Jesse Hogan celebrates a goal during the round 23 match between Greater Western Sydney and Essendon at Giants Stadium on August 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney has put one foot in the finals with a club record score as Jesse Hogan booted nine goals in a stunning 126-point triumph over Essendon at Giants Stadium.

The ruthless Giants crushed a lacklustre Bombers outfit to give both their percentage and finals chances a huge boost with a 25.12 (162) to 5.6 (36) thumping on Saturday.

GIANTS v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

GWS lifted its percentage from 98.6 to 105.6 and sent a warning shot across the competition, but might still need to win its round 24 clash with Carlton and hope other results go its way to finish in the top eight.


Giants coach Adam Kingsley is confident his side can challenge "the best team over the last eight to nine weeks" and secure a spot in the finals after the stunning win over the Bombers.

"They (Carlton) have obviously been in wonderful form. They've won their last nine, so they're a terrific team, probably the best team over the last eight to nine weeks," Kingsley said.


"It's going to be a big challenge for us, but we'll have a crack.

"If we relax or have a slip up now, we're out and we know that. We're desperate to play finals and I think you'll see that in our performance next week."

The Bombers are now all but out of the finals race as they were outplayed from the early exchanges and looked to be limping to the line, while the Giants started strongly and powered away.

Hogan made the most of a superb all-round performance from his side to bag a career-high haul, while being a key to the result with 17 marks and 24 disposals.

"It was a great performance. Every time the ball got kicked to him, it felt like he marked it whether that was on a lead or in a contest. I thought he just demanded the ball," Kingsley said of Hogan.

"You see the ones that he marked but I thought he competed really well, and when you do that, you typically get rewarded. Tonight was his turn."


Gun onballer Tom Green (39 disposals, 18 contested, nine clearances) was also crucial, as were veterans Stephen Coniglio (31 touches), Josh Kelly and Callan Ward (both 30).


The Giants made an early statement in the virtual elimination final as they booted 13.5 to 2.1 in the opening half while controlling the ball with 208-158 disposals and territory with 40-20 inside 50s.

Brent Daniels lit up the contest late in the opening term after marking just inside the boundary and bending a banana kick through from 40m for his second of three goals for the match.


GWS proved to be too polished from there and was able to manage Toby Greene by subbing out the captain in the third term.

Andrew McGrath (32 disposals), Zach Merrett (27) and Darcy Parish (25) found plenty of the ball for the Bombers, but had little impact as the Giants cruised over the top of them.


The Bombers swung a late change with Jake Stringer moved from the starting 22 into the sub role on his return from a foot injury, replaced by Jye Caldwell.

Stringer entered the match when the game was already well and truly out of reach and ended with 11 disposals.

"I've been really proud of the group this year that they've been able to fight and, at least up until round 23, put ourselves in contention to at least be part of finals,” Bombers coach Brad Scott said.

"In a strange sort of way that just makes it crystal clear how much work we've got to do on all aspects of our game, on all aspects of our list, all aspects of our footy department.

"I don't need to repeat that, the evidence was there tonight."


Essendon faces ladder leader Collingwood on Friday night, while GWS will be out to lock in a finals spot in the last game of the round against Carlton on Sunday.

Hogan takes no prisoners in blinding display
A lot was expected of Jesse Hogan since he arrived on the AFL scene and he has, occasionally, delivered, but never like he did on Saturday. The former Demon and Docker slotted a career-high nine goals, took an astonishing 17 marks - a couple followed by inexplicably unselfish pass offs to teammates - and scored a massive 192 AFL Fantasy points. At 28 years of age Hogan isn't exactly an unknown quantity, but his performance against Essendon will have opposition teams drawing up contingency plans ahead of finals now they know exactly what he's capable of.


Some unusual sub action
Essendon swung a late change, bringing Jye Caldwell into the starting 22 and moving Jake Stringer to the substitute role for the first time since his debut. The premiership-winning former Bulldog was swung into action in the second term but couldn't do anything to turn the tide against his side. The Giants' bench also had a rare, lengthy visit from Toby Greene with the captain subbed out early in the third quarter and put in cotton wool for the campaign ahead.

Toby Greene sits on the bench during the round 23 match between Greater Western Sydney and Essendon at Giants Stadium on August 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Giants just may be up to shading the Blues
A club-record seven-game winning streak for the Giants was broken with successive losses over the past fortnight, but Saturday's win saw them look as impressive as at any time this year and the feeling of irrepressible momentum is back. They couldn't ask for a harder final-round challenge than Carlton at Marvel Stadium, but the way the Orange Tsunami is rolling, they could be the ones to break the Blues' own nine-win run.


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    7.3    13.5    20.6    25.12 (162)
                                1.0     2.1      4.4      5.6 (36)

Greater Western Sydney: Hogan 9, Daniels 3, Greene 2, Bedford 2, Riccardi, Lloyd, Himmelberg, Green, Fahey, Coniglio, Brown, Ash, McMullin
Essendon: Langford 2, Phillips, Menzie, Caldwell

Greater Western Sydney: Hogan, Green, Coniglio, Himmelberg, Ward, Whitfield, Kelly
Essendon: Parish, Hind, McGrath, Merrett

Greater Western Sydney: TBC
Essendon: TBC

Greater Western Sydney: Toby McMullin (replaced Toby Greene in the third quarter)
Essendon: Jake Stringer (replaced Matt Guelfi in the second quarter)

Crowd: 10,281 at Giants Stadium