Josh Kelly celebrates kicking a goal with teammates during the round one match between Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne at Engie Stadium on March 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney has overcome a spirited challenge from a new-look North Melbourne to run away to a 39-point triumph on Saturday.

The Giants gradually wore down the sharp-shooting Kangaroos as Jesse Hogan dominated up forward for the second week running in the 17.19 (121) to 13.4 (82) victory at Engie Stadium.

GIANTS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

Hogan booted six goals - on the back of four against Collingwood in Opening Round - while hauling in eight marks and gathering 18 disposals, while Jake Riccardi made a fast-start with three majors in the first quarter against the Kangaroos' under-sized and inexperienced backline.


The Roos' already decimated defence was again hit by injury when young half-back Josh Goater dropped to the turf and grabbed at his lower leg after an innocuous incident with no one else nearby in the dying stages.


Giants onballer Tom Green made his mark as much around the ground as at the stoppages to finish with 37 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances and a goal, while Josh Kelly had 24 touches and booted two majors in his 200th match.

Stephen Coniglio (30 disposals) and Lachie Whitfield (29) found plenty of the ball as the Giants looked to link up through the corridor, but captain Toby Greene paid the price for wayward kicking to finish with 0.4.


The Kangaroos made 12 changes from their round one team last year including the addition of highly-touted draftees Colby McKercher and Zane Duursma.

Ball magnet McKercher made an immediate impact with nine disposals in the opening term while being trusted with kick-in duties on debut. The No.2 pick looked to create opportunities off half-back and regularly impressed with his slick kicking while gathering 22 disposals.

Duursma opened the scoring for the Kangaroos after streaming forward to leave his marker trailing behind and receiving a handball from Paul Curtis on the edge of the goalsquare in the first term. The No.4 pick added another major following a high-leaping mark in a promising debut.


The Roos booted eight goals straight in the first half to stay in touch with the Giants, even as the hosts held the sway around much of the ground with their rapid transitions. 

Luke Davies-Uniacke (29 disposals, eight clearances) and Tom Powell (26, six) were keys to the Kangaroos getting on top around the stoppages (32-27), while reigning Rising Star winner Harry Sheezel (32) was critical to their better ball movement.

Nick Larkey edged an enthralling duel with Sam Taylor despite the Giants' gun defender winning the battle in the air, as the Roos' stand-in skipper found other ways to score to finish with three goals.


The Kangaroos will also be buoyed by the efforts of Tristan Xerri (18 disposals, eight clearances) following the departure of club stalwart Todd Goldstein. The first-choice ruck had the better of Giants big man Kieren Briggs (nine, four) and drifted forward to boot a late goal.


Kelly reminds Kangaroos what they missed
It was fitting that Josh Kelly played his 200th match against the club that his father Phil played 61 games for in the 1980s, and the side the Giants midfielder grew up supporting. The Kangaroos turned to those links while making a play to poach Kelly at least twice in recent years, before the former No.2 pick extended his stay with the Giants. The GWS co-vice-captain reminded the Roos what they missed out on with 24 disposals and two goals in a typically polished performance off a wing.


Roos recruits impress on club debut
While prized draftees Colby McKercher and Zane Duursma looked more than capable at the elite level, experienced recruits Zac Fisher and Dylan Stephens showed how they could boost the Roos this season. Fisher was a standout with his run and carry while gathering 21 disposals, while Stephens' versatility will be crucial when the Kangaroos need to plug holes. Toby Pink faced a tough task in his AFL debut with his second club, but battled hard while under siege in the Roos' injury-ravaged defence.

Home hoodoo smashed in temporary farewell
The Giants were yet to beat North Melbourne on home turf after losing their three previous clashes at Engie Stadium, and dropping their only encounter at Manuka Oval in 2014. But the Giants have now beaten every club as hosts after smashing their hoodoo against the Kangaroos. The Giants quickly looked more familiar with the windy conditions and eventually blew away the Roos to make it back-to-back victories at Engie Stadium. However the Giants won't return to the venue until round 10, in part due to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY      4.3     10.7     15.11    17.19 (121)
NORTH MELBOURNE                   2.0     8.0     10.4        13.4 (82)

Greater Western Sydney: Hogan 6, Riccardi 3, Brown 2, Cadman 2, Kelly 2, Bedford, Green
North Melbourne: Larkey 3, Curtis 2, Duursma 2, Stephenson 2, Ford, Shiels, Xerri, Zurhaar

Greater Western Sydney
: Green, Hogan, Whitfield, Coniglio, Kelly, Callaghan, Riccardi
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, Sheezel, Powell, Fisher, Larkey, McKercher

Greater Western Sydney
: Nil 
North Melbourne: Goater (leg)

Greater Western Sydney
: Nick Haynes (replaced Xavier O'Halloran in the third quarter)
North Melbourne: Liam Shiels (replaced Callum Coleman-Jones in the third quarter)

Crowd: 8,034 at Engie Stadium