AFL Round 19 – GWS Giants v Melbourne: History shows Giants on right track

For once, I was confident.  West have put in a good showing the last two weeks while Melbourne were terrible.  There was an historical precedent at stake, too.  Twenty years ago, Sydney, coached by a football legend, won one match for the season, against Melbourne.

This match did not rise to any great heights as a football spectacle.  The once-feted Jack Watts kicked two goals in the first term and was barely seen thereafter.  What kind of player would he be if he was playing for Hawthorn or Geelong?  By what chances of fortune did Melbourne end up with five Jacks in their lineup, including both captains?

Big Giles kicked a goal for the Giants and I noticed that the scoreboard picture of their goalkickers features individual sponsorships.  Jonathon Giles is sponsored by Jungle Gyms, a convenient alliteration.

The second term began with a few misses and some inconclusive play.  The eight or so Irish youngsters in front of us continued talking and drinking.  I began to keep an eye on them, just to see if any of them would watch the game.  Why, I wondered, would you go to Olympic Park and pay for a football match only to turn your back on it and talk about airfares to Bangkok?

Hampton broke the lines and put a beautifully weighted kick onto Whitfield’s chest for the Giants’ sixth.  A few minutes later, one of the Irish lasses returned to her seat and stood in front of me, apparently undecided.  “Seats are for sitting” I said in a polite undertone and so she did and they all quit talking for awhile and stared at their smartfones instead.

Some nice work led to Ward’s second, West are up by three and showing a decided edge in polish.  Scully gets booed every time he touches the ball.  A few rows behind me a woman yells “Pressure, Demons!” every time West find a man in space.  Both teams are a bit clueless, Melbourne more spectacularly so.  A quick burst out of the centre and it’s out on the full in the forward pocket.  Toumpas made a nice run, no shepherd, no support.

The siren rang as Jungle’s kick soared goalward.  There was a dancing competition at halftime and a couple of lads from Punchbowl Boys High sang a song, perhaps unknowing that they share an alma mater with the Hard-Ons.  Incidental music over the ground PA sounds a lot like Killing Joke, c 1983.

West are back on the ground a few minutes before Melbourne, doing some handball drills.  Three goals up, they can’t wait to get going again.  The Fuschias pull it back a bit this term, mostly thanks to Davey’s sub.  “When a sub is activated, should you sub too?”  boomed the PA, encouraging us to drink Carlton Draft.  Four of the last five goals to Melbourne and it’s 14 points at the last break.

Twenty seconds in and JC kicks his third for the match.  Earlier, it’d looked like Casey Scorpions playing West but now it starts to look like a team who met on the bus on the way to the ground.  Nathan Jones is everywhere he can be (why aint he captain?) and there’s still some tension in the stands.  Can West hold on?

Can they?  Devon Smith kicks three for West and the result heads toward being beyond doubt.  Ward (sponsored by OxTek) kicks West’s last two goals, a just reward for best on ground  Melbourne are a dispirited rabble, West are a team gaining in confidence and spirit with every week.  Perky Girl and I decide to take GWS memberships next year and I’ll be getting the zipper fixed on my orange and grey motorbike jacket.

And that historical precendent?  There was 8308 people here today, there was 8250 at the SCG twenty years ago.

WESTERN SYDNEY    5.1     9.3     12.7     19.10 (124)

MELBOURNE              4.3      5.8     9.12     12.15 (87)



GWS:  Cameron 4, Ward 4, Smith 3, Whitfield 2, Giles 2, Tomlinson, Adams, Bugg, Shiel

Melbourne: Watts 2, Kent 2, Fitzpatrick 2, Howe, Spencer, Clisby, Trengove, Pedersen, Byrnes



GWS: Ward, Cameron ,Whitfield, Scully, Treloar, Hampton

Melbourne: N Jones, Viney, Clisby, Pedersen,  Kent



3 – Ward, 2 – N Jones, 1 – Cameron



About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

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