SEVEN goals shared between star forward Toby Greene and exciting draftee Tanner Bruhn have helped a new-look Greater Western Sydney to victory against a dogged Sydney at Giants Stadium.
With the likes of Zac Williams, Aidan Corr, Jeremy Cameron and Heath Shaw departing during a tumultuous off-season, it was left to Tim Taranto (31 disposals), Jacob Hopper (25) and Tom Green (22) to get the job done in the middle as the Giants registered an 18.6 (114) to 12.14 (86) triumph in an entertaining contest that featured plenty of highlights.
GIANTS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats
Leon Cameron's side bolted out of the gates to boot the first four goals of the match, before the Logan McDonald-inspired Swans kicked five goals to one during the third term to reduce the margin to just two points at the final break.
But Toby Greene and Harry Himmelberg (three goals apiece) lifted in the final stanza to ensure the Giants will head into their season-opener against the Saints in 14 days time with plenty of confidence.
The Giants also looked to have unearthed a future star, with first-round pick Bruhn booting four goals in a mature display that included an amazing snap that travelled 65m early in the second term.
While the Swans were on the losing side of the pre-season contest, they will be buoyed by the efforts of many of their younger players and will also be bullish about their prospects this year.
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First-year trio Braeden Campbell (18 touches), Errol Gulden (14) and McDonald (nine disposals, five marks and a goal after sitting out the opening half) shone, while the experienced heads of Luke Parker (22 disposals and three goals) and Josh Kennedy (21 touches) showed no signs of slowing down with strong efforts in a hard-fought midfield battle.
Highly rated key position prospect Logan McDonald wowed the crowd during an impressive third term, with the first-year forward taking a handful of big grabs inside 50 and slotting an excellent set-shot goal with his first touch. Fellow teenagers Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden also did enough to suggest they will be solid long-term prospects in the Harbour City. Veteran recruit Tom Hickey (26 hitouts) was honest in the ruck for the Swans, while young GWS big man Kieren Briggs (22 hitouts) did enough good things in the middle for the Giants to likely ensure Shane Mumford will be kept on the sidelines for the start of the season. First-round draft pick Tanner Bruhn stood out for the Giants with his four goals and the youngster from the Geelong Falcons looks certain to feature in the opening round of the season.
Round one chance
Tough midfielder Chad Warner has only made two appearances so far for the Swans, but the talented teenager looks destined to add to that tally quickly based on his performance against the Giants. Warner had 19 disposals and a goal and looked poised with ball in hand in a solid display that John Longmire will notice. Similarly, Jack Buckley – son of North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley – did enough to suggest he will feature in the Giants' season opener with a two-goal haul.
Key defender Lachie Keefe hobbled off the ground with an ankle issue early in the final term and will be monitored ahead of the Giants' round one clash against the Saints. Fellow tall Phil Davis (knee) is likely to return for that contest, but Jesse Hogan (quad) and the skilful Lachie Whitfield (liver) will miss. The Swans will be happy they picked up no fresh injury concerns, with the fitness of superstar forward Lance Franklin still being assessed following a recent calf mishap. Important defender Jake Lloyd (knee) sat out the clash with the Giants, but is expected to return in round one.
With 19 per cent ownership, Tim Taranto (MID, $718,000) was already a popular option in Fantasy Classic. His breakeven is 94; more than 20 points down on what he produced in 2019. Taranto's game-high 121 points came from 31 disposals and appears to be the pick of the under-priced premium midfielders. Sydney looks to have a plentiful supply of cash cows. Errol Gulden (MID, $208,000) had a well-rounded stat line with 14 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a goal for 72 points while Chad Warner (FWD, $196,000) should add to his two senior games last year off the back of his 19 disposals and 70 points.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 6.1 12.3 13.5 18.6 (114)
SYDNEY 3.2 7.3 12.9 12.14 (86)
GWS: Bruhn 4, Greene 3, Himmelberg 3, Buckley 2, Lloyd 2, Briggs, Riccardi, Taranto, Green
Sydney: Parker 3, Papley 2, Rowbottom 2, Blakey, Gulden, McDonald, Warner, Wicks
GWS: Taranto, Green, Hopper, Greene, Taylor, Himmelberg
Sydney: Parker, McCartin, Warner, Florent, Rowbottom, Blakey
GWS: Keefe (ankle)
Crowd: 3164 at Giants Stadium