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Giants bank on middle men for maximum impact

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A POWERFUL midfield response to a below par finish to the home-and-away season has Greater Western Sydney onballers confident of a turnaround of another kind when they face Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night.

The Giants beat eventual premiers Richmond in all of the important statistical categories (contested possessions, clearances and inside 50s) in last year's preliminary final at the venue, but poor ball use and decision-making in the first half in particular cost them dearly.

The clinical Tigers rattled off six goals to one in the third term and went on to win the contest by 36 points, with Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin and Kane Lambert highly influential onballers.

GWS vice-captain Stephen Coniglio told that his midfielders learnt plenty from that loss and the occasion, and said he was buoyed by the way they dominated Sydney in last week's elimination final.

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The Giants were smacked by the Swans in the second half and then by Melbourne in their final two matches of the season, but turned things around significantly on Saturday night.

"The last couple of games of the year were disappointing, especially the Melbourne one, so we were really happy we were able to put together a performance like that," Coniglio said.

"Every time I looked around we had them outnumbered at the contest, so to win the contested ball, something we know the Swans pride themselves on, went a long way towards helping us win."

Things don't get any easier for the Giants this week, with the home side's midfield unit led by All Australian ruckman Brodie Grundy.

GWS big man Rory Lobb was well beaten by the Magpie when the teams met in round two at the MCG, but his side managed to win by 16 points, and Coniglio has backed Lobb to respond to the challenge as he continues to improve and develop as a ruckman.

"I remember when I was learning the midfield craft I got touched up plenty of times by guys like Gary Ablett and Scott Pendlebury, and they would rack up 30 possessions on me," he said.

"It's one of those great learning points, as long as you can review your games and take away some learnings about how to exploit them next time.

"I was really proud of 'Lobby' on the weekend, I think he did that last week with (Swans ruckman Callum) Sinclair and really took it up to him, and we expect the same result this weekend."

Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury and All Australian Steele Sidebottom head the list of midfield stars to benefit from Grundy's massive season, with former Giants Taylor Adams and Adam Treloar also sure to give the visitors headaches.

Coniglio was once the go-to man for GWS whenever the team needed an opposition onballer shut down, and while he's now a midfield star of the competition in his own right, he said he'd have no issue turning back the clock against the Pies.

"I haven't done it in a while, but if Leon asks me then I'm more than happy to do it," he said.

"I think 'Tay' has been really consistent for the last two months, and for 'Adzy' to slot straight back in after such a bad injury just shows his class, and they're both quality players.

"You can expect a few fiery contests with those guys.

"I saw 'Tay' was on social media urging all the Collingwood fans to get to the game, but there might be a few Taylor Adams Giants' jumpers floating around you never know."