GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.5 8.7 11.10 16.16 (112)
PORT ADELAIDE 4.2 8.8 11.14 11.15 (81)
Greater Western Sydney emerged victorious over Port Adelaide after a neck and neck game up until the final quarter. The Giants out gutted the Power in run and composure at game's end and now find themselves in the top four where they will hopefully sit for the remainder of the year.
Shutting Down The Power
Port Adelaide travelled to Canberra without their primary ruckman Patrick Ryder which made me doubt the Power's ability to join the dots across the field. Instead, they rebounded strongly and punished every Giant turnover from half-back. The return of Jasper Pittard strengthened the run and carry of the Port back six with Dan Houston and Matthew Broadbent finding themselves part of a more aggressive style of ball movement, unleashing their abilities. Eventually, the Power crumbled in defensive 50, with the GWS forwards causing too much of a headache by applying relentless pressure and tiring Port's running rebound.
Travis Boak provided a couple of captain-like goals throughout the game to remind his teammates the hunt was still on. Brad Ebert and Ollie Wines were among Port's best but were both restricted access to the ball for lengthy periods of the game which limited the Power's midfield influence for the full four quarters.
The Last Quarter
The Giants are proving to be one of the fittest teams in the competition (as they should), having knocked over North Melbourne and now Port Adelaide easily in fourth quarter massacres. The Giants have averaged 35 points this season in last quarters, and that's including a sound three-goal quarter against the Crows in Round 1. The midfield runners, Callan Ward, Dylan Shiel, Tom Scully, and Josh Kelly, tire the opposition's defensive set up after continuously running through presses and kicking clear of their opponents, allowing the Giants' tall men to finish off the job in the forward 50. Wondering why Jeremy Cameron is in terrific form? Fitness is paying off across the field.
In his 100th game for the Giants, Tom Scully certainly put on a clinic. I would love to see his GPS results after this game, and I would not be surprised to see Scully surpass 20km in this game. Scully was everywhere! He generated run starting from deep in the backline and carried the Giants out of trouble on many occasions. Scully claimed match-high figures of six inside 50's and seven clearances finishing the game with 32 possessions at a disposal efficiency of 91 percent (that's not a typo), which are rare numbers for a midfielder in today's football. Bravo Tom Scully! The statisticians loved rolling out his numbers after the game, that's for sure.
The General arrived in Canberra giving the crowd and gave his teammates plenty of excitement and a reason to cheer (ask Heath Shaw). Jonathan Patton kicked six goals straight and made the Port Power defence look small. Patton didn't look like a man returning from a hip injury or reserve league football: he was smashing packs, out-muscling opponents one-on-one and even roving footballs and snapping goals. Leon Cameron praised Patton's efforts after the game:
"There's still a way to go but his attack on the ball in the first five minutes was exactly what we need, and then he became a focal point and used his marking strength."
"He's made some significant ground off the back of some injuries, but there's so much more improvement in him".
The General will soon be peaking in his football career, at the age of 23 and with him sitting in the GWS goal square, surely only good times are to come for Jonathan Patton.
Nick Haynes recorded his highest ever disposal count (27). When Heath Shaw came off the field, Haynes really took over the defensive 50 and was having a huge influence on the Giants rebound. Coaches were forced to place Shaw on the forward flank when he returned, not to damage Haynes impact. With Matt Buntine out for the remainder of the year, strong performances by Haynes will contribute greatly to a successful 2017 Giants campaign.
3. Jonathan Patton
2. Tom Scully
1. Toby Greene
It's the biggest game of the home and away season for the Giants, as they take on cross-town rivals Sydney. The Swans will be keen to redeem themselves from the Qualifying Final loss late last year and will want to get back on the winning side of the table. The Giants will love this contest, as a chance to deny the Swans their first win would make the Giants start looking like the bigger brother.