GREATER Western Sydney coach Adam Kingsley has expressed his disappointment that Brent Daniels was taken from the field in a tense final quarter to undergo a Head Injury Assessment.
The Giants lost their preliminary final to Collingwood by one point, with Daniels driven forward into the turf early in the final quarter in a Nick Daicos tackle.
MAGPIES v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
Daniels, who had 19 disposals, missed the final five minutes of the enthralling clash as the Magpies managed to hold on.
Despite his comments, Kingsley said he had not seen the tackle himself, but was "sure we will" seek clarification from the AFL.
"We were really disappointed to lose Brent Daniels to a HIA assessment that he passed, comfortably, in the last five minutes of the game, which hurt us around the ball, a little bit of leg speed, some overlap run, so that's extremely disappointing," Kingsley said.
"I haven't seen the incident, but from what I'm led to believe, it didn't warrant having to take him off the field to assess it."
The Giants had 21 more disposals – all handballs – than the Magpies, but were ultimately thumped in the clearances, down 18 overall and minus 14 in the second half alone.
Kieren Briggs came into the game under an injury cloud after hurting his shoulder last week against Port Adelaide, but Kingsley said it was a midfield issue.
"I don't think the ruck was the reason we lost the clearances by minus 18. That was extremely disappointing to be able to do that," he said.
"But it felt like Collingwood were on the move a little bit and striking through and we weren't actually playing on them, so that's on the ground-level players more than the ruck."
Kingsley completes his first year as an AFL senior coach by taking GWS from 16th in 2022 to a preliminary final.
"I'm certainly very proud of the group, their development, the way they fight and the way they hang in every game, the way they play to the last minute. They're a really special group and we need to make sure we maintain that level and improvement," he said.
"Entries were pretty similar, I felt like they had patches and we had patches. Really neither of us were finishing our work, to be fair. I'll slant it as we were defending well and not finishing our work, but 'Fly' (Magpies coach Craig McRae) will do the same thing, and he'll be right.
"When it's a one-point game, it can go either way. You can look at every little entry, every little instance where could we have saved a goal, could we have saved a point, could we have saved territory, and you go through all that.
"And I'm sure our boys will replay all their moments in their heads for a long, long period of time. But that's the nature of prelim finals, and the nature of losing by a point.
"You lose prelims by that sort of margin, and it burns in your guts forever."