GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.2 2.7 5.12 10.19 (79) MELBOURNE 0.2 1.5 5.5 7.5 (47)
GOALS Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 2, Kelly 2, Patton 2, Treloar, Smith, Coniglio, Mumford. Melbourne: Watts 2, Dunn 2, Kent, Frawley, Jones.
BEST Greater Western Sydney: Mumford, Treloar, Ward, Coniglio, Kelly, Shaw. Melbourne: Jones, Frawley, Howe, Watts, Evans, Cross.
UMPIRES Ryan, Meredith, Chamberlain.
CROWD 7016, at Spotless Stadium.
Another turbo-charged final-quarter effort by Greater Western Sydney earned the young club’s second decisive win of the season, overcoming Melbourne Demons by 32 points at Spotless Stadium on Sunday.
What the match lacked in skills and execution in challenging drizzly conditions it atoned for with a result that remained in doubt until the Giants repeated the type of big last-quarter push that gave them victory against the Swans in round one.
Their five-goals-to-one response to the Demons’ third-quarter revival, in which Paul Roos’ winless side briefly held their only lead, was punctuated by two goals to young star Josh Kelly, one to Shane Mumford – who was exceptional for the Giants in the ruck – and final nails in Melbourne’s coffin from Devon Smith and Stephen Coniglio. In the context of what had been a low-scoring scrap for most of the afternoon, it was a final-quarter onslaught.
“The good thing about the game is that, when Melbourne came at us at the back end of the third quarter, for them to get in front and us to respond, I thought was fantastic and helped us in to playing a dominant last quarter," coach Leon Cameron said.
“It’s fantastic that our fitness staff, our sports science area, has done a great job over our pre-season. It gives you great confidence that when you come to that three-quarter-time siren, we break and then know we’ve got the run in the legs to last the last quarter.
"Even last week when we played the Saints, we had 17 or 18 inside 50s but just couldn’t convert. I think it does wonders for our guys’ confidence that you can stay in there, hang in there longer, and who knows what’s going to happen in that last quarter."
After GWS led 2.7.19 to 1.5.11 at half time the sides played a fierce third term, amid which the Demons snatched the lead but fell behind by seven points at the last break.
But the Giants lifted in front of 7016 fans, reaping the rewards of their statistical advantages, which included nearly twice as many tackles and clearances, and more than twice as many hit-outs, led by Mumford's personal record 60 taps.
“My body’s probably the best it’s been in the last two or three years," the ex-Swan said afterwards. "I’m not having any dramas with my knees any more, which means I can train more and have more impact around the club."
Cameron praised Mumford but said the defensive pressure across the ground was exceptional, headed by Adam Treloar with 14 tackles and 33 disposals.
Roos – on his first trip back to Sydney as a coach – pointed to the tackle and hit-out counts as decisive.
“They tackled really well. They didn’t give us time or space," Roos said. "That’s what AFL footy is. You’ve got to tackle. We tackled 40 or 45 times less.
“As a group we’ve got to continue to get better. We’ve got to understand ‘What is AFL footy? What does it demand?’ That’s part of the process. We’ve got to keep moving forward."
Roos had moved James Frawley and Lynden Dunn into the forward line and Dunn kicked two goals. But the Demons failed to turn possession into points because of poor offloading. They kicked just one goal before half time, narrowly avoiding what would have been a goalless first half for the first time since 2005.
GWS scored twice early in the third, but the Demons hit back with three unanswered goals to snatch the lead before Jeremy Cameron's second gave the home side the upper hand entering the final quarter.
Frawley put Melbourne within a point early in the fourth. But GWS turned the screws to gain their second of the season.