GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 5.4 8.6 10.9 16.11 (107)
PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 4.5 8.9 10.13 (73)
It should have come as no surprise, considering the career of Kevin Sheedy had been full of memorable victories, but in his 1000th game the Giants have upset the Power by 34 points, throwing Matthew Primus’ coaching career into a state of crisis.
The Giants have been on the end of a number of three-figure thrashings of late, yet started the contest looking like they’d notch the century by half-time. Port Adelaide looked as if they’d already banked the four points and lazily went about a horrendously soft quarter marked by turnovers and wasteful disposal.
GWS mopped up easily with Chad Cornes taking marks at will as free man in defence against his former club. With the ground speed on their fleet of young midfielders capitalising on Port’s turnovers, the Giants kicked five goals four in a dominant quarter, Port Adelaide only getting on the scoreboard with a behind with four minutes left to play, and notching their first goal after the quarter time siren. Bugg had kicked three and the Giants lead by 26 at quarter time.
A scuffle as the players made their way to the quarter-time huddles suggested at least that the Power were at least finally vaguely interested in the contest. Though another goal from a centre clearance to the emerging midfielder Adam Treolar within 20 seconds showed the Giants were well up for it today. Taylor Adams kicked one a minute later, and when number one draft Jon Patton pick got clear, marked and goaled the lead was ominous. Tellingly the Giants had kicked 35 points from Port turnovers.
After pressuring a turnover from the Port forwards, quick disposal through the corridor found Devon Smith found himself clear in the square and ran to the edge of fifty and bombed it through for a thirty point lead for the Giants. Power responded with Ebert’s second goal as Patton was forced from the field for the Giants with a shoulder injury.
The Giants surprisingly were finishing the better and with more run. Port looked out on their feet and GWS continued to boldly use the corridor. The Giants quickly extended the margin out to thirty, and yet Port Adelaide appeared still stagnate to stop the newcomers in the competition. Quick direct play again saw cheeky forward Cameron free, and he took great glee in strutting to the edge of the square and belting it into the crowd to take them to 101 and a 36-point lead.
Ebert got one back from a free-kick soon after, but a five goal margin with less than four minutes remaining would be too big an obstacle to overcome.
Sheedy has done a brilliant job instilling a sense of toughness and character in his young charges, but the irony of the result cannot be ignored. The Power champions of Mark Williams, Dean Brogan and Chad Cornes have all played large parts in creating the side which has sent Port Adelaide into possibly the darkest point in its long history.
Greater Western Sydney: Bugg 3, Cameron 3, Giles 2, Smith 2, Treloar 2, Adams, Cornes, Hoskin-Elliott, Patton
Port Adelaide: Brett Ebert 3, Schulz 2, Brad Ebert, Hartlett, Moore, P.Stewart, Westhoff
Greater Western Sydney: Giles, Ward, Coniglio, Smith, Treloar, Cameron, Greene
Port Adelaide: Cornes, Hartlett, Pearce, Boak, Brett Ebert
Greater Western Sydney: Patton (shoulder)
Port Adelaide: Carlile (hamstring), Logan (thigh), Hartlett (calf)
Greater Western Sydney: Will Hoskin-Elliott replaced Taylor Adams in the fourth quarter
Adelaide: Aaron Young replaced Hamish Hartlett in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Fleer, Pannell, Harris
Official crowd: 6,811 at Skoda Stadium