Greater Western Sydney has ticked another box in its development as an AFL powerhouse. The Giants staged a gutsy comeback against Port Adelaide in blustery conditions at Adelaide Oval on Sunday afternoon. Trailing by 20 points at half time against a Port team desperate to win and still hoping to reach the finals; the Giants showed great determination to take control of the game and run out 19 point victors. The Giants vaulted themselves into second place on the AFL ladder.
The trying conditions made for an arm wrestle early, the slippery ball proving tough to control for both teams. It was Port who drew first blood after a rugged 18 minutes of play, with a free kick to Robbie Gray and gifting the Power the start they needed. Gray, Brad Ebert and Travis Boak were instrumental in keeping the ball moving forward for the Power. The Giants were uncharacteristically impotent when going forward despite a bevy of talent at their disposal. At quarter time, Port led by 12 points as the Giants failed to register a goal.
The Giants finally managed a goal through Toby Greene at the 10 minute mark of the second quarter, prompting Port coach Ken Hinkley to send extra players in defense – a tactic that stifled the Giants creative flair going forward. Every time the Giants scored and looked to be gaining control, the Power fought back. The icing on the cake was a crucial 50 meter penalty paid to Ebert right on half time that stretched the Power lead to 20 points at the main break.
It was hard to imagine how the Giants could come back from a three goal deficit in such trying conditions, but the third quarter would show us exactly what this team is made of. The hard working midfield of Dylan Shiel, Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio started to reap the benefits of some strong ruck work from the big-bodied Shane Mumford. The Giants kept grinding and eventually their skill level started to match their desire. In the space of 10 minutes Greater Western Sydney played by far the most impressive football for the game, kicking four unanswered goals as they ran riot up forward. Port fans sat in stunned silence as the visitors wrested a six point lead at the final break, with plenty for both teams to play for in a desperate final term.
Within the first minute of the final quarter, young gun Jeremy Cameron bobbed up for another Giants goal as Port failed to curtail the classy Giants midfield. Cameron and Patton were finding a way to be effective big men in conditions ideally suited to much smaller players, while their opposite numbers in John Butcher and Jay Schulz failed to have any impact for the Power. The Giants controlled the final quarter as they had the third, completing possibly their finest win of the season given the halftime deficit, the hostile crowd, and the trying conditions encountered at Adelaide Oval.
For Port, the loss almost finishes any chance of a finals berth, a bitter pill for the home fans who endured arctic style conditions all day. Next up, Port flies to Brisbane to take on the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba [Woolongabba Cricket Ground), while the Giants face a struggling Richmond at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Scoreboard: Port Adelaide 2.2 6.3 7.5 9.6 (60) Greater Western Sydney 0.2 2.7 7.11 11.13 (79) Best Players: Port Adelaide: Ebert, Robbie Gray, Pittard, Boak Greater Western Sydney: Scully, Shaw, Mumford, Coniglio, Shiel, Kelly, Cameron
Article last changed on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 11:30 AM EDT