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Highlights: Giants v Blues Greater Western Sydney and Carlton collide in the first round of the 2013 NAB Cup
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Sam Rowe stood out in Carlton's close win over Greatert Western Sydney

HAVING conquered cancer, Carlton's Sam Rowe is now intent on kick starting his AFL career, making a positive start in the NAB Cup on Sunday.

Eight months after completing a course of chemotherapy for testicular cancer, the key position prospect stood out in the Blues' two-point victory over Greater Western Sydney at Blacktown International Sportspark.

He kicked two of Carlton's four goals and provided a strong target in the forward line to get Mick Malthouse's newest coaching tenure off to a solid start.

Giants deliver notice against Swans

Rowe, 25, then managed one behind and three disposals in the club's 22-point triumph over the Sydney Swans.

"It's a good story for football," Malthouse said afterwards.

"He probably thinks every day is a bonus.

"He attacks the ball hard, he wants to play hard and he wants to be an AFL footballer.

"I suppose a lot of things would've gone through his head last year and probably the last one was playing football.

"It was more about his health and being alive."

In the first match, Giant Jonathan Patton showed the benefits of his first AFL pre-season, kicking two goals in the loss to Carlton.

Blues' fierce forwards sink Swans

Patton, who underwent knee surgery in January last year and didn't play his first match until round 12, looks considerably leaner and fitter this time around in the GWS forward line.
  
In a Blues team missing Chris Judd, Matthew Kreuzer and Jarrad Waite, Shaun Hampson, Levi Casboult and Kade Simpson performed well ahead of their second match of the night against the Sydney Swans.
 
There were also some excellent signs for the young Giants, who are preparing for their second season in the AFL.
 
Anthony Miles, who had a game-high 14 touches, Adam Kennedy, Adam Treloar and Steve Coniglio all found plenty of the football and appear ready to make some good contributions this coming season.
 
Patton's first goal was an opportunistic effort, benefiting from Matthew Watson's inability to secure possession and soccering the ball through off the deck from one metre out.
 
He then got on the end of a neat forward entry from Rhys Palmer and pulled his set shot left for a behind, but the 19-year-old's next effort wowed the crowd.
 
Spilling a contested mark near the 50m arc, he then roved the loose ball, pirouetted past two opponents and snapped the goal across his body from 40m out.
 
GWS' Lachie Whitfield, the first pick in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft, showed some early nerves, with his first kick sailing out on the full under little pressure.
 
But he steadied and showed good pace in his first official outing, finishing with seven possessions.
 
What the coach said

"The attempt was there, but we're getting a bit confused with the two game structures from last year to this year, we'll certainly need the three NAB Cup games to iron out a few areas of concern. There's a whole host (to work on) and a lot of things that are different (to last year under Ratten). I'm not saying one is right and one is wrong, it's just the way I want to do it and that's the way it's got to be, we can't have two different game structures." - Mick Malthouse

AFL Fantasy Snapshot

They were No.1 picks for good reason, so it was no surprise to see 2011 top draft pick Jonathan Patton (FWD, $183,300) and his 2012 compatriot Lachie Whitfield (MID, $183,700) feature. While fellow forward Jeremy Cameron received much of the fanfare last year, Patton showed he has just as much ability against the Blues. The big forward kicked two first-half goals and racked up with 25 fantasy points, including a superb snap after bullocking his way through traffic. Whitfield, fresh off his first AFL pre-season, displayed plenty of promise. His hard running and poise in traffic were the key highlights in his 32 fantasy points.




GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY        0.4.1    0.5.2     (32)
CARLTON                                           0.1.6    0.4.10   (34)           
                              

SUPERGOALS
Greater Western Sydney:
Nil
Carlton: Nil

GOALS
Greater Western Sydney:
Patton 2, Cameron, Gilham, Sumner
Carlton: Rowe 2, Hampson

BEST
Greater Western Sydney: Miles, Kennedy, Treloar, Coniglio, Shiel, Patton
Carlton:
Hampson, Gibbs, Simpson, Rowe, Casboult, Robinson

INJURIES
Greater Western Sydney:
Nil
Carlton: Nil
 
Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Hosking, Elsworthy

Official crowd: 4,078 at Blacktown International Sportspark

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs