A sell-out crowd of almost 14,000 saw the Greater Western Sydney Giants overcome finals favorites Geelong in a stirring performance that signals their arrival as a team to be reckoned with. The fact that the Giants did it with ex-Cat Stevie Johnson kicking two important goals made it all the more memorable for the fledgling club.
The game looked to be going the way pundits expected early with Geelong – fresh off defeating the reigning Premiers in Hawthorn – controlling play at both ends of the ground, however their finishing let them down as they managed just 1.5 from multiple attempts on goal in the first quarter.
The Giants made Geelong pay as they started to dominate the clearances and contested ball in the second quarter, piling on six goals to hold a handy 15-point half-time lead. Shane Mumford in the ruck was looking back to his best as he forced his way through multiple center clearances, at one stage steamrolling Geelong midfielder Mitch Duncan that would have taken many Aussie Rules pundits back to the physical contests of the 1970’s.
There were some nervous moments for the Greater Western Sydney faithful as Geelong powered home with five straight goals – including an amazing off-the-ground effort that any American Football placekicker would have been proud of - to reduce the margin to just five points with time ticking down. The Cats could not complete the comeback victory however as the prolific Ryan Griffen sealed a win for the books as his Giants ran out 13 point winners. It was a result that speaks to the closeness of the AFL competition, sending a warning that top teams cannot be complacent as the gap between the league’s best and worst has narrowed considerably.
The Giants (1-1) face their crosstown rivals the Sydney Swans (2-0) next week for New South Wales bragging rights, while the Cats (1-1) should bounce back with their first game of the season at Skilled Stadium against a battered and bruised Brisbane Lions (0-2).
Scoreboard: Greater Western Sydney 2.1 8.4 12.8 13.11 (89) Geelong 1.5 5.7 8.8 11.10 (76) Best Players: Greater Western Sydney: Griffen, Scully, Mumford, Johnson, Greene Geelong: Hawkins, Blicavs, Mackie, Enright, Guthrie
Article last changed on Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 1:50 PM EDT