After drawing last week against St Kilda, Greater Western Sydney needed to hit back strongly against the winless Brisbane Lions, who themselves were coming off another close, but no cigar effort of their own. The Giants did the job and are on top of the ladder for now, but the 34-point win wasn’t a great advertisement for their 2018 credentials.
They were certainly a long way ahead of their opposition, at least after quarter-time. Stephen Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield, Dylan Shiel and the reborn Brett Deledio had far too much class and run for the Lions outside the contest, and that was where the game was mostly won.
Jonathon Patton hunts the footy for the Giants.
The other decisive factor was efficiency – more specifically, the Lions’ lack thereof, especially early in the game. The point has already been made that they could easily have won four of their first five games before this one. The Lions continue to be bold, playing attacking football, but they aren’t finishing, and therefore aren’t winning.
Not that there was a great deal more efficiency or indeed urgency about much of the Giants’ play for chunks of the game, and it would have frustrated coach Leon Cameron, particularly in the third term, which the Lions won with a three-goal burst, including a 65-metre bomb by Eric Hipwood to give them at least a sniff.
The Giants missed numerous simple shots of their own, and would have put the game away far sooner and more convincingly had they been fully switched on. Perhaps the best aspect of the win was the fully rounded game of Matt de Boer, who won the ball inside and out, tackled hard and kicked a goal.
Jeremy Cameron in the centre of the pack.
In the ruck, Jonathon Patton gave a fair account of himself around the ground in the absence of Rory Lobb and Dawson Simpson, but the Giants were annihilated in the ruck contests, with Stefan Martin and debutant Oscar McInerney accumulating 47 hit-outs to the Giants’ total of four. That’s not sustainable for a top-four aspirant.
There was a tiredness about the Lions in this game. Captain Dayne Beams, at least, looked much better and played easily his best game since the tragic loss of his father. But Dayne Zorko, so dominant last year, has a real problem: beaten badly by the Suns’ Touk Miller last week, he again barely registered.
The Lions started badly, with Tom Cutler giving away a silly free kick in the teeth of goal to Zac Langdon. Coniglio had squared the ball to him brilliantly, sustaining a nasty cork to the shin from Nick Robertson in the process, but he played on to finish as one of the Giants’ best.
The visitors then steadied and broke even for much of the rest of the quarter, except on the scoreboard, failing to convert from five opportunities, a couple of them very easy. Eventually Jeremy Cameron made them pay, strolling into an open goal, with Lewis Taylor and Beams missing chances to reply.
Deledio, continuing a rich vein of form, slotted another from close to the boundary on the run to give the Giants a 16-point lead, not reflective of the closeness of the contest to that point. The Lions were close to even for inside-50 entries and cracking in hard inside the contest, being beaten mainly on the spread.
Positives for the visitors was the continuing excellent form of Harris Andrews in defence, matched by Darcy Gardiner’s fine stopping job on Cameron. McInerney showed good signs as a mobile, athletic second ruck, and Zac Bailey, along with No. 1 pick Cam Rayner, looks to have a long career ahead of him.
GWS 3.4 6.9 8.11 10.17 (77)
BRISBANE LIONS 0.5 1.6 4.9 5.13 (43)
GWS: Langdon, Cameron, Deledio, Lloyd, Tomlinson, de Boer, Himmelberg, Hopper, Whitfield, Griffen
Brisbane Lions: Beams, McStay, Taylor, Hipwood, Cameron
GWS: de Boer Whitfield Coniglio Deledio Shiel Shaw.
Brisbane Lions: Beams Andrews Rich Robinson Gardiner Berry.
Nick Robertson (Brisbane Lions) for striking Harry Himmelberg
O’Gorman, Hay, Mollison
10,046 at Spotless Stadium
M de Boer (GWS) 8
L Whitfield (GWS) 8
S Coniglio (GWS) 7
B Deledio (GWS) 7
D Beams (BL) 7
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