It wasn’t the most entertaining game of football played between a side struggling to get their mojo into “orange tsunami mode” and an outfit that simply couldn’t dispose of the ball properly. The Greater Western Sydney Giants were unimpressive in their 34 point pedestrian win over a struggling Brisbane Lions at the Sydney Showgrounds on Saturday. Whilst the Giants returned to the winners list, they are a work in progress and their best football seems to be some distance away. Brisbane remain winless and appear to be progressing nowhere. Their ball disposal was poor and the forward / midfield attack lacked any threat to the Giants.
The few highlights in the game for the Giants were their 10 separate goal kickers each posting singles and the form of midfielder / forward Matt de Boer continues to surge. De Boer was best on ground with 35 disposals, 5 tackles and a goal. Lachie Whitfield was another standout for Greater Western Sydney. After a couple of quiet weeks, Whitfield had plenty of touches with 33 disposals, 5 tackles and a goal. Dylan Shiel, Stephen Coniglio and Brett Deledio were also amongst the best for the Giants.
Brisbane had few highlights, with the form of skipper Dayne Beams impressive. Beams collected 29 disposals and kicked one goal. His goal was an excellent long shot taken at the 50 metre arc which sailed through the goal posts. Daniel Rich made a welcome return to the Lions side after being missing since the opening round. His presence at the backline ensured that whilst his team wasn’t playing attractive football, it wasn’t going to allow a deluge of Giants goals. Rich had 28 disposals, including 4 marks. Mitch Robinson also toiled hard for his team picking up 28 disposals and laying 6 tackles. Brisbane’s Stefan Martin absolutely dominated a non-existent Giants ruck winning the hit out tally a whopping 47-4.
The Lions didn’t score a goal in the opening term and took until the 11 minute mark of the second quarter before Dayne Beams booted a long goal from the top of the 50 metre arc. Any foray into the Brisbane forward line was quickly repelled by the likes of Phil Davis, Heath Shaw and Adam Tomlinson. For Shaw’s part his current form is of concern. In the one on one contest, Shaw is hard to beat. Creeping into his game over recent months has been his below par ball disposal. There were several instances on the weekend where he was in the clear with no pressure yet managed to shank the kick on the full or not find a team mate. In a high pressure game with a skilled opposition, this needs to be corrected.
Another worrying sign for the Giants was the hit out count. Coach Leon Cameron chose to go into the game without a recognized ruckman. Stefan Martin for Brisbane dominated Jonothan Patton and Adam Tomlinson. Cameron whilst not pleased with the figure told the press post-game that the Giants ruck position was a week by week scenario and would act accordingly at the selection table. Despite the anomaly in the hit out count, the Giants controlled the packs and never let the Lions gain any traction. The game petered out seeing the Giants winning by 34 points.
Both coaches post-game weren’t that thrilled with their teams performances. Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron described the win as “ugly”, yet remained pleased that they had secured the four points. Lions coach Chris Fagan was resigned to the fact that his team are a work in progress. When asked about the efforts of Dayne Beams and Daniel Rich, he was glowing in his praise of both players. The Greater Western Sydney Giants, 3rd on the AFL Ladder (4 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss ) face a stiff task by playing Geelong (9th, 3 wins, 3 losses) next Friday at Kardinia Park. The Cats wont be in a benevolent mood after they were sensationally beaten by the Sydney Swans who simply outran them with a storming final quarter. The Brisbane Lions (17th 0 wins, 6 losses) face a vastly improved Collingwood (10th, 3 wins, 3 losses) side at the Gabba next Sunday afternoon.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.4 6.9 8.11 10.17 (77)
BRISBANE 0.5 1.6 4.9 5.13 (43)
Greater Western Sydney: Langdon, Cameron, Deledio, Lloyd, Tomlinson, de Boer, Himmelberg, Hopper, Whitfield, Griffen
Brisbane: D.Beams, McStay, Taylor, Hipwood, Zorko
Greater Western Sydney: De Boer, Whitfield, Deledio
Brisbane: D.Beams, Robinson, Rich, Martin
Greater Western Sydney: Corr (shoulder), Langdon (knee)
Brisbane: Berry (ankle)
Reports: Tom Robertson (Brisbane) for striking Himmelberg in the third quarter UPDATE: Robertson was found guilty and received a one match suspension
Umpires: Robert O’Gorman, Sam Hay, Jacob Mollison
Official crowd: 10,046 at the Sydney Showgrounds, Homebush (Spotless Stadium)