LEON Cameron has quashed suggestions the pre-finals bye played a role in his side’s narrow demise in the preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs.
The Giants played just two matches in the last four weeks of their season, as their win over the Sydney Swans in the qualifying final earned them another weekend off.
Debate was sparked about the impact of the bye after Geelong - who like GWS had two weekends off in the last month - played at less than their optimum in the preliminary loss to Sydney Swans.
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“It’s funny how everyone says it’s one game in 27 days. It’s actually two games in 28. So, no,” Cameron said when asked about whether his side was flat because of the lack of continuity.
“In this competition you play with whatever you’re served up. I understand people need continuity, but you can’t argue about the Dogs’ form.
“I think it would be different if a side was coming in that maybe was just scraping through, but they belted the Eagles, belted the Hawks and stitched us up.
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“That’s two out of three on the road, so you have to clearly say they’re in form. So, I don’t see that as an issue.”
The Bulldogs did start slightly better, but the Giants soon reined them in, setting up a memorable Grand Final qualifier.
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Cameron, a former Bulldogs player, said he was happy for the club’s long-suffering supporters, but admitted he was “shattered” with his promising young side’s exit at the penultimate hurdle.
“Look, the game’s a goal the difference, so we could be sitting here really happy - but we’re not and, as I said during the week, there will be a fantastic story written on one team, and it’s not about us.
“I think there’s a good story that we’re on the march and I’m rapt that our boys are heading in the right direction, but the story’s obviously the Dogs, who’ve won through three tough finals to get to a grand final.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due and they were terrific.
“Clearly we finished third for a reason. We were the third best side in the competition. Us and Geelong finished third for a reason. Getting from third to second, or third to first, is our greatest challenge.
“In saying that, there’s clubs like Collingwood and Melbourne, exciting teams that have got young kids that are coming through - the competition’s in really healthy nick. But I’m confident that we’ll do the work and hopefully we can put ourselves back up there again.
WATCH The top five plays from the preliminary final
“I’m shattered because of the way we’ve exited because you just want to keep on going on. You get that hunger for playing finals footy.
“But I’d much prefer to play in these games every year to give us the opportunity to eventually, hopefully, one day get there.”