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Match report: Top-four Giants continue rise

Highlights: GWS v St Kilda The Giants and Saints clash in round 19

GREATER Western Sydney has overcome a sluggish first half to beat a wasteful St Kilda by 25 points at Spotless Stadium on Saturday and move into the top four.

The Giants struggled to get out of the blocks after last week's tough trip to Adelaide, but the Saints failed to take advantage of their hard work before half-time when they won the inside-50 count 40 to 18, but only registered 3.10 on the scoreboard.

It helped hand GWS an unlikely four-point lead at the long break and the home side finally found some life with a six-goal third term, which ultimately secured the vital four points in a 13.8 (86) to 8.13 (61) result.

GIANTS PULL AWAY Full match coverage and stats

Harry Himmelberg was the outstanding forward on the ground with four goals, while Lachie Whitfield continued his brilliant form across half-back and finished the night with 32 possessions and 11 marks.

Josh Kelly (32 touches), Stephen Coniglio (29) and Heath Shaw (25) were the chief ball-winners for the winners. 

GWS coach Leon Cameron admitted his side's intensity was below par in the first half, but the way they responded to St Kilda's challenge was pleasing.

"It's been a really big month on the back of a lot of travel and six-day breaks, and there's no doubt our players were a little bit off the mark in that first half," he said after the game.

"We should have been down by four or five goals but that’s footy.

"We came in at half-time and addressed a few things and a number of players lifted, and that was great."

 

Former Giant Jack Steele did a fantastic blanketing job on his former co-captain Callan Ward who managed just 19 disposals for the match, with defenders Jake Carlisle and Jarryn Geary prominent for the Saints, along with midfielders Seb Ross and Jack Steven.

It wasn't one of the Giants' most memorable victories but with the top eight so tight with four rounds remaining in the season, it consolidated their spot and helped them leapfrog cross-town rivals Sydney on the ladder.

The Saints barely let the footy out of their forward half in the opening term but booted 1.6, with Jack Lonie (twice), Rowan Marshall, Steven and Carlisle all missing gettable shots inside 50.

GIANTS SURF ORANGE TSUNAMI Five talking points

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said his side's effort was there, but they couldn't make the most of their chances.

"We created a lot of opportunities with our energy, but we let ourselves down with our inability to finish (off) our work," he said post-match.

"One team was better at capitalising on that part of the game so obviously there's a lot to work on, but it's really specific, we need to get bang for our buck.

"It's been a challenge for us all year so that’s still a work in progress."

It was another strong test for the Giants' backline and another big tick for the team's defence, which was superbly led again by co-captain Phil Davis, Whitfield, Shaw and Nick Haynes.

With star forward Jeremy Cameron to return from his five-week suspension against Carlton next week, Himmelberg's form has given coach Leon Cameron a selection headache, with Rory Lobb also in the side as a marking target inside 50.

 

MEDICAL ROOM
Greater Western Sydney: 
There were no injury worries for the home side.
St Kilda: The Saints looked to have come through unscathed.

NEXT UP
The Saints head back to Melbourne to take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, while the Giants face Carlton at the same venue the following day.

 

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    2.0   5.2    11.5  13.8 (86)
ST KILDA                                   1.6   3.10   6.11  8.13 (61)

GOALS
Greater Western Sydney:  Himmelberg 4, Daniels 2, Langdon 2, Lobb 2, Greene 2, Deledio  
St Kilda: Gresham 2, Lonie 2, Membrey 2, Steven, Battle

BEST
Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield, Himmelberg, Kelly, Haynes, Shaw, Davis
St Kilda: Steven, Ross, Geary, Carlisle, Steele, Hickey

INJURIES
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
St Kilda: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Brown, Fleer

Official crowd: 12,014 at Spotless Stadium