read the bombs and torpedos carried by the wind coming in their direction. The Giants broke a record for the most inside 50s for a quarter by any team ever with a figure of 29. The Giants disappointingly only had three majors for the quarter, which left the Kangaroos' door wide open for the rest of the game at halftime.
A gradually improved second half in kicking efficiency made the Giants have more shots on goal, but the goal post decided to interfere with another getaway for GWS with three shots hitting the post. Key sweepers and back flankers boosted the quality of forward entries with Nathan Wilson and Zac Williams becoming more involved with the ball and outrunning the fatigued Kangaroos. Wilson showcased his handy long kick with a goal from the square, showing everyone on the field how to use the Hobart conditions.
3. Josh Kelly
This contest between the Giants and Kangaroos was referred by broadcasters as the ‘Josh Kelly Cup', after seeing his name in the paper all week for contract talk. Kelly stood tall and challenged his opposition by gathering the most disposals on the ground and claiming the most tackles with seven.
2. Shane Mumford
Preuss and Goldstein rotated all day to keep fresh on Mummy, but they couldn't suppress this beast. Mummy brought the game and his team alive, he palmed the ball to his players and protected them heavily. The Giants' midfield loves this man. Take a bow, Shane Mumford.
1. Zac Williams
I thought Williams' kick and run were brilliant, disposing the ball at 82.6 percent. Williams distributed the ball more beautifully than any player on the field, and I feel he is taking over Heath Shaw as the go-to man out of defence. Williams is rapidly becoming a vital cog in this 2017 Greater Western Sydney line-up.
Overall, the GWS boys would be happy to have a win in Hobart and for co-captain Phil Davis' 100th game. Leon Cameron will have plenty to review for the week, he will have to tinker and make changes for future games as injuries have entered the camp. Solid performances in the NEAFL on the weekend has left the selection desk with headaches. The Giants are slowly tuning for a long campaign ahead. It's all positive, so far.
The Giants face Port Adelaide in Canberra on Saturday. The Power seems to be in decent form this season after defeating the Swans and Fremantle convincingly and narrowly losing to rival Adelaide. Port hate losing to the Crows and will want to forget it happened. A win on the road would hugely benefit their campaign to finals.