GREATER Western Sydney has started its new era under Mark McVeigh in style with a 52-point thumping of West Coast at Giants Stadium.
GWS outclassed the undermanned Eagles from the opening bounce to give McVeigh the best possible start as interim coach with a 21.12 (138) to 13.8 (86) victory on Sunday.
The Eagles will also be sweating on the fitness of Luke Shuey after their captain was substituted out of the match in the final term.
GIANTS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
Both teams were missing several stars, especially after the Giants made nine changes to their team from last week, but the hosts settled quicker with four unanswered goals in the opening nine minutes that set the tone for the match.
The Giants went on to post their biggest first-half score since round four, 2016 - and their second-highest ever - to lead 14.3 to 5.4 at the main break.
The most identifiable change made by McVeigh and the coaching group that now includes his former Essendon teammates James Hird and Dean Solomon, was to switch Harry Himmelberg from the forward line to defence.
Himmelberg looked comfortable in the backline and enjoyed the freedom to launch some torpedoes when kicking in after behinds, with one long bomb in the second term flying beyond the centre circle.
He was also able to add to the 17 goals he had already booted this season, after a 50m penalty on the wing set up a shot from the arc that Himmelberg slotted.
With Himmelberg pushed to the backline, Jarrod Brander spent more time forward in his third match for the Giants since being delisted by the Eagles at the end of last season.
Brander finished with 16 disposals and a goal against the club that drafted him from the Giants Academy with a first-round pick in 2017.
Co-captain Stephen Coniglio starred in an onball role with 36 disposals at 92 per cent efficiency, while fellow co-captain Josh Kelly (29 disposals) continued his strong form in the GWS midfield.
The Giants shared the goals around, with youngster James Peatling kicking three majors and six players, including Toby Greene and Jesse Hogan, finishing with two.
Tim Kelly (23 disposals) and Jack Redden (20) battled hard in the Eagles midfield and Alex Witherden (18) looked to provide some run out of defence.
Andrew Gaff made a slow start on his return to the West Coast line-up with only five disposals in the first half before spending more time on ball to finish with 19 touches.
The Giants face a tougher test when they take on Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday, while the Eagles face the Western Bulldogs at home.
You can't keep a good goalkicker down
One of new GWS coach Mark McVeigh's first moves was shifting Harry Himmelberg from the familiar environs of the Giants' forward line down to full-back, looking certain to end one of football's longest goalkicking streaks among active players. Himmelberg looked comfortable in his new role, even running out of the goal square and launching a 70 metre torpedo that sailed past the centre circle in the second quarter. However, you can take a man out of the forward line but you can't take the forward line out of the man, and Himmelberg managed to get within range courtesy of a mark and 50m penalty later in the same term. He wasn't going to let the opportunity pass and slotted a bomb from outside the arc.
The Eagles have hit a new low
Saturday's result leaves West Coast with just one win from the first 10 games, a feat the club has only achieved once before, in 1989, when it took until round 12 to notch a second victory. Worse for the Eagles is the way they have been losing - BIG! They sit on the bottom rung of the ladder with a percentage of just 51.5, the lowest percentage at this point of the season since the Giants’ first two years in the competition.
Bombers fans will already be starting petitions
The Giants' big win will have the locals smiling, as well as starting many people thinking in the north of Melbourne, especially around the Essendon neighbourhood. With the Bombers struggling and Ben Rutten feeling plenty of pressure bearing down on his shoulders, watching the cameras pan up to the GWS coaches box and seeing Mark McVeigh sitting alongside James Hird and Dean Solomon would have Essendon fans thinking 'what if?' It's only one win and against the 18th-placed team, but when a favourite son shows some form the fans get very keen to get him home. And when it's three favourite sons ...
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 7.3 14.3 17.7 21.12 (138)
WEST COAST 4.1 5.4 9.5 13.8 (86)
Greater Western Sydney: Peatling 3, Bruhn 2, de Boer 2, Green 2, Greene 2, Hogan 2, Sproule 2, Brander, Hill, Himmelberg, Perryman, Riccardi, Wehr
West Coast: Winder 3, Cripps 2, Dixon 2, Waterman 2, Clark, Darling, Duggan, Shuey,
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Perryman, Peatling, Kelly, Green, Himmelberg
West Coast: Kelly, McGovern, Redden, Cripps
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
West Coast: Shuey (back)
Greater Western Sydney: Jake Stein (unused)
West Coast: Brady Hough, replaced Luke Shuey in the fourth quarter