The Greater Western Sydney Giants have posted another shocking loss this time to the Western Bulldogs going down at Giants Stadium by 61 points. Like last week in Canberra, the Giants failed to score a goal after half time and according to the statisticians, this is the first time it has happened since the days of the now defunct University team who left the (then) VFL competition in 1914. For the Western Bulldogs it was an impressive win which helps their cause in making the 2019 finals series. All they need to do to is “sink the putt” and beat the Adelaide Crows at their second home ground at Mars Stadium, Ballarat next Sunday and a finals berth is theirs.
The Dogs started the better of the two sides kicking 3 quick goals via Tory Dickson, Aaron Naughton and Josh Schache. Adam Kennedy was the Giants unlikely first goal scorer, as he snapped truly to finally get his team on the board. Lachlan Keeffe also kicked two goals for the Giants as they pulled themselves back into the game and only trailed by 10 points at the first break. The Dogs had played good pressure football and they cashed in on mistakes. GWS co-skipper Phil Davis made some uncharacteristic defensive errors with poor kicking and placement which the Bulldogs accepted with glee.
The second term was the most even of the quarters, with both sides playing some excellent football. The Giants were able to get their running game going and their forwards were able to post some scoreboard pressure. Likewise, the Bulldogs responded to the challenge the Giants presented to them and at the main break, the sides were only separated by a slender 3 point lead in favour of the Giants. GWS big man Dawson Simpson was doing a great job in the ruck with an excellent display of tap ruckwork. Toby Greene was the best of the Giants forwards, kicking two handy goals. Everyone expected the tight contest to continue once the players emerged from the extended break, however they were to be sadly disappointed as the Western Bulldogs came out and began a systematic demolition of Greater Western Sydney.
If Giants fans thought last weeks “Ice Bowl” game was the worst in terms of scoring, then they would think again as the Giants were held goalless for the next two quarters. It was a ruthless, tough Bulldogs side who were showing glimpses of their 2016 premiership side. The characteristic mini hand-passes and relentless pressure on their opponents were clearly on display. They also played a “sliding defense” which made the Giants struggle to gain any penetration into their forward zone. Marcus Bontempelli, Jason Johannisen, Josh Dunkley and Jack Macrae were the main architects of this strategy that completely shut the Giants down. Dogs defender Lewis Young was also superb picking up 17 disposals and taking 7 important backline clearing marks. The Bulldogs slammed on 12 unanswered goals that left the Giants fans dumbfounded. It was a stunning performance by the Western Bulldogs who’s momentum is not going unnoticed as many sides above them will not look forward to playing them in the upcoming finals series if they manage to make it. For the Greater Western Sydney Giants, they are an absolute rabble at the moment. They lack any sense of cohesion, they were forced into errors and had no solutions to the problems the Dogs were causing. The Western Bulldogs won by 61 points and in doing so moved into the top eight. The Giants can consider themselves fortunate, as they look likely to finish top 6, thus ensuring a home final.
Post game Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge acknowledged the importance of winning form prior to a possible finals berth “The boys have established some momentum in recent times and it’s been really impressive the way our players, our coaches, all of our staff who support them, have really applied themselves, persevered and now we’ve given ourselves a little bit of a look at it (a finals chance). Our challenge is to keep our heads in it and focus on our next opponent this week”.
Greater Western Coach Leon Cameron was obviously deflated with the sub-par effort from his side and subsequent fade out “For two and a half quarters we were really wrapt, considering we had a really bad game last week. Our kids were going well. We had a bit of a make-shift forward line there. We were moving the ball in a good manner, we were even with them in the contest. We were peppering the scoreboard and we didn’t get that fixed.Then the total opposite happened. We are disappointed, really disappointed”.
Thankfully the Giants 6th, (12 wins, 9 losses) face the Gold Coast 18th (3 wins, 18 losses) away, but nothing is a given in 2019 and if they were to lose, it would be a disaster in terms of morale and a possible loss of a home final. They must win that game. As coach Beveridge alluded to, the Western Bulldogs 8th, (11 wins, 10 losses) have to beat the Adelaide Crows 10th, (10 wins, 11 losses). The Dogs travel to their second home ground of Ballarat to play on Sunday with the prize of victory a final 8 berth.
GWS GIANTS 5.3 9.6 9.10 9.11 (65)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 7.1 9.3 14.9 19.12 (126)
GWS Giants: Greene 2, Himmelberg 2, Keeffe 2, Kennedy, Whitfield, Tomlinson
Western Bulldogs: Schache 3, Dale 2, Dickson 2, Dunkley 2, Lipinski 2, Naughton 2, Lloyd 2, Hunter, Richards, B.Smith, Duryea
GWS Giants: Simpson, Whitfield, Greene
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli,Macrae, Dunkley, Suckling, Johannisen
GWS Giants: Shane Mumford (illness) replaced by Dawson Simpson
Western Bulldogs: Tim English (illness) replaced by Lewis Young
Umpires: Leigh Fisher, Matt Stevic, Curtis Deboy
Official crowd: 10,139 at Giants Stadium, Homebush, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia