Newell’s Notes Second Semi Final Brisbane Lions vs Greater Western Sydney Giants

The greatest Giants win

I’ve been watching the Greater Western Sydney Giants as close to the interior as I possibly can since the beginning. I’ve seen some incredible highs and deep lows. The first ever win of four AFL premiership points over the Gold Coast Suns in 2012 was historic. Then their 2016 debut finals win over the Sydney Swans was jaw dropping in it’s brashness and toughness. The lows have been plenty to. The continual 100 point beltings, the painful 2016 prelim loss against the Western Bulldogs. The “deer in the headlights” prelim loss to a rampant Richmond in 2017 and last year’s disappointing semi final defeat to Collingwood at the MCG. Saturday night at the Gabba was pure, unadulterated bliss. The Gabba crowd were feral, they were hostile. The umpires torched the Giants big league to. It was like a Colosseum atmosphere that if the notorious Roman Emperor Nero was present, he would have happily turned thumbs down to the underdog. The Giants overcame adversity and closed out a big game. About time to, seen too many big games the Giants have folded. They played an experienced game, the Lions had plenty of chances, but the pressure got to them. They were unable to close the deal. It’s a fantastic achievement for a fledgling club, to be able to make 3 preliminary finals in 4 seasons. I was heavily down on this team after the “Snow Bowl” debacle in Canberra a few weeks ago. I don’t apologize for that stance as I wanted to see this team live up to it’s potential. Full kudos to ALL at the Giants. They have turned their season around and adjusted flawlessly. They’ll give this prelim against the Pies and their huge fanbase a massive shake I’m convinced of that after last Saturday.

Pray for Toby Hope he gets cleared to play in Saturday’s prelim. Photo: Jodie Newell

Greater Western Sydney Giants chairman Tony Shepherd says bring on the Pies

Giants boss Tony Shepherd was all smiles in the sheds, donned in a Giants scarf and lounge suit, Shep worked the room hugging each player and thanking them for their efforts.  The biggest hug was reserved for clutch goal scorer Brent Daniels. We spoke with Tony about the game and he implored all AFL fans in New South Wales and the folks in the ACT to get behind the Giants this Saturday. Always enjoy talking to Tony during key, historic moments in the Giants sheds

The Orange Army continues to grow.

Flying to the game on Saturday morning you could spot plenty of Giants hats, scarves and jackets at the airport. These fans are passionate about their club to. They made plenty of noise at the Gabba despite being outnumbered.It was lovely meeting and talking with Giants cheer squad members Glen, Clare and Sarah. They were supremely confident of a Giants victory and couldn’t wait to get to the game. Love meeting the fans and talking about the game and their favorite players

Giants fans Glen, Clare and Sarah at Sydney Airport on Saturday morning. Photo: Jodie Newell

ZERO excuses this time

There can be no excuses for the Greater Western Sydney Giants come Saturday against Collingwood. They have been to this place (preliminary final) twice before. Both games played in extraordinary circumstances. The first a home final was a nail biter, the second away prelim was an absolute blast furnace with 70,000+ rampant Richmond fans and a manic Tigers football team. Throw in last year’s semi loss at the MCG against Collingwood and the Giants know exactly what to expect. They MUST win this game with the current list of players they have, otherwise I cannot see them going any further into the future. Toby Greene plays or not, can’t be the reason if they lose. This group know how to step up. They proved it last Saturday night. After a horror August, sub-par performances and the like, this team has risen to the challenge. Harry Himmelburg had a quiet game last week and I hope he steps up because he played a blinder against Richmond in the 2017 prelim. It’s going to be absolute pandemonium atmosphere wise, with a huge Pies fan base. The weather forecast is pointing to rain, so that should even up things. The 1 percenters will play a massive part and making the best of your goal scoring opportunities will be vital. Josh Kelly indicated at the Giants open media day that the Lions semi was the perfect preparation for the team with regards to crowd noise and home town adversity. Kelly is slowly getting back to his best and should be cherry ripe on Saturday. This fixture presents such an exciting prospect with what’s at stake, a grand final berth against either Richmond or Geelong and boy, the payback would be ultra sweet if the Giants were to play the Tigers in the grand final and win the flag. It would be a tremendous result.

Heartbreak THAT 2016 home prelim loss. Photo: Jodie Newell

Monstered The Giants were crushed by a rampant Tigers side in the 2017 prelim. Photo: Jodie Newell

The solemn scenes in the Giants sheds last year after the 2018 Pies semi final defeat. Photo: Jodie Newell

There is nothing wrong with The Mummy

Don’t doubt me on this folks, there was nothing wrong with Shane Mumford’s game on Saturday night against the Lions. All of the pundits like David King and Mark Robinson are talking about the high free kicks against stat which is real if you take it on face value, but we beg to differ on that number. The umpires were terrible on Saturday night, and some of the decisions awarded against Shane were ultra technical and soft. Even Shane himself is starting to believe it. I quipped to him at the Giants open media day that he had played a great game on Saturday night, to which he kind of rebuffed. Here’s my reasons why I dissent. He had more hit outs against his opponent by one in Stefan Martin. The Lions easily won the hit out count, but Mumford didn’t do all of the rucking. Shane laid 9 tackles and in a tight, close pressure game, that was pure gold. Lastly, I cite the long Zac Williams goal that was set up by a slick, sneaky handpass from Mumford at the top of the 50 metre arc to a running Williams. What was the score difference at the end? 3 points? That Mumford play made ALL of the difference. So give me a break when I hear those hand-wringers parrot on about the so-called “Mumford free-kick” problem. It’s manufactured click bait!.

Nothing wrong with Shane Mumford’s game. A crucial handpass to Zac Williams made a big difference. Photo: Jodie Newell

Loved Lloydos work

Daniel Lloyd also played his part in the thrilling win by the Giants on Saturday night. His numbers weren’t huge, but again it’s what he did do that mattered. His key play was the Giant’s 4th goal in the first quarter. Taken from near the 50 metre arc, his long kick snuck through and like Shane Mumford’s play and Brent Daniels clutch goal, it was a major deciding factor towards the win. He made a couple of handling errors, but he buttered up with some excellent touches and marks. Daniel has only played 37 games and 31 career goals which is very close to one goal a game. Lloyd is a very handy acquisition up front and he’s tough to, just what you need in a pressure finals scenario. Was great to speak with him after the mayhem in the Giants sheds last Saturday

Tim Taranto & Jeremy Finlayson pre-game at the Gabba. Photo: Jodie Newell

Finally a Flag for Luffy

The great things about finals football is that it isn’t confined to the big show of the AFL. I know I find myself throughout the season googling about other footy leagues around Australia and then seeing who won this year’s flag. One result that I found out about over the weekend involved former Sydney Swans defender Troy Luff. Luffy is a regular fixture in the AFL NSW media boxes of the Sydney Swans & Greater Western Sydney Giants in his capacity as special comments guy for Triple M radio in Sydney. He’s much loved and respected in the industry and I always ask him about his footy.Hailing from Traralgon in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, Troy has played in several losing grand finals including the 1996 AFL Grand Final in which he kicked 2 goals and was one of Sydney’s best players on the day. Well, over the weekend in the Sydney AFL competition, the University of New South Wales & Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs football club won the Division 2 premiership on Sunday defeating the St George Dragons by 8 pts.  (UNSW-ES 8.12.60 def St-George 8.4.52) Wearing his trademark 34 jersey Troy kicked 2 goals in his debut flag win. Bloody great news about a top bloke. Good on you Luffy couldn’t have happened to a nicer fellow. Congratulations to all at your club.

Sweet Success. Finally a flag for former Sydney Swans defender Troy Luff. (Photo supplied)


About the Author

Jodie Newell
Love reporting on sports, politics, history and music