Giant-sized final quarter gets GWS on the board
There were giagantic celebrations in the GWS changerooms after their first win (Slattery Media)
On the greatest day so far in their short history, the GWS Giants got to belt out their club song for the first time.
There was real joy and conviction too as they set the walls of the Manuka Oval changeroom shuddering with:
“It’s the sound of the mighty GIANTS
You feel the ground A-SHAKING
The other teams are QUAKING”
For the Gold Coast Suns, a team desperately measuring its progress from last year, being beaten by the newer outfit was an awful result.
So awful, in fact, coach Guy McKenna has labelled it the darkest day in the club’s history. However, seeing that the club is only one season and nine rounds old, I wouldn’t get too down about it if I was a Suns supporter.
For this game the teams couldn’t use the usual excuses of having an inexperienced roster if they lost. Being a year older than their opponent, however, the Gold Coast had one less excuse.
It was an intriguing battle between two sides containing skinny armed youngsters who are yet to kick their first goal, old men on their last legs, and players in their mid to late twenties who have played less games than the kids.
And then there was the coming together of the rugby league converts Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau.
It’s a shame really that this highly anticipated match-up between the new boys of the AFL was played out on Manuka Oval. As lovely and traditional as the setting is – white picket fence, the old MCG scoreboard, one hundred year old elm trees, a tent and a pie stand – it’s all a bit suburban for an AFL fixture.
The backdrop and the casual wanderings of curious spectators were a distraction. Then, twenty minutes into the third quarter, the bells of St Christopher’s Cathedral starting ringing… and ringing … and ringing – silenced only by the three-quarter time siren.
Also the low-lying TV cameras don’t allow a good view of the action on the far side of the ground, making the game appear more congested.
Whether it was the size of the ground, a lack of skill or youthful over exuberance, the game also seemed to be a scrappy affair. There was much kicking out-of-bounds, passing to opponents and missing easy shots at goal.
Still, the contest was an exhilarating one.
The GWS displayed their usual pubescent aggression early but suddenly went missing, as they do, with the Gold Coast kicking the last six goals of the second quarter. Significantly though they stayed with the Suns until well into the final quarter. Then, in contrast to their last match against Carlton in which they failed to score in the last quarter, they kicked five goals to none; four of them in the final twelve minutes.
After seeing Karmichael Hunt for the first time this year I have to agree he is no longer a one trick tackling pony. He is now a genuine all round player. Folau uses his strength to create a contest but clearly lacks confidence in marking and goal kicking.
It will be interesting to see now what becomes of these two teams. Will the victory inspire the Giants to defeat greater opponents and will the disappointment of losing make the Suns lose their way?
The result of this game has affected another team, of course. The win pushed the youngest AFL club up the ladder from 18th to 16th and it sent Melbourne, the oldest club in the land, to the bottom.
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