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Giants looking bigger

Date

Claire Siracusa

Scramble: Setanta O'hAilpin of the Giants competes with Simon White (left) of the Blues.

Scramble: Setanta O'hAilpin of the Giants competes with Simon White (left) of the Blues. Photo: Getty Images

CARLTON 0.1.6 0.4.10 (34) GWS 0.4.1 0.5.2 (32)
GOALS Carlton: Rowe 2, Casboult, Hampson. GWS: Patton 2, Cameron, Sumner, Gilham.
UMPIRES: Chris Donlon, Nathan Elsworthy, Brendan Hosking.

GWS impressed in the first half, looking fairly slick and fast going forward. Patton and Cameron looked dangerous, big and strong inside 50 and often caught out the Blues' defence. On the other hand, going forward the Blues looked off their game.

They were inaccurate and hardly looked likely to score, though they did manage to get the ball inside often enough. In the second half the Blues were able to turn things around, somehow managing to sneak away with the win. They looked better at the clearances and the forward line seemed to gel more. Their forward line pressure in the second half was much better as well.

Mitch Robinson of the Blues passes during the round one AFL NAB Cup match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Carlton Blues. Click for more photos

AFL NAB Cup Carlton Vs. Greater Western Sydney Giants

Catch highlights of the game in this selection of images from the AFL NAB Cup first round match between Carlton and the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Photo: Getty IMages

On the comeback from cancer treatment, Sam Rowe was impressive with some nice marks and a couple of goals. His body work was good and he was able to leave Phil Davis behind at times, as well as beat him in the contest. He didn't get a lot of the ball, but when he had it, he used it well. He is making a strong case for round one selection.

In the absence of Chris Judd, Blues fans would have been eager to see how Murphy and Gibbs would step up. Both showed flashes of their best - Murphy keeping his feet in tackles and scooping up the ball cleanly under pressure, while Gibbs (who had nine disposals, the most of any Carlton player) was able to find space and help work the ball forward, as well as win four clearances. Expectations will be high, especially on Gibbs, in the season proper.

All eyes were on youngster Lachie Whitfield, and he didn't look out of place. Though his disposal at times was average, his positioning was good. As with many young players, it was clear he needs time and experience, but GWS fans will be pleased with what they saw from him.

Jonathan Patton looked bigger and better than he did in 2012 and, especially in the first half, threatened with his presence. His goals were good, but his marking and one-on-one contests were just as impressive. Though Patton faded in the second half, Kevin Sheedy and his coaches would be pleased with what he showed in the first game back.

Though young, the Giants are already showing signs of being bigger and more aware.

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