Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, South Australia
If ever there was a game that new boys Greater Western Sydney were going to be fired up for it was this Round 19 clash with Port Adelaide. Not only was it a chance for former Power players Chad Cornes, Jonathan Giles and Dean Brogan to show their old team what they are made of, and for former coach Mark Williams to get back at the team that let him go, but it was the 1000th appearance at VFL and AFL level for legendary coach Kevin Sheedy. Having played at Richmond and coached at Essendon, Sheedy now holds the reins at the newest team in the League and becomes the first man in history to achieve this milestone.
After a very scrappy opening few minutes, it was the Giants who registered the first goal with number one draft pick and man mountain Jonathan Patton setting up Thomas Bugg for the major. This was followed by an undisciplined free kick being given away by Jackson Trengove, setting up Bugg for his second before the ball had even made it back to the middle of the ground for the recommencement of play. The Giants continued to dominate play for the next few minutes but were unable to make more of an impact on the scoreboard until Devon Smith kicked a great running goal from the boundary line.
Port coach Matthew Primus would have been pulling his hair out in the coaches box with some of the play he was seeing from his team. Kicking accuracy was almost non-existent at times and while the young GWS midfielders were taking charge in the middle of the ground, it was the big man Jonathan Giles - who used to be on the Power player list - who showed just how hard the Giants were working. After a strong defensive mark deep in defense started a GWS foray forward, it was once again Giles who was there to take the mark. His accurate kick moved the score to 28-0 in favor of the home side and the second win in their short history was looking like a real possibility. Bugg kicked his third for the quarter and it was only a goal after the quarter time siren from Jay Schulz that saved Port from a goalless first term.
The second quarter featured more of the same with Adam Treloar kicking an early goal to extend the GWS lead and, when the next two goals also went on to the Giants’ score, it looked like the game was done before half time. The third goal of the quarter seemed to wake up the Power however and goals to the in-form Paul Stewart, followed soon after by Brett Ebert and Justin Westhoff, at least gave Port a glimmer of hope as they went to half time trailing by 25 points.
Having been outplayed for the majority of the first half, Primus would have been urging his team to come out firing with a fast start in the second half. However, as has happened many times already this season, they simply didn’t respond. The young Giants again registered the first goal of the quarter with the best player on the ground, Giles, kicking truly to extend the lead. Port did finally step up with Hamish Hartlett showing his class with a great goal and when Andrew Moore and Schulz followed his lead it looked as though the GWS bubble may finally burst. Despite the Port Adelaide charge, the rest of the quarter featured some pretty ordinary football, with the Power dominating play but still unable to make up much ground on the scoreboard. When the siren blew to end the third quarter, it was the Giants holding the lead by two goals and looking like they might just be able to hold on for an historic victory.
From here on it was a tale of two teams – one taking control of the game and achieving a memorable victory for their coach in his milestone game and the other looking for answers to a terrible performance that would be the end of the road for their coach. Greater Western Sydney took charge of the game in the last quarter and kicked six goals to two to seal a tremendous win and take them off of the bottom of the ladder.
An emergency Board meeting was held at Port Adelaide on the day after the game and the decision was made that coach Primus was no longer required after the end of the season. When informed, he announced that he would step down immediately, leading to the promotion of Garry Hocking from assistant coach to head coach for the remaining four rounds.
Port Adelaide players will be looking to restore some pride from here on and will look for a much improved performance this week, although they will find it tough against the Hawks in Tasmania. The Giants on the other hand will take great momentum into their match against the Gold Coast Suns and will be hoping for back to back wins.
Scoreboard GWS: 5.4 8.6 10.9 16.11 (107) Port Adelaide: 1.2 4.5 8.9 10.13 (73) Best Players GWS: Giles, Ward, Coniglio, Smith, Treloar, Cameron, Greene Port Adelaide: K Cornes, Hartlett, Pearce, Boak, Brett Ebert
Article last changed on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:29 AM EDT