The Giants come home to face the Gold Coast Suns in a rare, early round game at Spotless Stadium. Back in their own backyard, the players will be keen to make sure the team births their first win of the year after receiving a touch up from the Crows. Leon Cameron will have picked up the positive scraps of the game and pieced them together for a four-quarter effort against the Suns.
But what went wrong for the Giant’s last game? This is a team predicted by many to be a premiership contender and they were beaten convincingly on the scoreboard by 57 points; yes, the Giants loss of Mzungu didn't help rotations on a hot day in Adelaide and it certainly exposed their legs in the last quarter but the Giants lacked ball carry from their midfielders and constant defensive pressure in their forward half all day. Leon Cameron will need to make some personnel changes to its squad on Saturday after their sluggish start. ‘Maybe the Giants are just slow starters to the year; they did lose to Melbourne in the opening round of the 2016 season, thus last week’s result may not be indicative of the season ahead. Kudos to the Adelaide outfit last week, they carried the ball beautifully and their purple patch in the third quarter was beyond elite. No team could match that.
Last week the Giants had the first three set shots of the game and missed, losing a chance to silence the Crow supporters very early in the game. This week is a chance to redeem themselves and to apply heavy scoreboard pressure. In the comfort of Spotless Stadium and after the horrid first quarter the Suns played against Brisbane, expect the Giants to be capitalising on a fast start to the game. The likes of Lobb and Patton (The General) will need to lift and present to have an impact on the scoreboard tally. We don't want to see Greene being the main target for marking contests in the forward 50 this game (How good was his pack mark though!?). Giants lacked a need for speed last game, so don't be surprised to see Nathan Wilson be a straight inclusion for Mzungu. The defensive offence proved to be a weak point of the Giants game last week. The inclusion of Wilson will boost the team’s ball carry and provide a long range option off half back, therefore allowing fellow teammate Williams to push along the wing combining with Kelly and Scully to advance up the field.
The Gold Coast Suns will have looked upon the Adelaide clash and will try to imitate an attack similar to the Crows. Aaron Hall, Adam Saad, and Touk Miller all provide a vital run for the Suns and if the Giants don't take them seriously, they can damage like Adelaide's Cameron and Milera did last Sunday. Phil Davis should take on the Gold Coast captain Tom Lynch in an attempt to limit his scoreboard influence, but he will need help from Haynes and Shaw to intercept balls coming his way.
It's a big game for:
Shaw took his 2016 All-Australian form into the opening round against the Crows, releasing the ball 21 times by foot with an efficiency of 87%. The Giants will use his finesse to attack from the backline and hold the tempo when under pressure. Shaw loves Spotless Stadium with his best Champion Data rankings coming from this ground; he grabbed a massive 143 points against the Suns last time they visited. Expect a high influence on the result from Shaw.
The General was quiet last week and will be called upon by Leon Cameron to lift his presence on the field. He averaged over 3 goals in his final five matches of last year, which launched the Giants into a moderately successful finals campaign. Now Patton has set the bar high, the team will want to see his name on top of the goal scoring list more often.
The Giants will be pushing themselves this week. Selections are tight and one too many off performances by players may mean a stint in the NEAFL. When the Giants win at Spotless Stadium, they tend to win big and after a few tight losses late in the 2016 season at this venue, they will want to send a clear message to the competition that the Giants are undefeatable in Western Sydney in 2017. Expect to see them stomping on the Suns early and ensuring a big win.