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Stories related to the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL club.

Collingwood Delistings and Free Agents Moves

Flynn tackled (Dave Woodley/AFANA)

Collingwood delisted Trey Ruscoe, Trent Bianco, Tom Wilson, Arlo Draper, and Cooper Murley. Sydney picked up unrestricted free agent James Jordon and West Coast added unrestricted free agent Matt Flynn.

Ruckman Flynn has joined West Coast from Greater Western Sydney. Flynn, 26, was drafted by GWS in 2015 and played 33 games. The Eagles believe will add size with the retirement of Nic Naitanui. List manager Rohan O'Brien said, “We prioritized adding to our ruck stocks this off-season so we’re really pleased Matt decided to join the club ... Matt has spent eight seasons in the AFL system and is physically mature so we expect he can come in and make an impact.”

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Magpies Hold Off Gallant Giants for Grand Final Date

Collingwood banner (Densham/AFANA)

Greater Western Sydney captain Toby Greene won the toss and kicked to the Punt Rd end. With the pinnacle of his footy career in his mind, the Preliminary final against Richmond in 2018, American Mason Cox started in the ruck and won the first hit out. His teammate McStay drew two huge cheers from the predominantly Collingwood crowd first when he marked and then when he connected for a goal from 30 meters out. Jack Crisp doubled the score with a quick kick off a step and off the outside of the boot to kick the Magpies second goal. The nearly 98,000 in the crowd (almost all Magpie fans) were ecstatic.

Now the Giants had their turn when Irishman Callum Brown was put in range with a 50 meter penalty but a poor kick off the boot went wide to give the Giants their first but single point. McStay came from the back of the pack to somehow lead to the ball and marked strongly 20 meters but missed the shot on goal. Mihocek added another point for the Pies behind before quarter time, while Riccardi and Daniels added singles for the Giants. 

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Hogan's Heroes Shut Off the Power

Hogan Goals (file photo/AFANA)

The Greater Western Sydney Giants have booked a preliminary final appearance after a masterful display of fast football at Adelaide Oval on Saturday evening. The crowd was left stunned as Port Adelaide had no answers to the Giants clinical ball movement and midfield dominance. Veteran Giants forward Jesse Hogan was magnificent booting four goals along with his nine marks and 17 disposals on the night. Lachie Whitfield (33 disposals) and Stephen Coniglio (30 disposals) were unstoppable for the Giants, Coniglio racking up an unbelievable 13 score involvements for the match. 

Willie Rioli had two early goals on the board for Port, only to see his efforts matched by Giants superstar Toby Greene. The scoreboard showed just a three-point lead to GWS at quarter time, but the statistics suggested unless Port could turn around a clearance dominance by the Giants then things would turn ugly for the home crowd. That is exactly what happened. 

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The Sounds of Elimination Drum Saints Out of Finals

Finals Warning (Kim Densham/AFANA)

An overcast spring day greeted the 68,465 supporters at the MCG. The Saints started the first quarter strong with an early mark at top of the goal square by Sharman and he made no mistake with the simple set shot. GWS were quick to respond with an entry to the forward 50. Hard running from Toby Greene saw them rewarded with a goal when he ran onto the ball just outside the goal square. A long ball inside 50 almost saw King with an easy roller off the ground for a goal, but the ball trickled away from his boot. Marshall had better luck though when he added the Saints second goal, able to mark the ball at the top of the square. 

GWS again responded, this time through Hogan who marked in the pack seven meters out from goal. His kick around the corner was a goal.  The Giants took the lead for the first time in the game when Toby Bedford kicked long and straight from 49 meters out. His goal was the first kicked for the day from any significant distance. Callum Brown and Daniels added goals to put the Giants three goal up just before quarter time. Sharman could have ended the quarter as he began it with a goal but his kick from the pocket went wide of the big sticks resulting in a behind to the Saints.

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Two Giants Say Time's Up

Davis Leads GWS (file photo)

Just ahead of Round 23, GWS forward Daniel Lloyd and defender Phil Davis announced their retirements. Lloyd, 31, will see out the season. Lloyd was on a NSW scholarship with the Western Bulldogs but gave it up to return to Killamey in Queensland. He was working as a carpenter and playing for a local club in the Black Diamond League when he was spotted by fellow Queenslander and former Bomber Mark McVeigh. Lloyd, 23 at the time, tried out for the Giants and was signed ahead of the 2016 season. Through Round 23, he has 98 games to his name.

In making the announcement, Lloyd said, “I’ve known for quite some time now ... It’s the right time ... I’m so grateful for what this club has given me. It’s provided me with an environment to not only become a better footballer but more importantly, to become a better person, a better husband and father. It’s given me skills and values that will no doubt help me in the future, relationships that will last a lifetime, and I think what I’m most grateful for are the memories - The ones I’ve created with all of you here and the ones I’ve been able to share with my but wife, kids and family ... My teammates – I'm going to miss you the most ... The bonds and friendships I’ve made with you all will be what I cherish the most ...". He went on to say he never wanted any accolades or credit but rather just be a selfless player his teammates could trust and one who always put the team first.

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GWS Appoints Adam Kingsley

The day after Round 23 concluded, GWS confirmed former Port Adelaide premiership player and current Richmond assistant coach Adam Kingsley as their new senior coach. It is believed he has signed a three year deal. Kingsley was one of the leading contenders along with Melbourne assistant Adem Yze and Giants interim Mark McVeigh. McVeigh took over when Leon Cameron stepped down earlier in the season.

Kingsley believes the club has what it needs to be successful, “It’s a privilege and an honor to be the next senior coach ... I’ve been clear in my aspirations to become a senior coach and over the last 16 years I’ve continued to learn and develop to the point now where I’m absolutely ready to take the next step ... This is a club which has built a strong culture from the ground up in just a few short years. In just 11 years the Giants have made multiple preliminary finals, and a Grand Final, and while the ultimate success has eluded the club, it’s clear the building blocks are in place. It's clear the players, staff, members and fans are hungry for success ... I believe in this club and what we can achieve together.”

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Kennedy, McEvoy, de Boer are Going, Going, Gone

McEvoy vs Essendon (file photo)

Three more veteran players joined this year's group of retired players. Matt de Boer, Ben McEvoy, and Sydney's Josh Kennedy. Just ahead of Round 22, GWS midfielder Matt de Boer, 32, announced his immediate retirement due to the lingering effects of a concussion he suffered in mid-June. He ends his career on 223 games, 138 of which were played for the Dockers before he joined GWS. It was at GWS he cemented his reputation as one of the game's most effective taggers. He was a crucial part of the teams that made it to the finals, including the 2019 Grand Final loss to Richmond.

In making the announcement, de Boer said, The Giants ... and its people is truly a special place ... “My heart is unequivocally full of gratitude and love for the friendships, memories and opportunities that playing in the AFL has availed me. “I’d particularly like to thank Leon Cameron for believing in me and challenging me always to be the best version of myself. I’d also like to thank the Fremantle Dockers for first recruiting me...".

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Leon Cameron Steps Down

Leon Cameron

Round nine was Leon Cameron's last as coach of Greater Western Sydney after almost a decade in charge. Assistant coach Mark McVeigh will take over for the remainder of the season. Cameron and the club had put contract talks on hold, but after a number of discussions, the parting of ways was mutual and amicable. He made the announcement to the playing group on the Thursday before round nine. Although the Giants have gotten off to a rocky start this season (2 wins, seven losses) Cameron did have some success taking the club into preliminary finals in 2016 and 2017, and into a Grand final in 2019. His record is 87 wins, 71 losses and three tied games.

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Speedy Dockers Slay Giants

Logue outmarks Hogan

The Fremantle Dockers finished full of running to defeat the GWS Giants in a game that pulsated for three quarters. The Dockers relied on pace to sweep the ball into attack with quick transitions from defense. The Giants played a more traditional game of kicking long to their two tall forwards Harry Himmelberg and Jesse Hogan. The Giants kept themselves in the game with accurate kicking for goal, while the Dockers wasted early opportunities by either kicking behinds (worth a point each) or kicking the ball out of bounds when shooting for goal.  

In the first quarter the Docker defenders Griffin Logue and Brennan Cox concentrated on punching the ball out of the hands of the tall Giant forwards. The small Giant forwards Bobby Hill and Stephen Coniglio were outpaced and out positioned by the Dockers’ pacy James Aish and Heath Chapman, with Jordan Clark providing the Dockers additional run through the middle of the ground. The Giants used Lachie Ash to shadow the Dockers’ playmaker Andrew Brayshaw. This kept Brayshaw relatively quiet in the first half, but also robbed the Giants of a creative attacker as Ash was played defensively and center man Callan Ward did not have the sped to go with Clark. Former Gold Coast player, Will Brodie escaped attention and played his best game for the Dockers and their acting captain, David Mundy, got better as the game progressed.

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Sheppard and Townsend Retire

Sheppard Tackled

In early December West Coast running defender Brad Sheppard and Suns defender Jacob Townsend announced their retirements just a few days apart. Sheppard, 30, was forced to retire due to ongoing concussion issues. He suffered several head knocks late in the season, the last coming in round 22. The Eagles believed he could still play but gave him time to decide. He sought medical advice over concerns about his future health and opted to retire.

Sheppard was drafted in 2009 and played 216 games. He was named All-Australian in 2015 and won the best clubman award in 2020. He was also a key member of the 2018 premiership side. Coach Adam Simpson said, "His career speaks for itself, over 200 games, it's just really sad that it finishes this way. He still had plenty of good footy left. He retires as a man with universal respect at every level of the football club ... ".

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