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Match report: Slick Giants crush brave Blues

Highlights: GWS v Carlton The Giants and Blues clash in round 14
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Joshua Kelly of the Giants celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 14 match between the GWS Giants and the Carlton Blues at Spotless Stadium on June 25, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Josh Kelly celebrates one of his two goals

VETERAN forward Steve Johnson has produced a vintage effort to propel the Giants back into the top four with a scrappy but gritty 62-point win over Carlton at Spotless Stadium.

With key forward Jeremy Cameron still battling to find his best form, triple-premiership winner Johnson stepped up with four goals against a Blues side that kept the hosts honest for substantial stretches before succumbing 18.19 (127) to 9.11 (65) in front of 10,355 fans.

The Giants' win was made more challenging by the loss of co-captain Phil Davis to a calf injury in the second quarter, which left the home side down a rotation and a crucial leader.

Full match coverage and stats

GWS led from start to finish but had a fight on their hands to bury the Blues, who were led gallantly by possession leader Sam Docherty, Walker, who kicked three goals, and Bryce Gibbs, who marked his 200th game with 29 touches and nine tackles in a typically wholehearted effort.

Blues coach Brendon Bolton was eager to pay tribute to the in-form midfielder celebrating the resilience he's shown over a number of years.

"I think anyone in this competition who plays 200, we take our hat off and understand that it's a brutal competition and not many do it," Bolton said after the match.

However, the Blues coach conceded his side needs to improve following the Giants’ scoring onslaught in the final term.

"I thought again it was a bit inconsistent. We had some patches where we had a little bit of momentum, but by and large we just need to be more consistent," he said.

"I thought our consistency in holding a bit of structure, particularly in the back half, around stoppages needed to improve. That hurt us. And then in the last quarter, we saw a really powerful unit kick about seven goals."

 

The Giants sprinted out of the blocks to secure a 23-point lead at the first break. But Carlton lifted their intensity in the second to finish just a point off the pace, going to the main break behind 8.11 (59) to 5.5 (35), after going blow for blow in a tight term.

GWS won the third 3.3 to 2.4, and used their superior fitness and pressure to drive the Blues into submission with 10 of the game’s final 12 goals.

Five talking points: Greater Western Sydney v Carlton

Johnson was a vital weapon for the Giants, finishing with a busy 22 touches, adding plenty of defensive pressure in the forward 50 and pinching goals at critical times.

Despite the Giants’ highlights their one lowlight was a calf injury to co-captain Phil Davis, but Leon Cameron said scans in the coming days will determine its severity.

"It's disappointing because in the last month or so Phil's been up and down in terms of his injuries," Cameron said.

"We've probably got a bit of thinking to do, it all depends, I mean Phil (Davis) might be fine.

"Touch wood hopefully he is."

 

Dylan Shiel and Josh Kelly grabbed two goals each, with the major scoring shared among seven other players. A neat snap by Cameron in the dying moments, his third goal of the game, gave a reminder of his capabilities in what has been a challenging season for the star forward so far.

The win caps off a tough but generally successful period for the Giants, who now have a week's rest before starting the run to the what will almost certainly by their first finals appearance.

MEDICAL ROOM
GWS: Injury-plagued co-captain Phil Davis came off in the second quarter for a test on his right calf and, by the time the second half began, he was gone from the pine and done for the day.
Carlton: Jed Lamb came from the ground late in the second quarter with a knee problem but soon returned.

NEXT UP
The Giants have a well-earned break after an intense past month or so, which included wins over Western Bulldogs, Geelong and the Swans.

Carlton return to the MCG for a Saturday night struggle with traditional rivals Collingwood.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY  6.7    8.11    11.14    18.19 (127)
CARLTON                                    3.2    5.5       7.9       9.11   (65)

GOALS
Greater Western Sydney: 
Johnson 4, Cameron 3, Shiel 2, Kelly 2, Williams, Patton, Whitfield, Scully, Coniglio, Lobb, Greene
Carlton: Walker 3,Wright 2, Simpson, Everitt, Tutt, White

BEST
Greater Western Sydney: 
Shiel, Coniglio, Johnson, Williams, Ward, Mumford, Kelly
Carlton: Docherty, White, Gibbs, Kerridge, Walker 

INJURIES 
Greater Western Sydney: 
Phil Davis (calf)
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Nicholls, Harris, McInerney

Official crowd: 10,355 at Spotless Stadium