1. Jeremy Cameron has buried his finals demons
The Coleman medallist has copped some criticism in the past for his performances in September, but Cameron produced his finest effort in his club's most important game. The star forward attacked the footy ferociously in the air and presented a leading target from the moment the ball was bounced. He kicked a clutch set shot in the second term – his 400th career goal – and laid a strong bump on Pies captain Scott Pendlebury later in the term. His second goal put the Giants 27 points up just before three-quarter-time, and his third, another outstanding set shot put them up by 32 early in the last. Cameron was a star.
2. There's nothing like some prelim final controversy
Josh Thomas' first goal of the game reduced the Giants' lead to 20 points early in the last term, but it appeared to be touched by GWS defender Lachie Keefe. The goal umpire didn't call for a formal score review but there was a delay as the ARC video review team looked at the footage, before the umpire bounced the ball in the middle. The Pies used their slice of luck and stormed home, but ultimately fell four points short in a classic final after Chris Mayne's game-tying goal was judged touched before the line via a score review. The ARC team and the match officials – along with everyone in orange and charcoal – would have been extremely relieved to see the Giants hold on in the end.
3. The Giants' courage against the odds was immense
No Lachie Whitfield. No Toby Greene. No Stephen Coniglio. No Callan Ward. Phil Davis injured in the first quarter of the game. The Giants had no right to win but produced one of the great finals performances. They failed to take their opportunities early in the match and it looked like hurting them, but a stunning seven consecutive goals from late in the first quarter until early in the last, showed just how much heart the Giants have. Bring up the high draft picks all you like, but nobody can deny that Greater Western Sydney has the hardness to match it.
MAGPIES v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
4. Brodie Grundy couldn't have done any more
The star Magpies ruckman had 25 touches, 20 of those contested, 73 hit outs, 10 clearances and four tackles against the Giants, and clearly won his battle with Shane Mumford. The aggressive Giant did his best to curtail Grundy's influence and had some important moments in the dying stages of the match, but the Pie was outstanding. He didn't get enough support at ground level however, with the Giants winning the clearances 54-34 and onballers Scott Pendlebury, who was tagged by Matt de Boer, Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams and Steele Sidebottom below their best.
5. Toby Greene is a happy man
The star forward was heavily involved in his team's build-up despite missing the game after his controversial suspension, and he'll sleep a lot better on Saturday night after watching his teammates win through to next week's Grand Final. Tom Hawkins was visibly distraught watching Geelong bow out against Richmond on Friday night, and Greene would have been in exactly the same position if the Pies had won. He'll be a must-watch player in the decider and if anyone was born to excel on the biggest day of the year, its Greene.