level 2 of the Bradman and that mark on the line right at the end was so sweet.I must have sat right in the area the BF main board sit at the SCG because it was plastic club this plastic club that all night. Good to knock them down a peg with the win.
Spot on Ruck analysis.This week's review from my favourite footy publication ...
In a classic finish, the GWS Giants reeled in the Sydney Swans in the cross-town derby and breathed more life into their 2021 AFL seasonthemongrelpunt.com
There are some games of footy that are classics from the first bounce. This was not one of those games.
This game built slowly, with both sides trading jabs early before Sydney began to assert its dominance, keeping their little brother at bay with flashes of brilliance from Buddy Franklin and Will Hayward. By midway through the second quarter, the game seemed to have fallen into a pattern, an ebb-and-flow like-pattern that would continue until late in the last quarter – the Giants would get close, but just as it seemed they were about to grab control of the game, the Swans would kick a couple of goals and stay a step ahead.
But don’t let the second sentence fool you – this game was a classic. For just as it seemed like all was lost, the Giants, led inspirationally by the archetype of a little brother in Toby Greene, rose up and snatched a famous victory from the jaws of defeat. Here are my six points.
If there was something that both coaches would leave the ground feeling pretty thrilled with, it was the youth that was on display. Yes, I know Logan McDonald struggled today, and Connor Idun looked a touch out of his depth, and Sam Wicks looks like he needs a rest, but they’re kids in their first or second year – lay off them. Besides, when the other young players were as impressive as they were, who cares that a couple struggled.
Braeden Campbell’s left foot almost needs to be insured by Lloyds of London. Coupled along half-back with Jordan Dawson, some of the foot-passing was other-worldly. Both players look to have an almost spin-bowlers ability to just drop a foot-pass onto a team-mates chest. With Campbell being 19 and Dawson just 24, Swans fans have at least a dozen seasons worth of elite kicking out of their back half to look forward to.
I really liked the game of Xavier O’Halloran. I enjoyed watching him play pre his draft 2018, and I must admit I was a little worried when the Giants drafted him – not that I thought the Giants couldn’t develop midfielders (clearly they can), but I worried how he would get a game. By half time, I was worried again – he hadn’t touched the ball! This worry was only compounded when, early in the third quarter, Josh Kennedy stripped O’Halloran of the ball in the centre of the SCG. That in itself is not something to get down on the kid about – Kennedy is a bull and one of the best midfielders of the last decade. O’Halloran, however, wouldn’t have been the first player to shrink back into his shell after this happened. Instead, the young fella soared, and capped off an impressive second half with a crunch goal in the last quarter.
Memo to Leon Cameron from all Fantasy football coaches – Tom Green is an inside midfielder, and must play there for the rest of the season! Green was a force of nature today, looking as composed as Scott Pendlebury (did you know he has a basketball background?) in the contest, and seemingly choosing his fourth or fifth – and ultimately correct – option every time he got the ball. In a game where so many possessions were under immense pressure, Green rose above most other midfielders with his class and decision-making, never looking rushed or bewildered. Please, Leon, keep him in the team.
There were other youngsters playing today too – Lachie Ash, Sam Taylor, Chad Warner, Bobby Hill and Conor Stone to name a few – and I thought they all had their moments. For a game that was high in pressure and intensity around the ball, the youngsters all showed promise, and I think their fans should be both proud and excited.
Was it just me, or did the Giants forwards seem to be wanting to play behind for most of the game (I’ll touch on why that might be the case later)? So many times it seemed like the Giants midfielders would deliver the ball into the forward line, only to hit the chest of the leading Swans defender – generally, either Lewis Melican or Tom McCartin, who I thought were both tremendous today. I know that the Giants lost their best tall forward (Jeremy Cameron) in last years trade period, and have essentially only brought in the highly talented yet questionably dedicated Jesse Hogan as his replacement, but it shouldn’t be too much to ask of Jeremy Finlayson and Harry Himmelberg to just get in front in their contests, right?
Speaking of which, I wonder what Giants supporters made of Himmelberg’s game today? It started poorly, got a lot better, then got bad again, then got better again, and then I thought finished really badly – his last set shot missed the goal by the best part of 50 metres. I’ve had an hour or so to think about the game (and one or two sherbets – sorry Mongrels), and I think the problem with Himmelberg is one that often besets guys around his height (and if you’ll pardon my expression) – he’s neither your arse nor your elbow.
By this, I mean that he’s a key-position height, but he plays like a half-forward flank. He’s almost cursed by being a couple of inches too tall, and I think a performance like today shows just how unsuited he is to playing as either a key target or even a second tall forward. If the Giants can draft, or preferably trade in, a key tall forward, Himmelberg could become a dangerous mid-tall forward option.
I know the above section laid a lot of the blame at the Giants tall forwards’ feet, but I’m going to spread the blame of their poor attacking forays to their midfielders. The Giants looked like they were trying to handball their way from half-back to half-forward today. This can serve a couple of purposes. Firstly, it often burns the key forwards who may be making promising leads out of the attacking 50. Secondly, and this is what I think the Giants were going for, it draws defences forward – largely because of what I just said (key forwards leading up the ground, and their defenders following them) but also because footballers are human and get drawn to the ball like a moth to a flame. This means that
The major drawback to this plan is two-fold. Firstly, it has a high rate of attrition – if your forwards are leading up the ground, that means that in order to score they’re going to need to race back. At the start of a game, this isn’t an issue. By the end of the game, however, it can mean that the ball comes back out of the attacking area faster than old guys can say the phrase “kick the bloody thing”. Secondly, it can mean that instead of releasing pressure for your team, a handball at half-back may only compound it. This happened a few times today for the Giants, as they turned the ball over at half-back rather than kick long into their forward line.
Perhaps it’s a game plan thing, perhaps it’s as a result of a lack of belief in their tall forwards. Either way, it’s not a great idea, and certainly not the way to win premierships.
HICKEY AND MUMMY
I know, it almost sounds like a crime fighting duo, but I can assure it’s not. When he went off injured early in the last quarter, I thought Tom Hickey was just about the most damaging player on the ground. This doesn’t mean that I thought he was the best – not quite anyway. But he was completely dominating Shane Mumford in a way that was very intelligent and refined. Mumford, if you’ve ever listened to anyone commentate a game he’s playing in, is a bit of an oaf. Hickey, meanwhile, is a bit different.
As a West Coast fan, I am acutely aware of the battle between Wayne Carey and Glen Jakovich, and the strategies that Jakovich used to try and conquer the North Melbourne great. Essentially, Jakovich, being the stronger of the two, would try to play to Carey’s ego and engage him in wrestles as often as he could, knowing that if Carey made it into a running game, ‘Jako’ would soon be up the proverbial creek. I reckon Tom Hickey, for as long as he was out there today, tried a similar tactic. He tried to run ‘Mummy’ off his feet, and I reckon Mumford was starting to tire significantly, and Leon Cameron was starting to question his decision to play Mumford in front of Matthew Flynn by late in the third quarter.
You see, Hickey’s strategy worked beautifully, until it didn’t.
In a ruck contest late in the third, the ruckman clashed knees, with Hickey coming off worse for the wear. His absence for the majority of the last quarter certainly impacted the Swans and meant that Mumford, who had little effect in the first three quarters, would be a huge player in the last.
I don’t know if this contest was the difference in the game, but the lack of a contest when it mattered certainly was.
TOBY ‘F$CKEN’ GREENE
Look, I’m definitely a biased judge. I love Toby Greene. If I was 10 years old right now (or had a 10 year old son or daughter who loved footy) I would be putting up a poster of Toby Greene on the bedroom wall. I love him and think that if he was the captain of a team I played in I’d walk a foot taller knowing he was walking out with me. He’s not always the best player, but he’s the player that embodies the spirit of a club that any football fan would love to support.
Many football publications will make a lot of the fact that Toby Greene kicked seven behinds today. These people are stupid and should not be allowed to reproduce. Greene, like any great leader, lifted when it mattered most. Greene, like any great leader, took a courageous mark running back into traffic. Greene, like any great leader, took his kick quickly and put it through the big sticks – the Giants would need every second that they could get.
As Colonel Slade once said, ”some guys run, and some guys stay”. I don’t think you’ll find a Giants fan anywhere who wouldn’t be glad that Toby Greene stayed.
The Swans members were in full meltdown last night after the SCG baristas ran out of both soy and almond milk.Sat near a bunch of Swans fans talking crap all night. Some of the Worst I’ve seen at a footy game and I’ve seen my fair share of grubs at NRL games
I don't think we should be thinking development year, we are still full of talent and should very much be thinking finals. The side we are running out now is behind the best teams, but as we start getting them back we are still a good side.Great win and I am sure the team are happy but hopefully the players and club dont get ahead of themselves as this should still be viewed as a development year more so for the defence and hopefully they dont drink the kool-aid from the media after 2 wins as they still have a long way to go to match the Tigers and Port
Plenty of good moments from the players but still several terrible moments with the easy transition for a franklin goal (i think), Buntine gave up on a chase and not sure if it led to a goal as other players were also only chasing at 50%, when the players assumed it was a mark to Franklin and stopped even though they were in possession, Idun appears lost at times and I think it is due to not having the experience down back and also lack of game awareness that will come with time and I would be excited to see Taylor, Idun, Cumming, Ash, Perryman as a defensive combo in 2+ years
Gimme Huddo, Gerald & Derm any day of the week over the Channel 7 boofheads, who always call a game through the ratings prism of what the Melbourne viewing audience wants to hear.Seriously good finish, not that the commentators noticed.
I'm of a similar view. We shouldn't be purely developmental, but I'd be surprised if we can squeeze in from here with the huge injury toll. We do need to have an eye on the future with seeing who fits into the team. Let's say, the injuries have forced us to put some of the kids in who otherwise might have been in & out or just out. e.g. Tom Green, Bruhn, Stone, Cumming.I think this team will be very lucky to make finals and a position 9-12 is more realistic, if you look at the average squad age and games played it would be well down the list. I am not ruling out finals I think I am setting realistic goals and I am not sure on who the double ups are apart from the swans but I think it was on the harder side when looking at the draw and the injuries do not help and with the history of the club with injuries that is why I am looking forward to seeing the younger players get an opportunity