Crom are charging towards finals and find themselves at home, with a great chance to solidify a place in the eight. The roadblock? The rampaging orange tsunami from Greater Western Sydney, buoyed by a new game plan and on the cusp of proving some doubters wrong. All the signs point to an absolute banger of a Saturday Night in the city of churches. What transpired? Let’s find out!
By the time the final siren sounded, fans of both sides may have had a sense of déjà vu. In round one, the Giants hosted the Crows. It was a competitive game, with the Crows having a lead at three-quarter-time they weren’t able to hold on, as the orange team ran over the top.
Adam Kingsley and his team obviously dusted off the script pre-game, with a reminder at three-quarter-time that they can run over the top of the Crows. And run over them they did. The Giants have obviously identified their ability to run out games and so allow themselves the ability to be free when the game is on the line. This may not always work, but against the Crows, it’s clearly a viable strategy.
The Crows had control of the game, yet became impotent, at home, in the final term conceding five goals without kicking one themselves. This could a 30-minute block that the Crows end up regretting as it may just keep them away from finals footy in 2023.
“Cometh the moment, cometh the man …” is an old adage set aside for the all-timers. Say what you want about Toby Greene and his discipline record, but he rises when his team needs him, and inspires his mates.
Toby was involved throughout the game, scoring individual goals in three quarters, including the first of the final quarter to kick-start the Giants’ charge. He finished with three goals, 20 disposals, eleven inside 50’s, eight score involvements, and ten contested possessions, in a complete performance.
He is the type of player everyone would love at their club, and who could be the one to perhaps bring the Giants to the promised land in coming years. He has one, if not both arms into an All-Australian blazer already in 2023, and could have some key moments yet to transpire in the coming weeks.
Battle for the Blazer
As we get towards the end of the season the discussion around All-Australian selection inevitably occurs.
Taylor Walker is heading towards a first blazer, and his recent form continued early. However, he was then blanketed by someone coming from a long way back (having missed games this year) seeking to stake his claim for a blazer in the defensive half – Sam Taylor. The Giants defender won all of his six one-on-one contests to further extend his leading rate (63%) in this category. He also kept the Texan to 0 disposals for the entire second half. Both of these players are firmly in the frame for the midfield AA Team the AFL rolls out – with fewer selections. Stay tuned for where we rate them in the Rolling Mongrel Punt AA Team later this week.
While these two didn’t play on each other, Izak Rankine and Toby Greene have been vital to their team’s successes in 2023. The Giants skipper further embedded himself into his blazer – and would have to be a consideration for being the All-Australian captain – while the Crows small forward had a quiet night, with the Giants defenders holding to him to 10 disposals and a solitary behind. This might squash his claims for a blazer, unless he has a big last six weeks.
On When It Matters
We’ve already reflected on history repeating itself, however, it’s worth looking at how the Giants were able to flip the game on its head. Kicking five goals to zero in the final quarter, the Giants upped their pressure in the final quarter, forcing errant kicks forward from the Crows, and their defence setting up well to repel the Crows. Of their five goals, four were kicked from front-half intercept chains – their only four for the game from this source.
When the game was on the line, the Giants were able to gain control of the ball, field position, and through the contest. When it mattered, they were up for the fight, and it was their leaders who took charge. Toby Greene was important, Josh Kelly was clutch – including a long-range goal, and their defence continued to curtail the dominant Adelaide forwards.
The Crows have been in this position a few times, and have fluffed their lines. For all the progress they have made, this is their next required big step. They need to find a way to stop teams getting a run on late in games, and wrest back some control. I’m a fan of the way the Crows play, and their offensive prowess. If they can get things going well defensively, then they will become a bigger threat than they already are.
As for the Giants, there’s an edge to this team that will make them hard to beat, even this year. Keep an eye on the orange tsunami.
From the Viewing Gallery
Congratulations to two champions of their clubs in this one. Former Crows skipper Rory Sloane played game 250, while the sometimes-maligned Lachie Whitfield played game 200 for the Giants.
The Giants have become a force from long range. And with the game on the line in the last quarter, both Josh Kelly and Harry Himmelberg were able to be accurate from outside 50 to bring the Giants back into the game.
Josh Rachele has all the tools to become an A-Grade player in the AFL. However, having brain fades won’t help him or his side long-term. Sometimes players cop a high hit in games, and don’t get a free kick. They need to move on. However, in this instance, Rachele chased the culprit, engaged in a scuffle, and proceeded to throw a fist that connected with an opponent. Now, he misses two weeks. It’s great to play on the edge, but not to the detriment of one’s team.
Josh Kelly put together a great game, again, after a quiet game last week. When he’s using the footy well and getting involved in the Giants ball movement, they become a more efficient side.
The game was a cracker, and the Giants again showed that they are a team that won’t ever surrender – pardon the pun – and will force teams to play a full four quarters, or risk being overrun. There’s a dent placed in the Crows’ finals aspirations, and this loss will be felt as they head to Melbourne to face the Dees at the MCG on Sunday, while the Giants will seek to end another team’s finals aspirations, as they host the Suns at Manuka Oval in the early Sunday game.
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