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.
Willem Drew had the fans in raptures when his early second quarter snap had the Power in front, but from then on it was one-way traffic. A twenty minute burst of sensational ball use and pinpoint accuracy from the Giants saw the "Orange Tsunami" in full effect. If not for some wayward kicking in front of goal by the Giants late in the quarter the game would have been all but over at halftime. The five goal, seven behinds to only one behind stanza silenced the crowd as Port players struggled to get their hands on the ball.
The third quarter saw an unusually quiet Zac Butters find some form as Willie Rioli bobbed up again to kick his third and breathe some life into the contest. After Jesse Hogan steadied the Giants ship with his fourth goal of the evening, the Port forwards finally worked into the game with goals from Ollie Lord and Todd Marshall. The crowd were sensing a Port comeback as the margin was reduced to under three goals, but a bad miss from Lord opened the gate for the rampaging Stephen Coniglio to hit back with a goal for the Giants to restore a 25 point lead at the final break.
Dominant ruckman Keiran Briggs started to struggle with a shoulder injury for the Giants, opening the door for the Power to finally gain some ground in the clearance game. Just a minute into the final term, Charlie Dixon finally stuck a mark and duly converted to once again bring the margin back to a more manageable 19 points. With a rabid crowd behind their backs, Port started a surge of their own peppering shots on goal - unfortunately for them, three misses on the trot would ultimately seal their undoing. Jake Ricciardi put the knife through the hearts of the Power faithful with a gun barrel straight goal from just inside the boundary and the contest was all but over.
Rewind back to round 15 and a check of the ladder would have shown the Giants sitting in 15th position. Yet they are just one stop from the Grand Final, playing some of the most entertaining football seen all season. They have booked a date with all-conquering Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground next week. First year coach Adam Kingsley will have no fear as his charges prepare for next week's huge challenge. Kingsley, straight out of the Richmond assistant coach factory, has seen how underdog teams can take down the favorites at the business end of the season. The "Big Big Sound from the West of the Town" will certainly give Collingwood coach Craig Macrae, also an ex-Richmond assistant, plenty to think about ahead of next week's clash.
PORT ADELAIDE: 4.1 5.6 8.7 9.16 (70) GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY: 4.4 9.11 11.15 13.15 (93) GOALS Port Adelaide: Rioli 3, Marshall 2, Horne-Francis, Drew, Lord, Dixon Greater Western Sydney: Hogan 4, Greene 3, Coniglio 2, Daniels, Kelly, Cumming, Riccardi BEST on Ground Port Adelaide: Horne-Francis, Houston, Rioli, Butters, Boak Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Ward, Briggs, Hogan, Bedford, Whitfield
Article last changed on Sunday, September 17, 2023 - 1:48 PM EDT