ESSENDON 3.3 5.8 8.11 11.15 (81) GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.1 4.4 5.9 9.12 (66)
Goals: Essendon: J Daniher 3 C Dell’Olio 2 D Zaharakis 2 B Howlett B Stanton H Hocking P Ryder. Greater Western Sydney: A Treloar 3 R Palmer 2 A Tomlinson D Smith J Lamb R Lobb.
BEST Essendon: Zaharakis, Heppell, Daniher, Watson. GWS: Shaw, Mumford, Smith, Shiel.
Injuries: Essendon: D Fletcher (hip/lower back) J Watson (leg). Greater Western Sydney: A Corr (shoulder) C Hampton (arm).
Reports: Essendon: D Myers (Essendon) for striking D Smith (GWS) in the third quarter.
Umpires: Jason Armstrong, Luke Farmer, Tristan Burgess.
Official Crowd: 8429 at Spotless Stadium.
There will come a point when visiting teams like Essendon need to bring their A-games to Sydney's west to leave with the four points. Sadly for Greater Western Sydney, that time is not now.
For the second week in a row the Giants played with the urgency and commitment required to compete at AFL level but could not beat a more accomplished opponent. How they must wish they had produced a similar effort against fellow cellar dweller Richmond.
Callan Ward and David Myers get involved in a dust-up at Spotless Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
- Q4 29:23
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Treloar (3.1), Palmer (2.0), Lamb (1.1), Smith (1.1), Lobb (1.0), Tomlinson (1.0), Frost (0.1), Mohr (0.1), Patton (0.1), Shiel (0.1), Whitfield (0.1)||Scorers||Daniher (3.4), Zaharakis (2.1), Dell'Olio (2.0), Stanton (1.2), Ryder (1.1), Hocking (1.0), Howlett (1.0), Bellchambers (0.1), Heppell (0.1), Melksham (0.1)|
The Bombers' 15-point win keeps them in the pack chasing a finals berth but the victory may have come at a cost with captain Jobe Watson breaking down with a hip injury in the final quarter.
It will take more than scrappy low-scoring affair for the league's newest club to convert the tough western Sydney market but the Giants' effort on Saturday night would have been far more palatable than their last home offering.
Few, if any, of the 8429 who braved the chill truly believed the Giants could cause an upset but they sniffed one in the final quarter.
AFL Round 12 Greater Western Sydney vs Essendon
AFL Round 12 Greater Western Sydney 9-12-66 losted to Essendon Bombers 11-15-81 by 15 points at Spotless Staduim. Photo: Getty images
A match which had meandered seemingly to a regulation victory for Essendon came to life in the last quarter.
Fired up by a three-quarter time scuffle triggered by a wayward elbow from David Myers, the Giants turned what had been a ho-hum game into a red-hot contest.
For long periods during the night, the Giants had been unable to convert their periods of ascendancy into goals but this changed swiftly in the last quarter.
The spark came from Jonathon Patton, who used fancy footwork to evade two Bombers then sprint away to set up a forward thrust. It came to nought but the Giants were inspired.
First Adam Treloar found space and kicked truly from near the 50. Then Rhys Palmer threaded the eye of the needle from deep in a pocket and when the hard-working Adam Tomlinson landed a 50-metre plus bomb midway through the final term the Giants had pulled within a point.
But as the Bombers had done throughout the night they were able to find an extra gear when pushed, kicking the next three to seal the game.
It was appropriate that Joe Daniher ended the Giants' run, finishing off some fluent ball movement with nerveless conversion from 40 out.
In a game not made for marking forwards, Daniher proved the difference between the two sides.
As a second-year player, Daniher will generally have to battle more seasoned and developed defenders but not on this occasion against an equally callow Kristian Jaksch.
Daniher threatened at times to impose himself on the game with some powerful marking only to be let down by some shaky kicking for goal. But with three goals and nine marks he was the game's dominant forward.
The Giants have chosen the slow burn with their list build but this was a night where more seasoned campaigners like Heath Shaw and Shane Mumford, both among their team's best, could have produced a different outcome.
When the Bombers were under pressure they had enough players coming to the fore.
They could rely on Michael Hibberd to set up an incisive counter-attack after winning a crucial ball in defence. In a match low for skill, David Zaharakis's two goals, not to mention 34 possessions, were priceless.
The Bombers' extra polish when able to get into dangerous positions was also important. Whereas the Giants were forced to scrounge for every score, Essendon were able to make more of their opportunities.
When the Giants were able to gain the ascendancy in general play they struggled to break down Essendon's defence.
This happened in the third quarter when all they had to show for a seven to nine-minute period in which they controlled the game was a mere goal - to Adam Treloar.
How frustrating and morale-sapping it must have been for the Giants when they conceded a goal almost immediately after to Zaharakis. It may not be this way in the years to come.