Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron labelled the second half of its 75-point thumping by North Melbourne at Manuka Oval on Saturday as its worst performance of the year.
But Kangaroos coach Brad Scott still thought there was plenty of evidence of what the Giants' talented kids would become.
|Goal Scorers||Greater Western Sydney||North Melbourne|
|Goals and Behinds||Patton (2.1), Smith (2.0), Hoskin-Elliott (1.2), Kelly (1.1), Treloar (1.0), Boyd (0.1), Lamb (0.1), Mumford (0.1), Shiel (0.1), Ward (0.1)||Petrie (5.3), Cunnington (3.1), Ziebell (2.1), Brown (2.0), Harvey (2.0), Bastinac (1.1), Adams (1.0), Black (1.0), Firrito (1.0), Turner (1.0), Dal Santo (0.1), Goldstein (0.1), McDonald (0.1)|
The Giants pushed North, but got blown away in the second half largely due to 644 games of AFL experience in Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie (five goals) during the third quarter.
The 19.12 (126) to 7.9 (51) victory cements North's spot in the top eight in front of 10,211 fans - the Giants' second biggest crowd at Manuka.
Giants midfielder Toby Greene was brilliant in his 50th game with 35 possessions, but Cameron said he didn't have many helpers.
Heath Shaw provided run and leadership across half-back, while Shane Mumford battled in the ruck against dominant Roos big man Todd Goldstein.
With just four points separating the sides at the main break, Harvey and Petrie stamped their authority on the game, the latter booting four for the quarter against an undersized Giants defence.
While Petrie was clunking everything in the air, Harvey was everywhere on the ground as the Kangas embarked on an unanswered 10-goal run.
But Scott thought the spark came from the youngest player in the AFL, 18-year-old debutant Kayne Turner, who kicked a goal with his second AFL kick.
"[The Giants] have been a baby that's grown into a boy, that's now an adolescent and is growing into an adult," Scott said.
"They're very quickly looking like the talent that they've got on their list is going to come through.
"When we weren't playing well it's not just because we weren't playing well, it's because they weren't letting us.
"To be honest, I thought it was our youngest, most-inexperienced player that got us going in the third quarter - I thought Kayne Turner was really electric with his effort."
Cameron was left searching for answers at the Giants' second-half capitulation.
He felt there were warning signs in the first quarter, which was an even affair and just poor kicking for goal let down the Giants, who trailed by 15 at the first break.
While the Giants did rally in the second, Cameron still thought they were a bit lucky to get back into the game.
North small Ben Cunnington (three goals) kicked a brace after quarter-time to open up a 26-point lead.
Then the Giants slowly started to get their game going, after struggling to find a way forward through a hard-working North outfit.
Smith kicked his second, threading a needle from deep in the pocket, and then Jon Patton shook off a back problem that seemed to be hindering him to kick the final two goals of the half and just four points separated the teams.
But Cameron was embarrassed by what happened from there, with the Giants held goalless in the third term while North piled on eight goals.
The news got worse for them with Jed Lamb forced out of the game with an ankle injury.
"It was our worst performance for the year I reckon, after half-time," Cameron said. "I know we got belted around the ears a few times in the early part of the year, but after half-time...
"I was concerned at quarter-time, we fought back in the second quarter, we got lucky a little bit coming into half-time, but then the third was one of the worst performances of the year."
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.1 7.3 15.6 19.12 (126)
GWS GIANTS 1.4 6.5 6.6 7.9 (51)
Goals: North Melbourne: D Petrie 5, B Cunnington 3, B Brown 2, B Harvey 2, J Ziebell 2, A Black, K Turner, L Adams, M Firrito, R Bastinac. Greater Western Sydney: D Smith 2, J Patton 2, A Treloar, J Kelly, W Hoskin-Elliott.
Best: North Melbourne: B Cunnington, D Petrie, R Bastinac, B Harvey, J Ziebell. Greater Western Sydney: T Greene, H Shaw, D Smith, J Patton.
Injuries: North Melbourne: L Hansen (hip) replaced in selected side by A Mullett, L Greenwood (leg) replaced in selected side by N Grima. Greater Western Sydney: J Lamb (ankle).
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Brendan Hosking, Robert O’Gorman.
Crowd: 10,211 at Manuka Oval.