GWS has responded to a week of intense focus and strong internal criticism with a rousing 27-point AFL triumph over Essendon at Giants Stadium.
The fired-up Giants were looking to bounce back after an insipid performance last week but were unable to shake off the Bombers until slamming on seven consecutive second-half goals to set up a 14.12 (96) to 10.9 (69) victory on Saturday.
The Bombers (7-13) came into the clash having won four of their past five matches but had little answer to the Giants’ improved effort after briefly claiming the lead with two majors just after the main change, only kicking one consolation goal from there.
Jesse Hogan (four goals, 12 marks) set the tone with his intensity as he collected three tackles inside 50 as the Giants dominated that count 16-1, while the key forward was also his usual threat around goal and in the air.
Giants co-captains Stephen Coniglio (20 disposals, one goal) and Josh Kelly (19, one) led from the front in the midfield, while Lachie Whitfield (30, one) was one of the best afield and did plenty of damage with his sharp foot skills.
Harry Perryman (23 touches) was one of few Giants lauded by their coach last week and backed it up with a crucial role keeping Zach Merrett in check.
The Bombers’ star midfielder gathered 19 disposals but his influence on the contest and especially around the stoppages was down on his usual output.
Toby Greene (two goals) looked dangerous throughout but young forward James Peatling had to be subbed out in the second term after he chose to bump rather than tackle Mason Redman and they clashed heads.
Darcy Parish was straight back to his prolific ball-winning best after a month out with a calf injury, collecting 28 disposals and seven clearances and Sam Durham collected 23 touches.
Bombers spearhead Peter Wright had an enthralling duel with the Giants gun defender Sam Taylor but made the most of his chances with two goals, while Matt Guelfi slotted four goals from just six kicks.
The Giants looked eager to make an early impact after coach Mark McVeigh’s scathing post-match criticisms last week, with spot fires breaking out around the ground as both teams lined up for the opening bounce.
When play finally started, Stephen Coniglio rushed forward and snapped a goal after 47 seconds, and after Jake Stringer knocked Harry Himmelberg over before the ball had gone back to the middle the Giants had two goals in as many minutes.
The Giants’ victory snapped a four-match losing streak and lifts them to a 6-14 record and within reach of avoiding their first bottom-four finish since 2014.
GWS will be on the road next week to face arch-rivals Western Bulldogs on Saturday, while Essendon are at home to Port Adelaide on Sunday.
(C) AAP 2022