North Melbourne 7.4, 12.8, 20.9, 28.15: 183
GWS GIANTS 0.3, 0.4, 6.6, 8.6: 54
After a respectable debut under the lights at the ANZ Stadium, Greater Western Sydney got a taste of what the years to come may be like when they faced North Melbourne in Hobart.
It was a historic occassion for a number of reasons: North played their first game in Tasmania and GWS made their first ever road trip as an AFL side.
Under the watchful eye of over 11,000 fans, most of them decked out in royal blue, North Melbourne started the Tasmanian experiment with a bang – gifting those who’d come to show their support with an emphatic 129-point win.
The game was barely in doubt from the minute the ball was bounced. It took North just 40 seconds to convert their first major and it continued from there.
At quarter time, the score was 40-3 with the Kangaroos having barely broken a sweat. Kevin Sheedy was typically calm as he walked out onto the pitch to address his young charges, but right-hand man Mark Williams was the picture of concern.
Dead-eye Aaron Edwards had already slotted 3 majors, while the score could have been a whole lot worse if not for the work of the rejuvenated Chad Cornes in defence.
Sheedy’s words clearly had little effect as the game resumed. Liam Anthony, Leigh Adams, Brent Harvey and Ryan Bastinac controlled the flanks as they drove the ball from half-back to half-forward time and time again.
The highlight of the game may have been Harvey running from his defensive arc, giving two ‘give and returns’ as he burst through the middle and then converted from 50 metres out.
The Giants’ midfield was anonymous. Former #1 selection Tom Scully fought valiantly in his first game in orange as he looked to justify his pricetag, but while he managed to accumulate well; his kicking was absolutely diabolical.
The players jogged into the rooms at half-time with the score sitting at 80-4, GWS being the first side in many years to not have scored a goal by the main break.
However, whatever was done or said in the bowles of Blundstone was clearly a success as the Giants ran out ready to take the field. They scored 6 goals in quick succession as the ‘hosts’ were taught a harsh lesson on showboating.
Jeremy Cameron ended up with 4 and an NAB rising star nomination, but the Kangaroos were ultimately too classy for the new kids on the block as they won by a whopping 129 points – kicking the final 10 game’s final 10 goals.
Ryan Bastinac put on a show in front of the Giants, 44 possessions perhaps a statement to his alleged suitors that he would be every bit worth a large contract.
Toby Greene collected 31 disposals, while Chad Cornes and Brent Harvey both clocked 32. Liam Anthony and Leigh Adams were both impressive with 38 and 37 disposals respectively. Aaron Edwards ended the game’s top scorer, slotting 5 goals and 1 behind.
3: Ryan Bastinac
2: Liam Anthony
1: Chad Cornes
Umpires: Rosemary, Ryan, Mitchell