GWS bounce back, West Coast hit an off-season of uncertainty

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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114 Have your say

    GWS impressed in their officially sanctioned training run against West Coast on Saturday night.

    The first indication that it was a training session was the size of the crowd. The second was the blue and yellow witches hats parked in various positions around the oval.

    To be fair to the Eagles, they weren’t generally considered to be a top-eight side for most of the year, and only snuck into the finals based on a patented Melbourne Football Club fail, and by beating a travelling Adelaide Crows outfit resting stars and with nothing to play for.

    West Coast will hit Mad Monday at least knowing they have provided the highlight of the finals series so far, with their after-the-extra-time-siren victory in week one, but the toll of such an emotional high is usually seen the next week. Add in the back-to-back travel factor, and the fact that GWS were comfortably a better team over the course of the season, and the result wasn’t a surprising one.

    The Eagles will make a fascinating study for footy nerds during the off-season after two years in a row where they have made the finals, but been a long way from premiership contention.

    There have been four confirmed retirees already, in Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis, Drew Petrie and Sam Butler, and they have a number of players that are adding nothing to the AFL landscape. Think of Lewis Jetta, Jamie Cripps, Sharrod Wellingham and Mark LeCras.

    West Coast have to work out whether they need to make the courageous decision of taking a few steps back and embarking on a mini-rebuild, cutting dead wood and trading some players of value to attack the draft, or do they press ahead with what they’ve got, keep their depth players and try and add some more mature talent to their squad?

    These are questions for the Eagles coaching staff to decide, and fans to debate about in the forums.

    GWS still have a week or two of finals still to come, but will be running into more resistance than they found against West Coast.

    When there was at least some heat in the game, in the first half, the Giants were good inside the contest, winning clearances and contested possession, but also applying physical pressure that was causing the Eagles to fumble and turn the ball over.

    They are regarded as a quick side, but they look a lot quicker when using that speed to lay tackles and hit bodies.

    Steve Johnson GWS GIants AFL Finals 2017

    Steve Johnson of the Giants (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Once the inside battle was won, GWS were able to show the best of their outside game, running hard, linking cleanly, and putting their skills to good use.

    The Giants lost two talls, Jeremy Cameron and Shane Mumford, coming into this match, and replaced them with two mediums in Steve Johnson and Tim Taranto. Johnson kicked six goals, but didn’t do anything to inspire confidence that he can survive a game played at a more frenetic pace. Taranto showed his usual quality, with moments that make it hard to believe he’s a first year player.

    There is no doubt GWS went into this game with a smaller side, with one eye on Richmond at the MCG next week. The Tigers have the smallest 22 in the league, and run the larger dimensions of their home ground better than any team in the competition.

    The Giants did look too top-heavy against Adelaide in week one of the finals, but look more balanced this time around. It’s hard to see any changes to that 22.

    GWS made the preliminary final last year and has that experience to draw on, which Richmond do not. To offset that, the Tigers are used to playing in front of enormous crowds at the MCG, while the Giants have minimal experience on that kind of stage. Advantage Richmond, in that regard.

    West Coast are gone, with more questions than answers in front of them.

    GWS are in the final four again, as expected. Now to see if they can go one better than 2016.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (114)

    • September 17th 2017 @ 8:13am
      BigAl said | September 17th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      yes, yes Ha, your point has been noted – you are looking a bit of a tryhard on this forum !

      Where the Eagles are now is inexorably related to their 2015 GF debacle. They will never become competiive until everyone connected with that effort (players and coach) are gone from the club ! . . .and then some.

      • September 17th 2017 @ 9:47am
        sooky said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Still a club that you say ” will never become competitive until everyone connected with that effort (players and coach) are gone ” Will still bring much more numbers to a game even if a another final is years away. Thats far more competitive then the GWS franchise even with a cup: crowd numbers at matches they have alot more to worry about.. Maybe they can merge with gold coast: but even then they still wont have the numbers.. Waste of money and time the two expansion clubs…

      • September 18th 2017 @ 9:46am
        Mattician6x6 said | September 18th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        Did you just cal me a try hard big al?If so I haven’t heard that insult since I was a school boy a few decades ago know.
        Leave the men to discuss stuff and go back to your sand pit and imaginary girlfriends mate, you bleat like a newborn lamb and as your post suggest you probably have the IQ of a beast of burden at best. Have a nice day.

    • September 17th 2017 @ 8:51am
      RandyM said | September 17th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      yep, quite embarrassing. Just proves that Giants crowds are always boosted by traveling fans.

      The media can cheerlead for the AFL and keep telling everyone in Sydney about the NRL “crowd crisis” but last night showed the huge disparity in west sydney between the codes.

      • September 17th 2017 @ 9:27am
        Kangajets said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        No doubt the Giants crowds are small , but the overall development of afl in the juniors in New South Wales is going gangbusters.

        It took the swans 20 years to build their fan base

      • September 17th 2017 @ 9:38am
        mickyo said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Yes, in WS there is a huge disparity, that is stating the obvious, was it embarrassing ?, IMO no, i thought they would get 15/20k.

        They got a bigger crowd against the Eagles a few weeks ago, it was finals prices that kept the crowd lower, i wouldn’t have thought there was much crossover between the Matildas or the NRL, minimal IMO.

        • September 17th 2017 @ 10:27am
          RandyM said | September 17th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          Prices? there were thousands of free tickets floating around. I guess most people threw them in the bin…

          • September 17th 2017 @ 10:30am
            Mickyo said | September 17th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            Few giveaways via radio etc, but no mass giveaway, unlike the game next door which was buy one get one free or 8,000 tickets to school kids.

            • September 17th 2017 @ 11:24am
              Mattyb said | September 17th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              I think the GWS crowd was probably what was expected,but the AFL is making slow gains and they certainly have people looking over their shoulder which is some evidence of progress. Sydney’s a big place and I’m sure the AFL will just be looking to take some of the market,not all. Bit like selling records in America or Japan,you only need a niche market,and plenty of people still have no idea who you are,but your still making an awful lot of money.
              I was unaware of the figures,and I’m not sure which code the GWS critics are championing.
              I’d say the rugby figures were moderate,same with AFL but it is only one week. Looking at the Matilda figures in more annalistic depth,I’d say they would be encouraging for soccer,AFL and even cricket,who are all putting a lot of focus on woman’s sport which is proving a worthwhile venture.

              • September 17th 2017 @ 12:39pm
                Mickyo said | September 17th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report


              • September 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm
                Mattician6x6 said | September 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                Very good points Matty, do you play or are you a fan of more obscure/underground music?

        • September 17th 2017 @ 2:24pm
          Ha said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          AFL code in Crisis!!!! First they only get 14,000 odd now the AFL lose the Fox TV RATINGS!!!

          Sat STV #NRL #NRLFinals #FoxLeague #NRLEelsCowboys National 336k

          Sat STV #AFL #AFLFinals #FoxFooty #AFLGiantsEagles National 304k

          • September 17th 2017 @ 2:38pm
            Matto said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

            Ok, ill bite.

            League is still just fat dudes running at fat dudes. With the only tactics being get back really quickly after a tackle all the time and get it wide to the less fat, faster guys out wide.

            But yay tv ratings.

            • September 17th 2017 @ 2:43pm
              Ha said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:43pm | ! Report


              Fat Dudes!
              Really, that’s all you got.
              What a come Back!!!

              • September 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm
                Matto said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

                Nailed the tactics tho ay?

            • September 17th 2017 @ 2:53pm
              Ha said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

              Ok, ill bite.

              AFL is still just skinny dudes chasing a red ball with other skinny dudes. With the only tactics being kicking the ball really quickly after catching it. Then getting it to taller skinny guys near the goals and then get a point for missing.

              But yay 14,000.

              • September 17th 2017 @ 3:53pm
                Matto said | September 17th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

                Sounds like a much more interesting game than that one the fat dudes play.

            • September 17th 2017 @ 5:23pm
              mickyo said | September 17th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

              14,000 is about the same as the Wallabies got in Canberra, the Matildas got in Penrith and 2 NRL finals got last week, so working on those figures it is going ok.

              Did not compare favorably to Parramatta’s crowd last night, but it is also not the end of the world

              Not sure of ticket prices at those events, but would gamble a fair bit that the AFL finals tickets were way more than the Matildas or NRL final.

              I may also point out that GWS got 15k a month ago against WCE in the H & A season that was actually a record for a home match besides derbies against the Swans which also points to ticket prices.

              I guess it is disappointing when you compare standard AFL attendances but not so much when you compare to Sydney standards.

              Every year since their inception GWS have increased average home crowds and membership, ATM the biggest area for GWS memberships is actually Blacktown with around 1,000 members, followed by the Hills with 850 and then Parramatta 550.

              Out of 21,000 members 14,400 are in NSW and 4,250 are in Canberra.

              Lets see where GWS are at the end of next year and indeed in 5 years.

              The club is being built on a mens and now women’s football team with also a netball team in the National comp, there is no doubt they will continue to attract new fans and especially young families.

    • Roar Guru

      September 17th 2017 @ 9:01am
      gameofmarks said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      WOW! WCE were made to look like a third rate side last night. So many players didn’t fire a shot. Trade period will be interesting.

      Time to trade Masten, Cripps and Gaff. Apparently STK are interested in Gaff and a first round pick and a player would be a good trade IMO. Gaff is too slow and his possessions are ineffectual as more often than not he is just throwing the ball on the boot under pressure.

      Time to cut Hill, Wellingham, MacKenzie, Lecras and Tunbridge.

      Also time for Hurn to pass the baton over to Shuey and give a bloke with a few more years of footy in front of him the opportunity to Captain the new generation of WCE players that will take us to our next premiership. Plus Shuey is better at media pressers than Hurn, who is boring and like a cracked record.

      Other players on the list that should be given a good go next year are:


      • September 17th 2017 @ 10:01am
        Jack said | September 17th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        It’s old style football and players against new style. You’d think they had tired legs and travel blues seeing that game, but just watched Simmo’s post game talk and he said that wasn’t the case, that they just didn’t play their best footy against a team who did. If that’s the case, then this team deserves a big shake-up/rebuild and it’s coming finally. Too many passengers. Too much inconsistency. It’s been like watching a trainwreck in long slow motion. Knew the Eagles probably wouldn’t survive this game, but hoped they’d exit making a good account of themselves. But it was groundhog day again, another embarrassing finals capitulation. Nowhere to hide now. These were the players who were noticibly down in last nights match = mckenzie, sheed, shepard, lecras, wellingham, duggan, cripps, jetta, darling, petrie, kennedy.
        So retired are Butler, Petrie, Mitchell and Priddis.
        Under the Axe are Masten, Wellingham, Hill, Lecras, Tunbridge,
        Jetta is suspect. Gaff is slow. Darling is predictable. Kennedy is getting older.
        Of everybody out there Wellingham had fresh legs and a serious need to prove himself…he didnt!
        As was apparent end of last season, Eagles need pace, skills and a collective footy brain…nothings changed. hopefully that change is about to occur. including the coaching hopefully.

      • September 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm
        republican said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

        …….match fixing perhaps?

      • September 17th 2017 @ 4:11pm
        David C said | September 17th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

        I think MacKenzie has already signed on for another year. St K has pick 8 and I doubt they’d give that up for Gaff let alone a player as well. If WC want to move him on they’ll have to take unders.

        • September 17th 2017 @ 4:13pm
          Matto said | September 17th 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

          Would we get a 1st round compensation pick if/when he was to leave at the end of next season?

          • September 17th 2017 @ 6:24pm
            David C said | September 17th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

            That depends on the salary he is offered if he leaves. Do you think someone will offer 600K? Possibly. He’ll get paid more at another club than at WC.

            • Roar Guru

              September 17th 2017 @ 6:44pm
              Cat said | September 17th 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

              Salary and length of contract. Would have to be bigger/longer than the 4 year $2m Chris Mayne signed with Collingwood last year that netted Freo a 2nd round compo pick.

              • September 17th 2017 @ 11:31pm
                Matto said | September 17th 2017 @ 11:31pm | ! Report

                Shouldnt be hard.
                All australian winger and consistently top 5 in club champion vs a 1 year wonder defensive forward.

      • Roar Guru

        September 17th 2017 @ 7:23pm
        Paul D said | September 17th 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

        Spot on with the generational change comment, they will put a broom through this list in the off season. Simpson might be able to put his foot down more with some new blood too, guys he didn’t play against and aren’t a few years younger than him, but a full generation younger.

        Masten is a lower profile Jack Watts. Gone. If anyone rates Gaff get what you can. Actually agree broadly with everything you’ve said. Good run this season, played a couple of finals but this generation is spent. Rebuild for a few years and come back.

        At least your battle against the Dockers should be an epic contest in the new digs, next season you’ll be almost as bad as they are

    • September 17th 2017 @ 9:04am
      Gyfox said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      Worst AFL/VFL Finals crowd for 100 years.
      If that was an NRL crowd it would be the worst since the previous week!

      • September 17th 2017 @ 9:19am
        Benh2477 said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        It was ridiculous to have Parramatta Eels and the Giants on in the same time slot, surely it would have impacted the crowd numbers!

        • September 17th 2017 @ 11:50am
          Tom said | September 17th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          Agree should have had it at twilight. Also the tickets were really expensive.

      • September 17th 2017 @ 3:00pm
        Ha said | September 17th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

        The GWS 14,000 was the worst semi final crowd this year out of both code.

        Congratulations AFL!

        • Roar Guru

          September 17th 2017 @ 3:07pm
          Cat said | September 17th 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

          So AFL have one badly attended final and the NRL has all but one badly attended. Sorry code warrior but you are failing miserably.

    • September 17th 2017 @ 9:14am
      The Ghost said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Once again we have seen a changing of the guard up in Sydney. The new kid on the block has earned their bragging rights over the sad old tragic ugly ducklings from Vaucluse.

      Sydney are held captive to the chardonnay sipping Vaucluse peerage who run the club. They think they can buy their way out of the quagmire. Years of mistakes, including the monumental Tippett disaster have taken their toll on this sad club. McVeigh has to go. Longmire’s coaching record has to be questioned. The offloading of Nankervis, while persisting with the underperforming Naismith, has to be questioned. Until the old boy establishment are ousted from this club, Sydney will continue its dismal finals record at the MCG. Good clubs win anywhere any time. No more excuses Sydney! 2 premierships from 6 attempts since 1996 is not good enough.

      It’s a shame the team of champions are on a hiding to nothing as next week they come up against the champion team. The Team of the People will advance into the grand final ready to eat alive their challenger. The future is yellow and black. Jump on board as it is going to be an exciting ride.

      • September 17th 2017 @ 1:10pm
        Matto said | September 17th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        “2 premierships from 6 attempts since 1996 is not good enough.”

        Id say that’s actually at least breaking even.
        Just bitter words from another prematurely celebrating supporter of a club that has never tasted AFL success.

      • September 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm
        republican said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

        ……..I hope your right………

      • September 17th 2017 @ 2:26pm
        Maurice said | September 17th 2017 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

        Ghost is on drugs I think , other than hawthorn over the last decade the swans have been the best performing team . This year was a rebuild in the first six games. Most clubs take 6 years . They will be there abouts again next year. And the year after as they have done better than any other club in the last 20 years.

      • September 19th 2017 @ 10:04pm
        Mark said | September 19th 2017 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

        Imagine not winning a final for 16?
        Oops, you don’t even have to imagine.

    • September 17th 2017 @ 9:25am
      Kangajets said | September 17th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report


      That must have really hurt you to give some small amount of credit to the Giants . Lighten up buddy

      They had some fantastic players last night and it should be a cracker against the tigers .

    , ,