The Greater Western Sydney Giants continue to send shivers up the collective spine of every other team in the AFL. Despite losing two talented defenders early in their Sunday contest against the Western Bulldogs, the Giants rolled to their sixth win in a row, outlasting a plucky Bulldog outfit by 25 points at Spotless Stadium. GWS now sits in third on the AFL ladder in a 3 way log-jam at 7-2 for the year.
Like the Gold Coast Suns, the GWS Giants were handed generous draft, zone and academy concessions on entering the competition in 2012. Whilst the Suns looked to build a list that focused more on short term success, the Giants took a more conservative approach, stockpiling talent whilst topping up with players with plenty of years left in the tank. Right now that approach seems to have produced a team that could be the measuring stick of the AFL for at least five years as the young talent is starting to reach its potential.
The Giants have no less than a staggering 22 first-round draft picks plus six academy players on their list, something that other clubs can only dream of. With wins already this season over league powerhouses Geelong, Hawthorn and now the Bulldogs, the sky is the limit for this powerhouse of youthful talent. Whilst the young stars get most of the press, the mature players traded into the club have been a revelation. Heath Shaw (30) and Callan Ward (26) were brilliant against the Bulldogs, with Shaw racking up an incredible 36 kicks, all of which were effective as he started numerous Giant attacks from the backline.
The Giants started brilliantly kicking the first three goals of the game as young star forward Jeremy Cameron dominated up forward with the first two of his five goals for the match. The Bulldogs fought back with some solid midfield work from Luke Dahlhaus, Tom Liberatore and Mitch Wallis to reduce the margin to just five points at quarter time, however despite the losses of Matt Buntine and Tim Mohr, the Giants regained the ascendancy in the second quarter. Shane Mumford had the best of the ruck duel to set up some brilliant work from Dylan Shiel, Toby Greene, and Tom Scully as the small but vocal Greater Western Sydney crowd enjoyed their team stretching their lead to 17 points at the half.
The Giants were just too slick for a determined Bulldogs outfit and at times threatened to blow their opponents away, cruising to a 34-point lead at the last break. Despite some heroics from the Bulldogs diminutive Toby McLean in the final quarter, the Giants were never threatened as they ran out comfortable 25 point winners. The Giants now sit comfortably in 3rd spot on the AFL ladder and can realistically lay claims to being mentioned as potential Grand Finalists – a scary thought for the rest of the competition given their plethora of young talent. Next up, the Giants face another test as they travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows, while the Bulldogs have eight days to lick their wounds before they take on a rejuvenated Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday.
Scoreboard: Greater Western Sydney 4.3 9.5 13.7 15.8 (98) Western Bulldogs 3.4 6.6 7.9 10.13 (73) Best Players: Greater Western Sydney: Ward, Shaw, Coniglio, Scully, Greene, Cameron Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Dahlhaus, Picken, Hunter, Macrae
Article last changed on Monday, May 23, 2016 - 3:16 PM EDT