>> For all the player stats, go to Match Centre on the AFL Live Official App
>> Telstra customers can watch Marsh Community Series games LIVE and free on the AFL Live Official App
LAST year's grand finalists have tuned up for the home and away season with a highly entertaining clash to finish the Marsh Community Series in Wagga Wagga, with Greater Western Sydney prevailing over Richmond by 14 points on Sunday.
The clash was played at a ferocious intensity from the opening bounce, and while the scoreboard was free-flowing – the teams combined for 18 goals before half-time - the pressure on the ball-carrier, especially in tight, was immense.
Both sides couldn't sustain their intensity for the whole game, but it was a tough hit-out and a perfect lead-in to the season proper.
GWS was extremely accurate in front of goal and eventually held off the Tigers to win 17.7 (109) to 14.11 (95).
The Giants were well served by star forwards Toby Greene (five goals) and Jeremy Cameron (22 touches and 12 marks), and Josh Kelly and captain Stephen Coniglio through the midfield, who all returned from the bushfire charity match to be highly influential.
Kelly had a match-high 34 disposals, while Coniglio added 32 touches and two goals for the winners.
Greene's five goals included three in the third term when the Giants threatened to run away with the game, with the last three of the quarter handing them a game-high 21-point advantage.
There may be a downside for the victors though, after Coleman medallist Cameron's knee connected with Kane Lambert's head, forcing the Tiger midfielder off and out of the match with concussion.
Power forward Tom Lynch, who had a quiet first half for Richmond, booted four goals after the main break to help the Tigers reduce the margin to single figures midway through the last, but the Giants managed to control the play for the rest of the quarter with both sides visibly exhausted.
Dustin Martin asserted himself on the contest in his usual fashion, especially in the first half, with the superstar Tiger dangerous playing as a forward and through the midfield.
He finished the day with 24 possessions, eight clearances and two goals.
Livewire small forwards Daniel Rioli and Jason Castagna caused the Giants some problems inside 50 and finished with two goals apiece, while gun onballers Dion Prestia and Shane Edwards, and running defender Jayden Short, were also effective.
Giants: Former co-captains Phil Davis and Callan Ward, star midfielder Tim Taranto, defender Sam Reid, and veteran Shane Mumford all failed to face the Tigers. Davis, Reid and Mumford should all play in next week's intra-club, while Ward and Taranto are injured.
Richmond: Big man Toby Nankervis, and midfielders Jack Graham and Kamdyn McIntosh didn't feature against GWS. Nankervis was an emergency, while Graham (shoulder) and McIntosh (ankle) could also press for a game in round one.
Greater Western Sydney: Green and fellow draftee Lachie Ash followed up on their exciting games last week to continue their strong push for a round one debut. Veteran ruckman Sam Jacobs was also very good and battled hard virtually one-out against Ivan Soldo and Callum Coleman- Jones.
Richmond: Versatile tall Bigoa Nyuon didn't get a lot of game time in his first game for the Tigers but looks an exciting prospect, while fellow draftee Thomson Dow also had little impact.
Marlion Pickett (MID) $170,000 After his fairytale 2019 run, the gifted midfielder is set to take on more responsibility with the Tigers this season, and with a full summer behind him, is sure to be a bargain pick-up.
Adam Kennedy (DEF) $485,000 The regular defender loves to run and finds plenty of the footy and looks likely to move into the midfield this year. Kennedy's speed is his biggest weapon.
The Tigers will take on traditional rivals Carlton in the first match of 2020 at the MCG on Thursday March 19, while the Giants head back to Sydney to prepare for a clash with Geelong at home the following day.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.1 10.3 15.5 17.7 (109)
RICHMOND 5.4 8.6 11.8 14.11 (95)
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 5, Himmelberg 2, Coniglio 2, Green, Langdon, Hopper, Hately, Daniels, Haynes, Finlayson, Lloyd
Richmond: Lynch 4, Martin 2, Rioli 2, Castagna 2, Soldo, Caddy, Lambert, Coleman-Jones
Giants: Greene, Coniglio, Kelly, Cameron, Whitfield, Perryman
Richmond: Martin, Rioli, Lynch, Prestia, Castagna, Edwards
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Richmond: Lambert (concussion)
Umpires: Whetton, Findlay, Rebeschini
Official crowd: 6556 at Robertson Oval, Wagga Wagga