The mid-week review: Round 6

What got us talking: GWS’ defining moment?

It was bound to happen.

Since its debut season in 2012, Greater Western Sydney has been thriving with potential. A sleuth of high draft picks and star recruits signaled good things on the way.

And it appeared to all come together on Saturday afternoon. GWS went to Spotless Stadium and completely dismantled the reigning premiers to the tune of seventy-five points.

With such a result, the attention will undoubtedly shift to Hawthorn- is the dominant team of the competition on the slide?

But rather than critique the Hawks, it’s time to talk about how frighteningly good the Giants are.

They were ruthless on the weekend. A series of firsts epitomised GWS’ dominance: 24.14 (158) became their highest ever score, and 7.3 (45) at the first change is their best first quarter.

And they bullied the Hawks around the ground. The Giants won contested possession 153-114, clearances 47-29, and contested marks 20-6: GWS forward Rory Lobb took eight contested marks alone.

The stats speak for themselves. The Giants are no longer the ‘boys’ who first walked into the competition.

Coach Leon Cameron was full of praise after the match, and said the 22 players out there on the weekend “should be very proud of their efforts”.

“These boys are now men and they want to play a good, ferocious brand of footy,” Cameron said. “When you get hungry players, your performances are always going to improve.”

“No doubt Hawthorn struggled throughout the game. But to our guys’ credit, their pressure was good and they probably set the standard in that first half,” Cameron said. “When Hawthorn kicked 2-3 (goals) we responded and that was probably the most pleasing thing.”

While it was a disappointing day for the Hawks, and one they will certainly try to rectify this week, coach Alastair Clarkson said the Giants were simply the “stronger” side on the weekend.

“They looked pretty impressive,” Clarkson said. “The last three times we’ve played them they’ve been really difficult games. We’ve only won one of those games and another one was particularly tight and then this game was a whitewash really.”

“I don’t think there was a facet of the game that we were stronger than GWS in tonight.”

So on the back of this impressive win, has GWS had their defining moment? Can the Giants have a real tilt at the flag this year?

They will definitely be there-about if they continue in this fashion. But to go all the way and win their inaugural premiership? It might be a bit of an ask. Especially since they haven’t even played a final yet.

Nonetheless, it is an exciting time for the Giants. But it’s also an ever more concerning time for the rest of the competition. The GWS talent pool only continues to rise, and their highly contentious Academy picks are only expected to get stronger and stronger.

They’re looking good now, but they’re only going to get better.

So it’s pretty safe to say: if 2016 is not the Giant’s year, then 2017, ’18 and beyond will certainly be.

What we learnt from round 6

– The Roos just keep on winning

North undefeated at round six? Who would have thought. But the Roos are in that position. After beating a ‘genuine’ opponent in the Bulldogs, and with Jarrad Waite in the form of his career, they don’t look to be slowing any time soon.

– Fright night

Saturday night was just not a good time for the Tigers and Suns. Richmond lost to an out-of-form side missing a group of its best, and Gold Coast was made to look like a set of witches hats in a training drill. Poor footy and poor viewing.

– Worst game ever

Talking of poor footy and viewing, the Carlton vs. Essendon game is definitely one to forget. A goal-less second quarter. Skill errors galore. Much like a train wreck, you simply could not look away. Nonetheless, the Blues proved less ineffective and came away with the four points.

What we can expect from round 7

– Poor, poor Richmond

Yes, the Hawks aren’t at their best. Yes, they’ve lost some key personnel. But no one will want to be in their firing line after such a shocking loss last week. Combine that with an out-of-form Richmond, and this match has the potential to be a blowout of the highest proportions.

– Score-fest at Etihad?

The Dogs and Crows are definitely two teams who like to hit the score board. They’re offensive, skillful, and plain exciting to watch. But can the Dogs bounce back from their disappointing loss last week? Or will the Crows just continue on their merry way? The home-ground advantage might prove to be the winner.

– Will North’s bubble burst?

The Saints have been a bit of a dark horse this year. An almost-win against the Hawks in round four epitomises that. So while the Roos have been red-hot, could St Kilda come through with the win? Well, stranger things have happened this year.

(First published on Bound For Glory News on May 6th 2016)

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