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Match preview: Greater Western Sydney v Geelong
Two top-four contenders lock horns in this early-season heavyweight battle
By Adam Curley on
Where and when: Giants Stadium, Saturday March 21, 7.40pm AEDT
Last time they met: GMHBA Stadium, round four, 2019: Giants 11.13 (79) beat Geelong 11.9 (75)
What it means for GWS: After the disappointment of the way last season ended, the Giants have started 2020 in positive fashion and need to continue their form against a fellow finals contender.
What it means for Geelong: The Cats failed to kick more than nine goals in both of their Marsh Community Series games, which were both losses. Tom Hawkins, Gary Ablett, Esava Ratugolea and Gary Rohan need to get their hands on it at Giants Stadium.
The stat: In last year's thrilling win on the road, the Giants' three athletic tall forwards Jeremy Cameron, Harry Himmelberg and Jeremy Finlayson combined for eight goals. The team won the marks inside 50 count 19-10.
The match-up: Lachie Whitfield v Gary Ablett
The Giants could look to exploit the star Cat, with Ablett unlikely to be able to keep tabs on his opponent when the home side has the footy. Whitfield covers plenty of territory, but he's also improved his one-on-one game greatly over the past two seasons, so he can match up on Ablett in Geelong's forward half.
In the spotlight:Stephen Coniglio
The new captain leads the Giants into a new era, and he'll be keen to put his stamp on the club's on-field performance from the first game of the year. The star midfielder was sorely missed in the second half of last season.
Big call:After his nightmare Grand Final performance, Jeremy Finlayson gets his season off to a flyer with a six-goal haul against the Cats.
Prediction: Giants by 27 points
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Giants' road to redemption starts with strong win over Cats
GWS shows clinical efficiency in downing Geelong
By Adam Curley on
A BREAKOUT performance from youngster Harry Perryman and some ruthless finishing in front of goal has helped Greater Western Sydney begin its 2020 campaign with a 32-point win over Geelong on Saturday night.
Perryman kicked four goals from 20 possessions playing on the wing for the home side in the finest game of his short career, as GWS held off multiple challenges from the Cats to get home 17.3 (105) to 11.7 (73) at Giants Stadium.
Geelong made a late charge with three quick goals in the final quarter until Perryman and Toby Greene each booted their fourth majors to seal the win.
Star forwards Greene and Jeremy Cameron (three goals) caused problems for the Cats inside 50, while Matt de Boer won his battle with Patrick Dangerfield and limited the Brownlow medallist to just 16 possessions.
Gun Geelong midfielder Mitch Duncan was his team's best despite his limited preparation, and kicked three goals from 21 touches, while veterans Gary Ablett (24 and a goal) and Joel Selwood (16) battled manfully.
Key defender Mark Blicavs had an entertaining match-up with last year's Coleman medallist Cameron and probably had the better of the duel, despite the Giant's three goals.
Giants stopper put the clamps on Danger Matt de Boer went straight to superstar Patrick Dangerfield at the opening bounce and the pair had another classic battle through the midfield. The explosive Cat started well with a brilliant long goal and gathered six possessions in the opening term, but the Giant kept a close check on him after that. Dangerfield gave away a couple of free kicks in frustration and, while he wasn't the visitors' worst, de Boer took the chocolates.
Time to pay the Perryman Going into the season opener GWS wingman Harry Perryman had four career goals to his name and was known more for his hardness at the footy than his goalkicking, but he starred for the winners and doubled that haul. The academy product started with an inventive effort off the ground in the first term and added another in each of the next three quarters. His fourth, a clever snap around his body ended the contest when the Cats had kicked three in a row midway through the last term.
Cogs settles in quickly as skipper New captain Stephen Coniglio wasted little time reminding the competition of his talents in his first game since round 17 last year. The midfield gun slotted a clutch set shot in the first quarter and snapped a brilliant second on his left boot right on the half-time siren. Coniglio finished the night with 19 disposals and six clearances to get his new role underway with an important victory.
Will Gazza ever slow down? Many predicted him to do so in 2020, but the way Gary Ablett started his 19th season showed it might be a premature call. The 35-year-old's laser-like pass to set up Gary Rohan in the first quarter was vintage Ablett, and his performance showed he can be a more than handy up forward for the Cats this year. The 345-gamer began the season with a game-high 24 touches and a goal.
Straight-shooting Giants Conversion in front of goals has never been a strong point for GWS, but the home side's accuracy against the Cats was outstanding and played a massive part in the win. The Giants kicked 8.0 before they registered a minor score, and while Geelong failed to capitalise on their hard work and wasted some chances, Leon Cameron would be a happy man with his side's finishing.
MEDICAL ROOM Giants: Midfielder Adam Kennedy pinged his right hamstring midway through the first term and played no further part in the game. Geelong: Quinton Narkle dislocated a finger, but had it put back in on the ground and finished off the match, while Esava Ratugolea copped a nasty poke in the eye in the third term, but also played on.
NEXT UP The Giants are on the road to take on Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, with the Cats hosting Gold Coast at GMHBA Stadium the following day.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 5.0 9.1 13.3 17.3 (105) GEELONG 4.2 6.6 8.7 11.7 (73)