The Greater Western Sydney Giants have sealed a top four berth on the AFL ladder, thus ensuring a double chance in the 2017 finals series. The Giants won by 21 points over a determined West Coast Eagles outfit who seriously threatened to take the 4 points on offer. Josh Kelly was the Giants best with an outstanding club record breaking 43 disposals and 1 goal. With speculation over the future of Kelly at the club, the Giants are seeking to finalize a deal to keep the emerging midfield star. For West Coast goal ace Josh Kennedy kicked 4 majors, whilst retiring Brownlow medalist Matt Priddis picked up 31 touches and two goals.
The Eagles were competitive in the 1st quarter posting 3 goals to the Giants 2 and held a slender 6 point lead at the first break. Eagles defenders in Shannon Hurn, Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass were effective in pushing their opponents out of their comfort zone and forced the Giants forwards into errors. Brett Deledio was able to counter the close attention and was handy around the forward area booting two much needed goals.
Toby Greene like Deledio, was able to free himself from the Eagles defensive pressure and slotted two goals in the 2nd quarter. To West Coast’s credit they kept at the Giants and were able to go into the half time break only 7 points behind. Matt Priddis and Josh Kennedy kicked important goals. They were helped by the tackling efforts of their teammates. West Coast won the tackling count 59-48 and their efforts around the contest is what kept them in the game. In particular, Elliot Yeo, Sam Mitchell and Luke Shuey were getting plenty of touches in the midfield.
The third quarter saw West Coast pick up the tempo. They continued to stifle the Giants forward line and were able to cash in on their efforts via the scoreboard. Pridis and Kennedy each kicked a goal, with the Eagles keeping the GWS to a solitary goal. In a tight final quarter, thanks to the efforts of Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield and Callan Ward, The GWS boys were able to shut down the West Coast threat. They booted 4 goals to one and took out the game by 21 points. The victory ensuring the all important double chance.
Giants coach Leon Cameron was obviously impressed with Josh Kelly’s 43 possessions, which was a new club record beating Toby Greene’s effort of 42 against Collingwood in 2014. Cameron hinted that Kelly would be staying in Orange in the coming years “We understand where he’s at. He’s wanted by us, no doubt he wants to stay at our club”.
A bitterly disappointed Adam Simpson rued lost opportunities and the ability to maintain their lock down pressure on the GWS forward line. The loss has upset their finals aspirations a thing not lost on the Eagles coach “We came here to win, We knew what was on the line and we are disappointed we didn’t get the result, yeah disappointing”.
With the double chance secured, the Giants can focus on snagging a home final. They sit 2nd on the AFL table with 14 wins, 5 losses and two draws. They play Geelong away next Saturday. The winner claims the all important home final.
West Coast 9th on the ladder, (11 wins, 9 losses) now have to rely on other teams results to see if they will live to play in the September action. It doesn’t get any easier with a game against the top placed Adelaide Crows in Perth.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.1 7.4 8.6 12.9 (81)
WEST COAST 3.1 6.3 8.5 9.6 (60)
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 3, Deledio 2, Patton, Whitfield, Wilson, Shiel, Kelly, Mumford, Scully
West Coast: Kennedy 4, Priddis 2, Petrie, Cripps, Partington
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Wilson, Whitfield
West Coast: Priddis, Yeo, Kennedy
Greater Western Sydney: –
West Coast: –
Reports: = No reports
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Nathan Williamson, Shaun Ryan
Official crowd: 15,751 at the Sydney Showgrounds (Spotless Stadium)