It was hard to fault the GIANTS in the Top End on Saturday night as clean foot skills and methodical execution a highlight in a 56-point victory over NT Thunder at TIO Stadium.
Five goals to one in the first quarter immediately had the home side on the back foot as the GIANTS returned to the top four with a 16.13 (109) to 7.11 (53) win.
Fielding just 10 AFL-listed players, but with a host of academy members up to the task, the GIANTS barely put a foot wrong in a near-flawless display.
The visitors operated at a team average disposal efficiency of 75% compared to NT Thunder’s 63% and cut their opponents apart on the turnover.
The GIANTS had three goals on the board early through ruckman Kieren Briggs, Zac Sproule (in his return from injury) and academy member Harry Grant, who ended the match with a game-high four majors.
With Thunder felt they were in touch at quarter-time with the matgin at 23 points, the visitors made sure the match was on their terms in the second quarter when they slammed on six goals to two for a 46-point lead at half-time.
A wasteful 2.8 to 1.2 from the GIANTS in the third was followed by an even last quarter when the match was over.
The GIANTS won the disposal count 377-293 and the even contribution across the ground was evident with 19 of their 22 players having 10 disposals or more, compared to 11 for NT Thunder.
Jackson Hately was the pick of the bunch as his class shone throughout, finishing with 32 disposals, six inside 50s, six tackles and a goal.
Nick Shipley (26 disposals, 10 marks, six inside 50s) and Jye Caldwell (27 disposals) also worked hard, and Jake Stein was a standout in defence with 20 disposals at an elite 95% efficiency, plus five marks and seven rebound 50s.
Thunder was further hampered by losing Dylan Barry (concussion) and star defender Daniel Weetra (ankle) throughout the match.
Co-captain Abe Ankers was again outstanding, standing up in the midfield with 32 disposals (14 contested), 10 marks, six tackles and six inside 50s, although he had a difficult day in attack with a return of 0.4 when pushing forward.
The GIANTS set up a mouth-watering clash against fifth-placed Aspley at home next week, whilst Thunder travels to the nation’s capital to take on Canberra.
NT Thunder v GIANTS at TIO Stadium
GIANTS 5.2 11.3 13.11 16.13 (109)
NT THUNDER 1.3 3.5 4.7 7.11 (53)
GOALS – GIANTS: H Grant 4 L Delahunty 3 Z Sproule 3 A
Bonar 2 K Briggs J Hately J Moen J Peatling. NT Thunder: B Carroll 3 N
Paredes 2 J Simon J Stevens.
BEST – GIANTS: J Hately N Shipley J Caldwell H Grant J Peatling A Bonar. NT Thunder: A Ankers B Rioli J Templeton D Barry N Paredes J Hannath.
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