Just 100 games into their existence, the Greater Western Sydney Giants are living up to their name – and the rest of the AFL competition must be seriously concerned. In the battle for Sydney supremacy at Spotless Stadium on Sunday, the Giants dismantled perennial finals contenders the Sydney Swans, ruining the Swans chance to go top of the ladder and giving them plenty to think about as the AFL moves into the second half of the regular season.
In nine previous Sydney derbies, the Swans held an 8-1 record over the fledgling Giants, however Sunday made it clear that the Swans dominance over the Giants is a thing of the past. Over 21,000 fans witnessed the 42-point win by the Giants, the biggest Spotless Stadium crowd since the ground was upgraded to accommodate one of the two newest franchises in the AFL. The game was a battle early, with Swans midfielders Josh Kennedy, Tom Mitchell, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery taking the game up to their Giants counterparts in Dylan Shiel, Callan Ward, Stephen Coniglio and Toby Green.
The Giants broke the game open late in second quarter, piling on six unanswered goals to take a 40 point lead until Sydney finally answered in the third quarter. Superstar Swans forward Lance Franklin had little impact until the horse had well and truly bolted, with the Giants bold running out of defense causing the Swans a myriad of problems with their usually ferocious forwards unable to contain the ball in their own half. The Swans cause wasn’t helped by a knee injury to versatile ruckman Kurt Tippett who had to leave the ground after looking in great form early, as the Giants were quick to take advantage around the stoppages once Tippett left the field. The fact that he could not return for the rest of the game suggests a serious injury that may see him sidelined for a lengthy period.
Sydney righted the ship late in the third as Franklin started to have some influence; however the 20 point three-quarter time deficit never looked like being bridged by the Swans who were denied the ball by a speedy, disciplined Giants outfit. Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron would have been pleased by the form of midfielder turned forward Toby Greene who contributed four goals, while his swarming defense led by Heath Shaw and Zac Williams proved to be too much for the Swans to handle.
With a host of young high draft picks still to play a game for the upstart Giants, we can expect them to be one of the league’s stronger teams for the next few years, if not a decade or even longer. How the rest of the league reacts will be a story to watch with interest. For now, one thing is certain - Sunday’s game signals a football power shift in Sydney, from the stalwart Swans to the feisty young Giants. It is sure to become one of the biggest stories in the AFL in the near future. Next up the Giants will face a struggling Essendon at Etihad Stadium, while the Swans will lick their wounds before taking on a re-invigorated Melbourne at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Scoreboard: Greater Western Sydney 2.4 6.6 10.11 15.15 (104) Sydney 2.3 4.6 7.9 9.9 (63) Best Players: Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Shaw, Greene, Davis, Wilson, Ward Sydney Swans: Rampe, Hannebery, Mitchell, Rose, Grundy
Article last changed on Monday, July 11, 2016 - 1:28 PM EDT