Giants paint Sydney orange after trouncing Swans to march into semis
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Giants paint Sydney orange after trouncing Swans to march into semis

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The talk leading into the September derby was whether the Giants' gamble over their injured guns would pay off and if Lance Franklin would play rather than if he should. By Saturday night, the Giants were counting their money and the Swans counting their losses.'

Sydney turned orange on Saturday night as the Giants trounced the Swans for the second time in a final to march into the semi-finals with renewed purpose.

Many in the crowd of 40,350 came to the SCG hoping Franklin would power the Swans to another September success but they left terribly disappointed, as the Giants trounced their crosstown rivals by 49 points.

The Swans were humiliated, their score of 30 their lowest in 385 games at the SCG. They were marooned on two goals for nearly two-and-a-half quarters. Their last two finals have now produced only nine goals and a combined losing margin of 108 points.

Well beaten: Lance Franklin scraps with Matthew Buntine during a forgettable match for the Swans marksman.

Well beaten: Lance Franklin scraps with Matthew Buntine during a forgettable match for the Swans marksman.

Photo: AAP
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Held to only eight touches and kept goalless, a crocked Franklin turned in one of the worst performance of his storied career, raising questions as to whether he should have played at all. At times he was reduced to a mere spectator, barely able to even compete against Phil Davis, who comprehensively won the duel.

Caught: Zac Williams tackles Daniel Hannebery in possession.

Caught: Zac Williams tackles Daniel Hannebery in possession.

Photo: AAP

The loud jeers Davis copped from the partisan Swans crowd as he came off the field in the dying minutes must have been music to his ears.

This was not a case, however, of no Franklin, no Sydney. The Swans were comprehensively outplayed by the slicker and tougher Giants. They were smashed for the contested ball, which has been a weakness all year, and unable to get close enough to their opponent to get the ball back.

In the previous meeting this year the Swans were able to shut down the Giants' weapons but here, in the game that counted, they were the ones without their weapons.

Jake Lloyd was limited to only 17 possessions, which robbed the Swans of run out of defence. It was hard to find a winner in their midfield, which was smothered by the Giants' pressure. Their defence held on grimly for a half but the weight of 63 inside-50s to 39 told.

This was a sweet night for the Giants though their win was soured by a knee injury to star midfielder Josh Kelly, who did not play in the final three quarters.

Scrap: Harry Perryman of the Giants contests the ball with Daniel Robinson.

Scrap: Harry Perryman of the Giants contests the ball with Daniel Robinson.

Photo: AAP

Their judgment calls on their injured stars proved astute. Zac Williams was one of the most influential players in the first half and with the game won early was able to have his game time managed.

Toby Greene was dominant in attack, booting three goals to go with 27 possessions in a near best-on-ground performance.

Matt de Boer kicked a crucial goal in the first half and Brett Deledio, with 22 possessions, got better as the game went on.

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The Giants' issue will be whether they will all be as effective second-up.

The Giants had the better of a tight first quarter in which there were few easy possessions. They were producing the more fluent passages of play and were rewarded with having the game played predominantly inside their forward 50. Aliir Aliir, however, proved hard to pass, drawing Giants kicks like a magnet. So too Davis, who stamped his authority early in his duel with Franklin.

At contests, Franklin was well beaten, though not helped by kicks which favoured his great rival. When he found space, he spilt marks, fumbled and turned it over – an unholy trinity.

Davis' confidence grew to the point where he was the one marking over the top with conviction. There were also times when Franklin looked like the defender, waiting for cues from Davis on where to run instead of making the play.

Still, the Swans sought out Franklin, which played into the hands of the Giants defence. The scoreboard suggested the game was still in the balance at half-time but the eye was seeing something different.

After gradually taking territory off their neighbour in the first half, the Giants were now in a position to dismantle the Swans' fortress brick by brick.

Harry Himmelberg's goal early in the third gave them the lead they deserved, and Greene's from long range had John Longmire sending out the bat signal.

Franklin, however, was in no position to answer the call. His first shot at goal did not come until time-on in the third.

For the Giants, it was more a strong current than an Orange Tsunami but the waters were getting uncomfortably high on their opponent. When Callan Ward goaled on the run in the last term, the Swans were well and truly under.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.3 4.7 7.11 10.19 (79)
SYDNEY 1.4 2.4 2.6 4.6 (30)
Goals: Greater Western Sydney: T Greene 3 H Himmelberg 2 J Cameron 2 C Ward M De Boer S Coniglio. Sydney: T Papley 2 B Ronke L Parker.
Best: Sydney: Aliir, Rampe, Cunningham. GWS: Greene, Davis, Whitfield, Ward, Williams, Himmelberg, Shiel
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Dean Margetts, Nathan Williamson.
Official Crowd: 40,350 at SCG

Votes

Phil Davis (GWS) 8
Toby Greene (GWS) 8
Lachie Whitfield (GWS) 7
Callan Ward (GWS) 7
Zac Williams (GWS) 7