Aaron Cadman celebrates during the round two match between West Coast and GWS at Optus Stadium, March 24, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney has ended its winless record against West Coast at Optus Stadium and continued the best start to a season in its history, strangling the Eagles for long periods to win by 65 points in a professional performance.

The undefeated Giants wanted to be ruthless in the west, and they were through the second and third quarters as they held West Coast goalless and went on an eight-goal run that broke the game open, eventually winning 16.12 (108) to 5.13 (43).

EAGLES v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats

It was the club's first win against the Eagles at Optus Stadium from five matches and just their second ever against the Eagles in Perth, with the Giants' midfield avenging a shock loss in the same match-up 12 months ago.


A competitive final term from the Eagles that saw them kick three goals to five against the 3-0 Giants ensured the margin didn't blow out as had threatened through an error-riddled third quarter.

Tom Greene (34 disposals and eight clearances), Stephen Coniglio (31 and six) and Josh Kelly (28 and seven inside 50s) were powerful in the middle and, with the help of dominant ruckman Kieren Briggs (34 hit-outs and 12 clearances), gave their team a 67-44 advantage in forward entries.


With star backman Sam Taylor racking up a massive 14 intercepts in defence, the Giants were also able to run in waves and punish the Eagles' turnovers, with No.1 Draft pick Aaron Cadman capitalising with a game-high three goals.

There was plenty of heat in the contest early as West Coast applied significant pressure to the Giants, held its own in the stoppage battle, and found a way to generate offence from its back half.

Harley Reid had the home crowd on its feet with his fearless, dashing style and ability to take on tacklers, while Tim Kelly showed his class with a running goal from 45m as the Eagles looked for opportunities to play fast and take the game on.


The Giants punish a turnover as well as anyone though, and once fundamental errors started creeping into the Eagles' game they pounced, kicking back-to-back red-time goals to put a 19-point gap in the game at the first break.

The second quarter descended into a slog. While the Eagles were able to get the ball in their forward half early, skill errors repeatedly let them down and the opportunities dried up as a result before the Giants landed three blows in six minutes late in the quarter.


By half-time they were 39 points clear and there were serious concerns for West Coast regarding the ruck dominance of Giants big man Briggs (23 hit-outs and six clearances to that point) against second-gamer Harry Barnett and ruck-forward Bailey Williams.

It was much of the same through the third as the Giants turned the screw and opened up a 10-goal lead, with West Coast at least showing some fight in the final term, particularly around the contest. 

Half-back Jayden Hunt was impressive with his skill and ability to take the game on, while onballer Elliot Yeo battled manfully onball for 27 disposals and nine clearances.


Cleaning up fundamental errors will be a focus for the team, however, after much of the hard work in the midfield was undone forward of centre.

Tall issues laid bare for West Coast 
The absence of injured co-captain Oscar Allen was clear to see on Sunday as Bailey Williams shifted forward to fill that hole and second-gamer Harry Barnett took on Giants strongman Kieren Briggs. The Eagles will likely go back to the drawing board after Barnett was substituted in the third quarter, with Briggs dominant. The hit-out discrepancy (44-24) is something the Eagles may have to get used to without Matt Flynn, but their ground-level midfielders competed hard to make sure the clearances (39-36) levelled by the final siren.  

Kieren Briggs competes with Harry Barnett during the round two match between West Coast and Greater Western Sydney at Optus Stadium, March 24, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Two No.1 picks show their talent 
Harley Reid did it early, with a dashing run down the wing that included a dummy and then a fend off as he danced around several attempted Giants tackles. Aaron Cadman did it late when he flew from deep to take a nice contested mark and kick his third goal after the final siren. Eagles fans were excited whenever Reid was around the ball, with his strength and class on show several times as he stood up in tackles and drew opponents. Cadman has enjoyed a much less hyped introduction to the AFL, but he is clearly building nicely after strong performance.


Taylor the brick wall 
Sam Taylor is widely thought of now as the best key defender in the competition because of his ability to both shut down his opponent and win the ball back through intercepts. Both were on show on Sunday, with the Western Australian recording nine intercept marks – one of the records for a match – and 14 possession gains through his smart positioning. He spent plenty of time opposed to Eagles forward Jack Darling, who had to deal with some difficult forward entries, but Darling's final tally of 0.2 and one mark from 12 disposals was also a reflection of the elite opponent he had come up against.

Sam Taylor marks during the round two match between West Coast and Greater Wester Sydney at Optus Stadium, March 24, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST COAST                            2.3   2.5     2.7     5.13 (43)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY   5.4   8.8   11.11   16.12 (108)

West Coast: Cripps, Hunt, Kelly, Waterman, Yeo
Greater Western Sydney: Cadman 2, Daniels 2, Hogan 2, Kelly 2, Bedford, Callaghan, Greene, Peatling, Riccardi, Thomas

West Coast: Hunt, Yeo, Kelly, Reid, Ginbey, McGovern
Greater Western Sydney: Green, Briggs, Taylor, Cadman, Whitfield, Kelly, Coniglio

West Coast: Nil  
Greater Western Sydney:  Nil

West Coast: Ryan Maric (replaced Harry Barnett in the third quarter)
Greater Western Sydney: James Peatling (replaced Lachie Ash in the third quarter)

Crowd: 42,401 at Optus Stadium