The Greater Western Sydney Giants are back in business with regards to their 2018 finals aspirations with a hard fought 2 point victory over league leaders Richmond. In a thrilling encounter the Giants fought tenaciously for the win with a stellar defensive and contested ball effort. Much of the heavy lifting was taken on by the Giants younger brigade in Tim Taranto, Sam Taylor and Zac Landon. The welcome returns of experienced Giants stars in Toby Greene and Adam Kennedy also made their mark. Dawson Simpson was superb in the ruck and continued his outstanding form winning the hit out count against Richmond’s Toby Nankervis 40-27. Richmond’s Daniel Rioli posted 3 goals, whilst Dustin Martin, Brandon Ellis and Kane Lambert were the Tiger’s best players.
It was a pulsating encounter at the Showgrounds, with the Giants beginning well. Dawson Simpson matched it with Toby Nankervis in the ruck, with Dylan Shiel, Stephen Coniglio, Callan Ward and Lachie Whitfield benefiting around the clearances. Ryan Griffin in particular showed some handy form in the early stages of the game and his work built a solid basis for the Giants in terms of scoreboard pressure. Josh Kelly was also influential. He booted a superb snap goal at the City end to open the Giants account. Richmond took some time to settle into the game. It wasn’t until the eight minute mark of the term before the Tiger’s posted their first goal thanks to Daniel Rioli.
Giants defender Adam Kennedy was playing his first senior game after as serious knee injury and was getting plenty of handy touches around the contest. He also used the ball well and was able to hit up with Stephen Coniglio who kicked a good goal from a set shot. The Giants defense also did a great job. Rhys Shaw, Phil Davis, Nick Haynes and Adam Tomlinson all contributed. They tackled continuously, applied excellent pressure on Richmond and forced them into kicking and handling errors.
The third quarter was one of the Giants best for the season. They kept the reigning premiers goalless and were able to score crucial goals when it mattered. Zac Langdon was absolute clutch in booting a goal towards the city end of the ground and Tim Taranto kicked truly, booting 2 vital goals. Phil Davis in defense minimized the effect Tiger spearhead Jack Riewoldt was having up forward.
The final quarter was gripping. Just when the Giants thought they had the match wrapped up, the Tigers kept coming. Richmond kicked 4 goals for the quarter, with Rioli and Nankervis scoring goals in under 5 minutes of football. GWS were settled by another clutch play this time from Toby Greene. Greene marked in a similar position to where Zac Langdon had kicked a set shot goal earlier to the Western end. With the pressure on and the game in the balance, Greene took careful aim, smoothly walked in and slotted the crucial goal that would ultimately seal the Giants victory. Richmond continued to play out the game, Jack Riewoldt snapped a goal with only seconds remaining, enough for the Tigers to possibly steal the game. The Giants resolve remained steady and were able to win the centre clearance, score a point and eat the clock up for a courageous 2 point win.
As the Giants left the field, former club ruckman and line coach Dean Brogan, was spotted by the Giants players as they headed up the race. Adam Tomlinson and Dylan Shiel shouted for “Broges” to join in on the mayhem which he did with a massive grin on his face. In the sheds, the “Never Surrender” club song was sung at it’s loudest, with Sam Taylor getting an absolute soaking via a steady shower of Gatorade. All of the players embraced in a bear hug of delight, understanding the significance of the win.
Post game Richmond coach Damien Hardwick didn’t seem too perturbed with the loss. He was disappointed at the wasteful shots on goal his team made and was at his jovial best when asked about the rather confusing umpiring decisions of the evening. Hardwick humorously stated that his team, may have to do some “ducking” practice during the week.The comment was aimed at a few contentious decisions made on head high tackles.
Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron was full of praise for his younger charges such as Sam Taylor, Zac Langdon and Tim Taranto. Cameron was also pleased with Dawson Simpson’s game and how the big man had responded after being well beaten the previous week by Eagles star in Nic Naitanui.
The celebrations and after match glow will quickly be forgotten for Greater Western Sydney (7th, 9 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw) as it’s back to business with another must win, tough away game against Port Adelaide (5th, 11 wins, 5 losses). The Power won’t be in any mood to give away four premiership points after a shock away loss to the struggling Fremantle. Richmond (1st, 12 wins, 4 losses) return home to face and in-from St-Kilda (15th, 4 wins, 11 losses, 1 draw)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.3 7.6 10.10 11.13 (79)
RICHMOND 2.3 6.10 6.15 10.17 (77)
Greater Western Sydney: Langdon 3, Kelly 2, Taranto 2, Greene 2, Griffen, Coniglio
Richmond: Rioli 3, Riewoldt 2, Caddy, Martin, Prestia, Nankervis, Short
Greater Western Sydney: Ward, Simpson, Coniglio, Whitfield, Shiel, Taranto, Langdon, Taylor,
Richmond: Martin, Lambert, Rioli, Grimes, Houli
Greater Western Sydney: –
Umpires: Robert Findlay, Brendan Hosking, Dean Margetts
Official crowd: 14,456 at the Sydney Showgrounds, Homebush, Sydney Australia (Spotless Stadium)