GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.2 5.8 8.13 13.16 (94)
GOLD COAST 1.3 7.9 9.11 9.13 (67)
Greater Western Sydney has stunned the AFL world and won the first contest between the two newest sides in the competition, beating Gold Coast by 27 points.
Jubilation swamped the GWS Army at Manuka Oval, as the side many expected to remain winless throughout the year, completed the victory through a dominant final quarter, kicking five unanswered goals and leaving Gold Coast questioning their recruiting strategy.
Although it may seem harsh, with an extra year’s experience behind the Suns, it is expected that they would be the ones to stand up when the pressure was turned up in the final term. Instead, the Giants made them look second rate and flat-footed.
The Suns recruiters won’t be the only ones wondering about certain selections, with mature-age recruit Jonathan Giles dominating through the centre, finishing with 21 disposals, including 15 contested and three goals, with two coming in the last quarter to seal the historic victory.
With an increased importance placed on ruckmen possessing the ability to rest forward and kick goals, it is a wonder that Giles was available for GWS to select.
Giles, along with other experienced recruits in Callan Ward, Chad Cornes and Tom Scully, provided ample leadership for the Giants, and in doing so placed several question marks over several high profile Suns players.
In particular, Campbell Brown and Jared Brennan were shown up by their opposite numbers, and with the results coming from other recruits (such as Josh Fraser and Nathan Krakouer, amongst others), questions will have to be asked about the strategy implemented by Gold Coast.
However, it wasn’t just the more experienced players shining for the Giants, with several young stars displaying their supreme ability in what was essentially a contest to determine which draft of the last two drafts was the stronger.
Stephen Coniglio was brilliant, finishing with 31 disposals and had a pivotal hand in several scoring passages of play. Devon Smith had 17 touches and two goals, whilst Toby Greene had 22 possessions.
GWS will, for the first time, celebrate a hard-earned victory and will take joy through the weekly match review process, whilst the Suns, also for the first time, will face tough internal questioning from the coaching staff due to a disappointing effort.
3) – Giles (GWS)
2) – Cornes (GWS)
1) – Ward (GWS)
Greater Western Sydney: Giles 3, Smith 2, Coniglio, Sumner, Ward, Tyson, Townsend, Shiel, Cameron, Treloar
Gold Coast: Caddy 2, Day 2, Bennell, Iles, Swallow, Rischitelli, Horsley
Greater Western Sydney: Giles, Coniglio, Cornes, Ward, Scully, Power
Gold Coast: Iles, Ablett, Prestia, Caddy, Warnock, Bennell
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Gold Coast: Swallow (corked leg), Dixon (cheek)
Gold Coast: Josh Toy replaced David Swallow in the third quarter.
Greater Western Sydney: Andrew Phillips replaced Liam Sumner at half-time
Reports: T Lynch (Gold Coast) reported for rough conduct on P Davis (GWS) in the third quarter.
Umpires: Schmitt, Hay, Foot
Official crowd: 8,603 at Manuka Oval