Saturday, March 15, 2014

They Might Be GIANTS...no, wait....THEY ARE!



1. The Giants have arrived
It is only round one and they clearly lifted against their great rival, but all the signs are there that GWS won't be the AFL's easybeats any longer. They retained the hunger and competitiveness that has been their trademark, but the growth of their youngsters, coupled with the veteran savvy of players such as Mumford and Shaw, means they seem to have taken a significant leap forward already. Disregarded at times as a threat following three wins in two years, they are already one-for-one in 2014.

2. Swans flying wounded
There was rotten news well before the main event, with Swans defender Alex Johnson again hurting his knee. Johnson, a key member of the club's 2012 flag-winning campaign, originally ruptured his ACL in last year's NAB Cup. His initial reconstruction failed and he then underwent the LARS procedure and Saturday marked his return to football. The severity of his injury is not yet known. There was then a surprise absentee when co-captain Kieren Jack withdrew with a sore back. It was the first game he missed since round 15, 2011. Ryan O'Keefe, a surprise omission from the original Swans' line-up, came in as their sub. It was at least good to see Sam Reid, Gary Rohan, and Lewis Jetta for the Swans, who missed plenty of football last year through injury, get through seemingly unscathed.

3. Jezza and the General back in action
Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton were supposed to be the mainstays of GWS' forward line from day one, but two knee injuries in two years to Patton has prevented the man known as the 'General' from really getting his career started. Fully fit once more, he took his place alongside All Australian Cameron on Saturday and it was a sight to behold. Well held early on by Ted Richards, Cameron worked his way into the contest to kick a game-high four goals. Patton was busy early and then bobbed up with one of the sealers as he managed three of his own.

4. Brett Kirk Medal
The Swans had taken out every Brett Kirk Medal to date, awarded to the best player in the Sydney derby. But that all changed on Saturday, with Callan Ward a deserving winner. The co-captain managed 31 touches, 11 clearances, five tackles and a goal in an outstanding individual performance. Adam Treloar, Stephen Coniglio and Shane Mumford were also key contributors for the joyous Giants.

5. The weather gods also have an impact
There was already enough intrigue leading into this match as the Giants tried to show their improvement and the Swans kicked off a campaign that is expected to see them fight for another flag. But the weather then intervened to add to the drama. Lightning struck the ground, thunderclaps made the record crowd jump and the quarter-time break stretched to 25 minutes. When play finally resumed, it was the Giants that handled the moment better as they marched to their remarkable victory.

Twitter: @AFL_JD




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