The GIANTS have done their top-four chances no harm with a 14-point victory over the Sydney Swans at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday.
The GIANTS were their own worst enemy in the first half with some inaccurate goal-kicking, but were able to make use of a great third quarter leading to a 9.15 (69) to 8.7 (55) win.
The Swans were able to get their first goal on the board through Jackson Barling in the opening 30 seconds before a gruelling and highly contested battle took place through the midfield.
The GIANTS had the better of the Swans for majority of the opening quarter by holding the ball in their forward half but were not able to convert that pressure onto the scoreboard.
Adam Kennedy was able to use his AFL experience by providing plenty of run and carry off the GIANTS half-backline. Meanwhile, Nick Shipley had 19 of his 37 disposals through the first half.
Jackson Thurlow and Lewis Melican were bright spots early for the Swans as they were able to gain some important intercept possessions while controlling the tempo in their back half.
It was a similar story in the second quarter as both teams’ midfields were grinding away in the battle of stoppages. The GIANTS were able to have the control and flow of the game for majority of the quarter but were wasteful in front of goal.
Kicking 2.4 for the quarter, the GIANTS were struggling to punish the scoreboard which would have hurt more when Sydney was able to convert on fewer clean entries up forward.
The Swans skipper James Bell was leading his team in the midfield with 15 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s at the half.
If the GIANTS were going to force their way up into the top four of the competition they were going to focus on forward entries and their goal kicking in the second half.
The GIANTS came into the second half, on fire as they were able to snag three quick goals within the opening nine minutes of play.
I was just what the home team needed as they were able to take the lead and get some reward for the amount of possession and time spent in their forward half.
You could not discount the Swans, though, as they were able to wrestle their way back into the match.
Michael Knoll was having the impact you would being the biggest man on the ground he had 49 hit outs at three quarter time and was essential to Sydney responding with two goals of their own through Hamish Ellem and Barling.
The tight battle between the two midfields looked to have come to a stalemate with no goals for over 15 minutes of play before Will Chandler was able to kick a goal on the siren to give the GIANTS a 11-point margin and some momentum heading into the final quarter.
It was a tough and intense final quarter as both teams had plenty to play for in the final term. Barling was able to get the first goal of the last quarter to close the margin to five and give the Swans a sniff.
But the GIANTS were able to hit back with two of the next three goals to hold out the Swans in a finals-defining match. Nick Shipley was outstanding for the GIANTS, finishing with 37 disposals, 11 tackles and 10 clearances.
The Swans will need to recover and reset as they face an in-form Aspley Hornets side and will need to get back on the winners list if they want to keep their spot in the top four.
Meanwhile the GIANTS will have a week to recover with the bye and will start preparations for their match against the undefeated Brisbane Lions in two weeks’ time.
GIANTS v Sydney Swans at GIANTS Stadium
GIANTS 1.3 3.7 7.11 9.15 (69)
SYDNEY 2.2 4.3 6.6 8.7 (55)
GOALS – GIANTS: W Mudge 2 T Sheridan Z Sproule L Squire C Brown W Chandler H
Grant A Kennedy. Sydney: J Barling 4 H Ellem 3 J Amartey.
BEST – GIANTS: N Shipley L Delahunty N Murray H Grant A Kennedy L Squire. Sydney: J Bell J Amartey L Melican J Barling.
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