Jezza booted 7 goals, Dusty was grumpy, The Mummy returned and the Kelly Gang was back in town. In the end the Giants out-muscled Richmond by 49 points. It was a tough, physical encounter with the ball fiercely contested. Despite the winning margin the result wasn’t guaranteed until the final few minutes where Greater Western Sydney added some “junk goals”.
Jeremy Finlayson had a day out with a superb cameo booting five goals. Lachie Whitfield was outstanding picking up 42 disposals, whilst the long awaited return of Josh Kelly and Shane Mumford didn’t disappoint. In an ominous start, Mumford won the first tap and Kelly the first free kick which was part of a scoring chain that saw Jeremy Cameron kick the first goal of the game.
The game was played in warm, summer like conditions which hovered around the 29˚mark. Both teams applied themselves with an intense physicality. A good example of the intensity was a collision between Phil Davis and Richmond’s Daniel Rioli that occurred on a half forward flank. The larger Davis slammed into Rioli‘s lower rib cage area as they fiercely contested the ball. Both players were slow to get up, with Rioli looking badly hurt, however the kid regained his composure and got back into game mode.
There was also a bit of feeling between the sides. Dustin Martin has in recent times played some pretty average football compared to his stellar 2017 season. He wasn’t in the best of moods on Saturday with Matt DeBoer given a tagging role on Martin. De Boer definitely got into Dusty’s head who struggled to gain any momentum. The rattled Martin exchanged pleasantries with Shane Mumford after an incident which saw a Giants player cop a high knock. Martin gestured with the action of snorting which was an obvious reference to Mumford and the infamous alleged cocaine usage video that went viral earlier this year.
For all of Martin’s theatrics and to Richmond’s credit they did keep pace with the Giants but were unable to sustain any scoreboard momentum. The Tigers also lost Trent Cotchin with a hamstring injury, whilst Jayden Short was also benched with a dislocated elbow. It was a pretty brave effort by Richmond considering the heat and intensity of the game.
The Giants played excellent football to gain the four premiership points. The classic “orange tsunami” was back in force with Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper and Stephen Coniglio linking up and rolling the ball through the centre. Whitfield was superb chalking up an incredible 42 touches and helped set up a number of goals.
In the Giants defensive zones Phil Davis had his hands full with new Tigers recruit Tom Lynch. Lynch proved to be effective target up forward. He booted 4 goals and looks to be a handy replacement for the injured Jack Riewoldt. Adam Kennedy continues to look in superb touch from the half back flank area. He repelled many Tiger attacks and fed the Giants offence. Zac Williams pared up beautifully with Kennedy and did likewise, smothering Richmond’s attack and then bursting forward.
In the ruck, Mumford didn’t miss a beat. His ominous physical presence was a welcome return. He was able to land several punishing tackles on his Tiger opponents, all fair, but extremely tough.
Jeremy Cameron’s intentions were clear early on, when he flew high for several marks. His seven goals were a flashback to his early years where he gained several bagfuls of goals. Cameron played a tough game, he coped a blow to his right, arm but managed to play though it. Jeremy Finlayson capped off the Giants forward efficincy by booted 5 goals. At one point he set up a hat tick of successive goals and it was a very handy cameo for a player who is normally seen in defense.
Tim Taranto returned to good form after an indifferent game in Perth last week. Jacob Hopper continued his quiet growth into an impacting midfielder. He picked up 29 disposals and kicked 2 goals.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was positive about his team’s game despite the loss and margin “I thought we hung tough for a period of time, probably our cleanliness stood out. Our’s wasn’t to the level that we’d have liked and we got punished on the scoreboard going back the other way. I thought our effort was pretty good throughout the night, just their (the Giants) power in the end overwhelmed us”.
Leon Cameron was impressed with how his team stood up against a strong Richmond opponent “They, Richmond are really hard to play against. They hit hard, they tackle hard, they pressure hard and trying to get flow in the game is really interesting.But there was a good finish in the last quarter and it’s really good to walk away from a good, hard game from both teams”.
Round 4 for the Giants 2-1 (4th on the AFL Ladder) sees them traveling to Kardinia Park to face an undefeated, top of the table, red-hot Geelong 1st (3-0) side next Saturday afternoon. Richmond 14th, (1-2) head away to South Australia to play Port Adelaide 8th (2-1) next Saturday afternoon.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.4 8.7 13.10 19.11 (125)
RICHMOND 3.6 5.10 9.14 10.16 (76)
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 7, Finlayson 5, Taranto 2, Hopper 2, Kelly, Daniels, Himmelberg
Richmond: Lynch 4, Rioli 3, Stack, Lambert, Higgins
Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield, Cameron, de Boer, Finlayson
Richmond: Lambert, Lynch, Stack, Vlastuin
Greater Western Sydney: Sheridan (calf)
Richmond: Short (elbow), Rioli (ribs), Cotchin (hamstring)
Umpires: Shane McInerney, Nathan Williamson, Brent Wallace
Official crowd: 12,697 at Giants Stadium, Homebush, Sydney Australia.