GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.3 4.5 7.8 11.11 (77)
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.2 7.4 12.5 16.9 (105)
North Melbourne have survived a scare against an under manned Greater Western Sydney at Skoda Stadium on Saturday night, and have squandered the opportunity to play their first final in Melbourne in the process.
Despite entering the game needing to open a gap on Fremantle’s percentage, it was clear that the Giants were the side playing with more endeavour and spirit. They consistently led the Kangaroos to the ball and convincingly won the contested footy, resulting in a clearance tally of 14-5 by the first break.
The second quarter was more of the same as North fumbled easy balls, dropped basic marks and missed simple targets on a regular basis. Their work rate on the spread was unacceptable for an AFL side, and if not for GWS’s inability to hurt them on the scoreboard, they could have been in dire straits.
For the Giants Toby Greene was everywhere. By the break he had 21 disposals and a goal, and was getting good support from Callan Ward and Dom Tyson. Israel Folau also excited the home crowd with a few silky possessions, including a goal assist and a goal of his own as he delivered his best performance for a number of weeks.
Matt Campbell was one of the only Kangaroos that looked switched on, with his work rate and two first half goals an example to many of his team mates. Andrew Swallow was the only other North player to lead from the front in the first half.
As the second half rolled on, North did enough to win, but that was all. It was a performance that would likely have seen them beaten by any other side in the AFL.
Toby Greene finished the night with 38 possessions and was a clear best on ground. He has undoubtedly been the best first year player in the land.
North Melbourne on the other hand will have the rare task of regrouping after a win. Their form, or lack thereof in their last five quarters, has been at a standard far below that of any of the other finalists. They now face a trip to Perth as a consequence of their apathetic performance.
3- Toby Greene
2 – Callan Ward
1 – Scott D Thompson
North Melbourne: K Harper 4 M Campbell 3 B Harvey 2 D Petrie 2 L Thomas 2 A Swallow L Delaney S Gibson.
Greater Western Sydney: J Giles 3 R Palmer 3 A Treloar C Ward D Tyson I Folau T Greene.
North Melbourne: S Thompson L Anthony B Cunnington S Gibson R Bastinac D Petrie.
Greater Western Sydney: T Greene R Palmer D Tyson C Ward J Giles A Treloar.
Umpires: Stuart Wenn, Ben Ryan, Gary Fila.
Official Crowd: 6,696 at Skoda Stadium.