The GWS Giants got their season going again after they clawed their way to a 10.6 (66) to 9.10 (64) win over the Collingwood Magpies at Giants Stadium on Friday night 26 June.
The match was reminiscent of the tense Preliminary Final between these two sides last year when the Giants won another close encounter over the Pies.
The Giants came out of the gates with far more intensity than they showed the previous week, but the Magpies were equally up for the fight.
Neither side could build a lead as they went goal for goal in the first half, with the scores tied 28-28 at the major break.
The Giants came out of half-time looking the superior side with some quick ball movement allowing them to kick the first three goals of the third quarter.
The Pies managed to get one back through Brody Mihocek but a big tackle from Harry Himmelberg in the Giants attacking 50 saw the ball spill out to Callan Ward who got the instant reply for the Giants, giving them a 19-point lead.
The Giants looked like they may run away with the match but the Pies had different ideas.
They kicked three goals in the final five minutes of the third quarter to bring the margin back to one point, setting the scene for a nerve-racking final quarter.
The Pies dominated the field position at the start of the last quarter but could only manage two behinds to give them a one-point lead.
The Giants first inside 50 for the quarter saw them retake the lead after a smart soccer goal from Josh Kelly putting them ahead 60-55.
A nasty collision between Jeremy Howe and Jacob Hopper saw Howe leave the field with a serious knee injury but the commitment by both players showed how desperate these sides were to win.
The Pies continued to dominate field position but couldn’t translate that dominance to the scoreboard, kicking three behinds in a row before the Giants finally got another chance of their own.
Jeremy Cameron had been quiet all night but he took a mark just inside 50 and calmly drilled the goal to give the Giants an eight-point lead with just three and a half minutes to go.
It looked like he had secured victory for the Giants but from the ensuing centre bounce, the Pies got the clearance and Mason Cox took the mark and kicked the goal to bring the margin back to two points and set up a thrilling final two minutes.
The Giants hung on for a well-deserved victory to help them improve to 2-2 and keep them in touch with the top four.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they lost Phil Davis and Zac Williams to hamstring injuries. Davis will need to pass a fitness test in order to play next weekend, while Williams is expected to miss four weeks.
The Giants’ big forwards were quiet again, but it was Greene who stood up. After missing last week through injury, Greene was superb up forward for the Giants, kicking three goals, and added a different dimension to their forward line.
Just about the best defender in the competition this season. Haynes has been in sublime touch to start the year and with the Pies winning the inside 50 count 48-37, he was instrumental in repelling attack after attack.
Matt de Boer
The unsung hero for the Giants was at his negating best as he held Pies gun Steele Sidebottom to just 12 touches and limited impact on the game. He’s been beaten the last two weeks by Shaun Higgins and Marcus Bontempelli but de Boer played an outstanding role to help his side to the win.