Round 2 – GWS v Melbourne: A game of two halves

Greater Western Sydney versus Melbourne

4:10 pm Saturday 11 April
StarTrack Oval, Canberra

Chris Dubrow.

A tale of two cities, a game of two halves. And I mean Sydney verses Canberra, because Canberra – what are we doing here again? It’s meant to be a GWS home game.. and arrghh, SIX WEEKS (?!) until Giants fans are granted a genuine Western Sydney home game in 2015. The explanation does kinda make sense, ‘Casa GWS’ is at the Showgrounds and the ‘Sydney Easter Show’ is now on. But hey ho AFL, how about having a home game at the actual Show next year – think of all them NRL families lining up to be converted to our way of life after losing a year of dad’s wages on showbags then viewing one too many Belted Galloways on the cat-walk, or cow-walk or what ever the hell it is country folk do.? Its gotta be a hit.

Meanwhile, have you noticed Greater Western Sydney look like they are finally getting it together? For this rusted-on Giants fan (as rusty as you can be in a 4 year old club, a step up from a creaky fan) it feels good. Sure, no one is getting too cocky quite yet, but let us live large at least for this week, because for three seasons we have been nothing but the official AFL whippin’ boys.

So after the first siren it went down something like this: First quarter: rubbish. Second quarter, mostly rubbish. But let’s pause for a second. At this point, were Melbourne actually any good? Yeah, naah, sure, they were OK with undeniably consistent collective pressure, but certainly not as good as the 7 / 2 goal score line suggested. Jamar did some good work on Shane Mumford early, didn’t comprehensively crush him, but was one of the increasingly rare ruckmen that can hang on for the ride, for a half. McDonald, Cross and Hogan showed some, but mostly it was GWS doing the damage. To themselves.

Much like last week, during the Giants V St.Kilda match, GWS took a little while to settle in. Actually, a long bloody while. Like a whole half of footy. But while on the ropes there was definitely always a GWS pulse: unlike previous years the backline didn’t simply crumble into a full-blown cardiac.

In fact, this vastly improved GWS backline is probably the most fundamental reason things are looking so bright. Early in the last two games, when the attack was most ferocious, it was defender Nick Haynes who notably stepped up in the GWS back line, playing the consummate broomstick, with solid marks and intelligent move-alongs. The undoubted defensive class of GWS Co-captain Phil Davis is now joined by newcomer Joel Patfull, who frankly no one in Western Sydney had ever heard of (cos he never played NRL) but who is now totally justifying all the big wraps. And Heath Shaw – the decision maker, the rebounder, the oops-a-couple-out-on-the-fulls this week, nevertheless remains the trusted go-to playmaker. Incoming Nathan Wilson also showed some very impressive potential in the department of run and accurate delivery.

So lets continue to the start of the second half, where the broadcast commentators mentioned they weren’t prepared to write off the Giants quite yet. Prescient. But here I can let you in on a little secret. The commentariat like to focus on the big name sausage rollers – fair enough – and they can continue all they like to only watch the lively bells and whistles that Jeremy Cameron, or the young surprise packet Cam McCarthy can bring to the Giants forward line. But this results in an entire workroom of extraordinary running centre players absolutely bristling with talent, largely sitting way under the radar.

What about this list for you opposition coaches: Ward, Scully, Sheil, Smith, Coniglio, Whitfield, Treloar, Kelly, and that new/old fella Griffen. Tag one. Tag two. Tag five, but when they are in form like this second half of footy, the rest just go full blown wack-a-mole. I’m thinking Carlton late 1970s, or West Coast mid 2000s – perhaps a long bow for this year, but I am certain this fiery young group have the genuine potential to reach such confounding heights, if it’s a good day and if they can keep things together.. but, like I said, we GWS fans are not too cocky. Yet.

GWS, as the first truly native Sydney based AFL club, face a genuine gauge when they play that other blow-in mob from South Melbourne at the SCG next week. A top 4 side the Giants may not be, yet, but you can be sure they will have a darn good crack.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    0.2   2.6   11.8   15.11 (101)
MELBOURNE                                    4.2   7.3     7.6    8.8   (56)

Greater Western Sydney: McCarthy 3, Shiel 3, Coniglio 2, Smith 2, Treloar, Wilson, Cameron, Scully, Mumford
Melbourne: Hogan 2, Newton 2, McDonald, Kent, Jamar, Garlett

Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Kelly, Haynes, Greene, Shaw, Shiel
Melbourne: McDonald, Viney, Salem, Cross, Hogan, Lumumba



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About Chris Dubrow

Grizzly GWS fan from the Blue Mountains, NSW. Interested in heterodox economics and scientific oddities. Sometimes plays loud alt.rock music, and sometimes works in IT and Law.


  1. The rest just go full blown whack-a-mole.

    Love it.

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