The seventeenth edition of the Battle of the Bridge local Sydney derby, has seen the Greater Western Sydney Giants winning in commanding style over the Sydney Swans by 41 points. The win catapulted the Giants back into the top four, whilst Sydney’s 2019 finals aspirations are all but over sitting at the lower end of the table with a miserly one win and five losses. Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper and Stephen Coniglio (4 goals) were superb in the midfield, whilst gun forward Toby Greene made a welcome return kicking 3 clutch goals along with full forward Jeremy Cameron and Daniel Lloyd. The few highlights for Sydney was the form of Luke Parker (2 goals) and a much improved effort from struggling forward Sam Reid who kicked 2 goals.
The much anticipated match up of Sydney franchise forward Lance Franklin and Giants co-captain Phil Davis didn’t eventuate as the pair were both withdrawn pre-game. Franklin was diagnosed on Friday with a minor hamstring strain with the Swans medicos deciding not to risk their champion. Phil Davis had not fully healed from last weeks ankle injury he copped in the final quarter last week in Canberra against Fremantle. The Giants saw the welcome inclusion of key forward Toby Greene and the experienced, reliable defender in Aidan Corr who hadn’t played an AFL game since July 2018.
The Giants start was positive, with Stephen Coniglio dominating with early possessions. In the middle and around the ground, ruckman Shane Mumford continued his good form, winning the majority of the hit outs and highlighted Sydney’s rucking deficiencies. Mumford easily won the hit out count against Callum Sinclair 55-28. On a positive note for Sydney Josh Kennedy was a tireless worker earning 32 possessions and making 6 tackles. Apart from Luke Parker and Zac Jones, Kennedy was let down by an ordinary Swans forward set up that couldn’t capitalize on the midfielders work.
Greater Western Sydney broke out to a lead of some 16 points at the first break. In the second quarter, the Giants moved further ahead and it looked like they would run away with the game. But thanks to improved forward work by Sam Reid, Isaac Heeney and Tom McCartin, Sydney were able to outscore the Giants 4.2 to 2.3 and were a respectable 5 points behind the Giants at the main break.
The Giants played a superb third quarter as they stamped their authority on the game. Their accurate kicking kept Sydney out of the contest, booting 6.2 to the Swans 3.3 for the term. The Giants were able to keep the ball in their forward 50 metre areas and were able to force the Swans defenders into making mistakes with their intense offensive pressure. The Giants continued their scoreboard pressure. Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Jeremy Cameron and Stephen Coniglio were incredibly accurate, kicking some skillfully taken goals at the Randwick end. The Swans had no answer and posted yet another home defeat, losing by 41 points.
Greater Western Sydney Giants coach Leon Cameron was satisfied with his team’s solid win over Sydney “The derby games are really hard to win especially at the SCG and we knew they threw everything at us. It was a cracking game of footy. We came out after half time and played probably our best quarter for the season.” In the Sydney sheds, John Longmire was happy in how his side fought out the game “The result and effort was a bit reflective of our season, we can do it for parts of the game and just not sustain it for four quarters.I was sitting their at half time thinking that the effort was outstanding.”
SYDNEY 3.1 7.3 10.6 12.7 (79)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 5.5 7.8 13.10 18.12 (120)
Sydney: Reid 2, Parker 2, Blakey 2, Dawson 2, McCartin, Heeney, Sinclair, Papley
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio 4, Cameron 3, Lloyd 3, Greene 3, Whitfield 2, De Boer, Taranto, Kelly
Sydney: Parker, Kennedy, Rampe, Jones, Reid
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Williams, Kelly, Taranto, Greene, Mumford
Sydney: Lance Franklin (minor hamstring) replaced by Ben Ronke
Greater Western Sydney: Phil Davis (ankle) replaced by Matt Buntine
Umpires: Dean Margetts, Ray “Razor” Chamberlain, Brent Wallace
Official crowd: 29,780 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia