EXPERIENCED forward Daniel Lloyd missed the chance to be the hero in the dying stages as Greater Western Sydney produced a massive final quarter to pull off an unlikely draw against an improved North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.
Lloyd played a huge part in the Giants' thrilling final-quarter comeback with two clutch goals, but he shot wide and failed to score at all with a difficult chance from an acute angle with under a minute remaining as the Giants and Kangaroos played out the first draw of the season.
KANGAROOS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
The 14.10 (94) to 14.10 (94) result doesn’t really help either team with what they are trying to achieve this season, but the Giants will perhaps be happier to bank two points and stay in touch with the top eight given they looked dead and buried when they trailed by 28 points at three-quarter time.
With Jy Simpkin helping out the old firm of Todd Goldstein and Ben Cunnington in the middle of the ground, the Kangaroos were the better side in the opening half and could have led by more than six points at the main break if it wasn't for the individual heroics of Giants star Josh Kelly.
Aaron Hall and Tarryn Thomas got in on the act to help North Melbourne open up the 28-point lead at the final break, but the Giants weren't done with yet.
Toby Greene - relatively well held up forward by a reinvigorated Kayne Turner - was thrust into the middle of the ground and the move paid dividends immediately as the Giants kicked the first three goals of the final term to close within 10 points heading into time on.
Lloyd had hardly had a kick all day, but he helped tie the scores with a little over a minute remaining with two quick goals and the stage was set for a grandstand finish.
But Lloyd fluffed his lines with a tough chance and then Adam Kennedy failed to convert with a torpedo from 70m after the final siren as both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Aaron Hall (35 disposals) and Jy Simpkin (31) were the leading ball-winners for the Kangaroos, but both were upstaged by Kelly who contributed 39 touches and two goals in a marvellous individual display.
Reliable defender Nick Haynes (26 disposals and 10 marks) was also good for the Giants, while Tim Taranto (25 disposals and six clearances) and Jacob Hopper (22 and seven) were good in the middle of the ground.
Kelly's class can't save the day
The points may have been shared in Hobart, but there was no doubt Giants midfielder Josh Kelly was the most influential player on the ground. Kelly picked up 15 disposals alone in the second term and finished with 39 touches, 12 score involvements, eight inside 50s and two goals. His goal from the boundary on his non-preferred foot early in the final term oozed class and Leon Cameron will be disappointed Kelly didn't receive enough support to leave Tasmania with all four points.
Jy loves the Apple Isle
Underrated midfielder Jy Simpkin continued his Tassie love affair by picking up 31 disposals in a superb individual performance. Simpkin has now collected 30 disposals or more on three occasions this season, with all of those efforts coming in Tasmania. The Kangaroos always enjoy their visits to Tasmania and Simpkin seems to love it even more based on his rich vein of form in the most southerly state.
No more ‘Plain Kayne’
David Noble hasn't been scared to give Kayne Turner some big jobs so far this season and the rookie North Melbourne coach threw the much-improved utility another tough task when he gave him the job on inspirational Giants skipper Toby Greene. Greene was his own worst enemy with an inaccurate 1.4 in front of goal, but Turner stuck to his task all day to finish with 16 disposals and can hold his head high for a very good performance on the dangerous Giant.
NORTH MELBOURNE 5.1 9.4 13.7 14.10 (94)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.1 8.4 8.9 14.10 (94)
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 2, Larkey 2, Cunnington 2, Thomas 2, Davies-Uniacke, Goldstein, Mahony, Powell, Scott, Stephenson
Greater Western Sydney: Finlayson 2, Lloyd 2, Himmelberg 2, Flynn 2, Kelly 2, Greene, Taranto, Ward, Hill
North Melbourne: Simpkin, Cunnington, Zurhaar, Goldstein, Hall, Stephenson
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Haynes, Cumming, Taranto, Hopper, Flynn
North Melbourne: Nil
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
North Melbourne: Taylor (unused)
Greater Western Sydney: O’Halloran (unused)
Crowd: 3,462 at Blundstone Arena
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