Toby Greene looks dejected after Greater Western Sydney's loss to Carlton in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney's midfield was comprehensively beaten by Carlton in the team's 19-point loss, the Giants' first defeat for the year.

Coach Adam Kingsley wasn't pulling any punches when it came to discussing the output of the engine room, losing the clearance count by 16 – 14 of which came at centre bounces.

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"Role execution, better in contest, executed their fundamentals, workrate. Not something we could simply fix, there were multiple things. Once they started to get their game up and going, you could see they found a bit of energy and really challenged us, and we didn't match them," Kingsley said.

"We didn't get the job done through the midfield. Centre bounce clearly, we were obliterated inside, and so that led to really the game. We break even in there, we give ourselves a chance, I think. But we didn't get that one done.

"Then in transition, what we were doing really well in the first half, we didn't in the second. They're a very good transition team, coming into this game they were ranked No.1 in the comp for their transition and turnover game. For half a game, we did a good job of it. Eight goals to two at half-time, and zero goals to six after half-time."


A clearly frustrated Kingsley said changes were attempted from the coaches' box, but execution remained an issue for the normally powerful midfield.

"You can try and change your structure on the inside, and we had a variety of things we tried to do in there, we didn't get any of them done to the level we needed to. Then we go to personnel, and we tried to shift our personnel around and tried to get some new players in there, and unfortunately that didn't work either," he said.

"And so, one of those days when we just got smacked in there, so we get to work and try and fix it in five days' time against the Lions.

"I think our midfield is really strong, they just had an off night, beaten by a hungrier, better midfield."


Toby Greene and Jordan Boyd collided in a marking contest that bore some similarity to the incident that saw Peter Wright suspended for four matches earlier this year, although Boyd played out the game.

Asked if it was "hard for players leading at the ball now" on the back of the Wright case, Kingsley said: "No, just (for) Toby.

"There won't be anything in that. He's allowed to contest the ball, isn't he? He's allowed to launch for the ball? And if you're running and launching at the ball, you've got eyes for the ball, you're trying to take a chest mark and you get knocked, free kick against? 

"It's hard being Toby."


Carlton coach Michael Voss confirmed both the subbed Zac Williams (Achilles) and Jacob Weitering (quad) suffered corkies.

He was pleased with the composure and fortitude shown by the Blues after the Giants jumped out to three-goal leads on a few occasions.

"The phases of our game came together [more closely] today. Early parts of the season, we've had probably two that have been going OK, and then one that's been slightly off," Voss said.

"I'd say early in the game, certainly the way we defended – or the pressure we could get on the ball – wasn't exactly where we needed to be in the first half, and so we sort of dialled in on that at half-time.


"Fortunately, we were able to turn that around and that gave us some really good looks on the other side of the ball. [It was a] really pleasing performance because in the second quarter we were well and truly up against it. 

"I think [that] shows your growth as a team, is when you can sort of absorb that, acknowledge that it's happened, but then be able to lock in and tie back the score by a couple of goals late in that quarter, which gives you a bit of a look at it."

Carlton was boosted by the ruck combination of Marc Pittonet and Tom De Koning (who also booted three goals), the pair winning the hitouts 41-28 in just the second time this year they have played together due to structural decisions.


Voss said form would dictate whether the Blues would persist with two rucks, having spent the first month playing De Koning and Harry McKay as relief.

"The more games they play together, the better [Pittonet's] going to be, you know, he has the match fitness and to be able to play those games equally with Tom (also) being able to play forward and hit scoreboard," Voss said.

"We find that it's a unique strength of ours so to sort of see them both in really good form is particularly pleasing. 

"There's a lot of discussion on two rucks or not two rucks. We've got a style of play that we want to play, and clearly we had the dominance around the ball today, certainly from centre-square bounce we did. Their games were certainly impactful today."