The Greater Western Sydney Giants have recorded a solid 44 point victory over St-Kilda in Canberra over the weekend. Jeremy Cameron booted 6 goals in a best on ground performance and boosted his lead in the Coleman medal. For St-Kilda it was a case of missed opportunities, squandering over 60 inside 50 metre entries for little or no gain. A crucial front of goal miss in the 3rd quarter by Matthew Parker would have had an up and running Saints team only behind by 10 points. Immediately after the miss, The Giants halted the surge and booted the next four goals to put the result beyond doubt. Zac Williams, Tim Taranto and Nick Haynes were the standouts for the Giants. Jack Steele, Sebastian Ross and Rowan Marshall were the best players for St-Kilda.
The big team news prior to the game were the surprise outs of Josh Kelly (abducter) and GWS co-skipper Phil Davis (ankle). Both trained well on Friday but in the eyes of the Giants medicos, they kept the pair in recovery mode. Greater Western Sydney got off to a blistering start booting 8 goals 2 behinds,making it their third highest 1st quarter score. Jeremy Cameron booted 2 for the term, whilst Jeremy Finlayson continued his excellent form up forward, including a text book crumbing goal as part of a double for the quarter. For St-Kilda it was a disappointing start as their 2019 intensity and contested ball numbers suggested they would be a tough opponent for this game. The Saints finally got their game together and lifted. Midfielders Jack Steele and Seb Ross began to work harder in the contest. They were backed up by ruckman Rowan Marshall who was proving the more effective despite his opponent in Shane Mumford gaining more hit outs (49 – 27). Marshall provided presence when the ball got to the Saints forward area. He kicked two goals for the game including a handy major prior to the half-time break.
After the main break, St-Kilda kept up the pressure and continued their fight for the ball. The Saints had stopped the Giants goal scoring and at around the 12 minute mark, cashed in with a goal from Blake Acres. Around ninety seconds later, St-Kilda had all the momentum and were threatening. The turning point of the game came down to a set shot from Matthew Parker. Parker was around 25 metres out, directly in front, kicking to the Mount Ainslie end. His kick moved to his left and struck the goal post, resulting in a behind. If he had kicked that goal, the margin would have only been ten points and with the Saints full of run, the game result might have ended differently.
The Giants managed to re-group and regain their hold on the game. Jeremy Cameron kicked the next two goals, which included a kick down field and then re-connecting with the ball after running hard into the forward zone and taking a courageous mark against the flight. Harry Himmelburg also put his hand up and kicked the next two goals and effectively ended any St-Kilda challenge.
The Giants continued to dominate in the fourth term. Tim Taranto opened the goal scoring, whilst Zac Williams and Nick Haynes were superb in the Giants defense. GWS half back flanker Aidan Corr hurt his ankle and had to be helped off the field. Earlier in the game Adam Kennedy copped an accidental knee to the head and was ruled out due to concussion. Despite the injuries, the Giants were not threatened and ran out comfortable 44 point winners.
Saints coach Alan Richardson thought his side could have done better with their opportunities “There were parts of our game that worked, clearly parts that didn’t work. We got a lot of opportunities, 62 entries, GWS had 42. So we were getting reasonable good field position. We weren’t able to finish our work”. Giants coach Leon Cameron was obviously upbeat about the win. “Our first quarter was the best quarter for us all year. Last two weeks our first quarters have been good. It’s always good to put scoreboard pressure on early”.
Next week the Greater Western Sydney (3rd, 5-2) head to the MCG to face Hawthorn (13th, 3-4) next Sunday afternoon. St-Kilda (8th, 4-3) return home to Melbourne to play West Coast Eagles (10th, 4-3) at the Docklands on Saturday night.
GWS GIANTS 8.2 9.4 13.6 18.6 (114)
ST KILDA 2.1 5.4 7.8 10.10 (70)
GWS Giants: Cameron 6,Greene 2, Himmelberg 2, Finlayson 2, Coniglio, Tomlinson, Reid, Taranto, Lloyd, de Boer
St Kilda: Kent 2, Marshall 2, Parker 2, Membrey, Marsh, Acres, Sinclair
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron, Taranto, Williams, Haynes, Reid
St Kilda: Steele, Ross, Marshall, Kent
Greater Western Sydney: Kennedy (concussion), Corr (ankle)
St Kilda: Webster (hand)
Umpires: Nicholas Brown, Jacob Mollison, Simon Meredith
Official crowd: 12,633 at UNSW / Manuka Oval, Griffith, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory