GREATER Western Sydney has responded to its lackluster season opener by destroying a lifeless Gold Coast by a record-breaking 102 points at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
Stung by their 56-point loss to Adelaide last week, the Giants brought much more intensity to their first home game of the year, beating the Suns 24.16 (160) to 8.10 (58), in what was their highest ever score and greatest winning margin in the competition.
GWS had winners all over the ground, as you'd expect in a lopsided contest, with Jeremy Cameron booting six goals and 100-gamer Toby Greene kicking five of his own.
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Midfielders Josh Kelly (27 possessions and three goals), Callan Ward (32 touches and 12 clearances) and Dylan Shiel (28 disposals and 10 clearances) were prolific ball winners, while co-captain Phil Davis was also outstanding in keeping his opposite number Tom Lynch goalless.
Giants coach Leon Cameron was understandably pleased with the way his side turned up the pressure on the Suns, especially the effort of Davis.
"It's really pleasing, he's obviously our captain, but (Tom) Lynch is a terrific player," he said.
"I think he's building his game by not just defending really well, he wants the ball in his hands a little bit more as well, so it was a pleasing game from him."
The visitors' effort and pressure on the opposition was substandard from the outset with former skipper Gary Ablett one of their worst offenders.
Josh Kelly ends the Suns' five-goal run and looks dangerous while doing so pic.twitter.com/jxavpCihch— AFL (@AFL) April 1, 2017
The dual Brownlow medallist was unsighted in the first half, so much so that his first kick came 20 minutes into the second term, with the champ eventually gathering just 16 touches for the match.
Rodney Eade's men had a brief period where they lifted and kicked five goals in a row either side of half-time, three of them to gifted young forward Jack Martin, but they went back to bad habits soon after and coughed up the next 10 as the Giants ran away with the match.
Five talking points: Giants v Suns
Apart from Martin, onballers David Swallow and Touk Miller along with ruckman Jarrod Witts, tried hard for Gold Coast, while Rory Thompson and Kade Kolodjashnij were resolute defenders and stood up against the wave of Giants' pressure.
The Giants lost big forward Jonathon Patton (hip) before the game but it mattered little; they kicked two goals in the first three minutes of the match, and seven in the first quarter, and were never tested after that in a way that would have satisfied coach Leon Cameron.
Eade remained surprisingly positive after the loss, and signaled a tough week at training for his players.
"We need to talk about what we can do and how we're going to go about it. We need to get back on the track and work hard," he said.
"We've got eight days now. That's the best way I know - hard work. There's no magic formula. You can't go down the street and buy some confidence from the shop."
Greater Western Sydney: Running defender Nathan Wilson left the ground in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on his left shoulder, but returned to the ground and should be right to play next week. Key forward Jonathon Patton (hip) was a late withdrawal, but should be in the mix to return next week.
Gold Coast: The Suns reported a clean bill of health.
The Giants head to Tasmania for a clash with North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon, while the struggling Suns take on hawthorn at Metricon Stadium in the round's final match on Sunday.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 7.4 10.8 16.12 24.16 (160)
GOLD COAST 1.2 5.4 7.8 8.10 (58)
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 6, Greene 5, Johnson 3, Kelly 3, Smith 3, Lobb 2, Reid, Shiel
Gold Coast: Martin 3, Wright, Witts, Kolodjashnij, Ablett, Barlow
Greater Western Sydney: Shiel, Kelly, Cameron, Ward, Greene, Davis
Gold Coast: Kolodjashnij, Martin, Miller, Swallow
Greater Western Sydney: Patton (hip) replaced in selected side by Sam Reid
Gold Coast: TBA
Umpires: Foot, Findlay, McInerney
Official crowd: 8,022