Giants Tim Taranto celebrates kicking a goal during the AFL Derby match between the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants at the SCG. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Giants Tim Taranto celebrates kicking a goal during the AFL Derby match between the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants at the SCG. Picture. Phil Hillyard

No kung-fu, but Toby’s boots do talking

GWS game-breaker Toby Greene might have cut out the fly kicks, but his sparkling right-boot still served as a dagger to the heart of the Sydney Swans at the SCG.

Greene threaded the needle from an impossible position in the second quarter to put the brakes on a gallant fightback by the Swans, and then snuffed out any hope of a derby upset with another mercurial kick to start a final-term rout for GWS who ran out imposing 120-79 victors.

A depleted Sydney turned in their bravest and arguably best performance of the season to challenge GWS at stages despite the shock late scratching of superstar Lance Franklin, but in the end the exhilarating skill level and deadeye accuracy of the Giants left the Swans for dead.

The Giants stand-in captain in Phil Davis' absence, Stephen Coniglio was outstanding with four goals, while gun midfielder Tim Taranto took out the Brett Kirk best on ground medal.

 

Greene was wrapped in cotton wool by the Giants for the past month until he could no longer feel a sore calf, and coach Leon Cameron admitted the extra-cautious approach had left his attack dog feeling more like a caged lion.

But Greene picked up from where he left off when he destroyed Sydney - and controversially kicked a couple of Swans in the chest to boot - in last year's elimination final, with a three-goal performance which showed why he is the x-factor in the Giants' premiership bid.

Swans fans booed him early in the match, but it's unlikely GWS will be complaining like Collingwood and Geelong earlier in the week - given Greene clearly feeds on being enemy No.1.

 

Toby Greene was lethal near goal, and strong in the air. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Toby Greene was lethal near goal, and strong in the air. Picture. Phil Hillyard

 

Swans captain Dane Rampe declared pre-match that the club's season went on the line last night, and although they rose for the fight, the convincing 41-point loss would suggest it's now getting towards impossible that the proud Bloods will be playing finals football in 2019.

All-week the pre-game build-up centred on the enthralling match-up between Phil Davis and Franklin.

Davis was always in significant doubt with his rolled ankle, but the shock of having Franklin scratched with a hamstring strain threatened to take the wind out of the derby.

But for the best part of three quarters the contest delivered another memorable battle, and in a funny way the battling Swans might have grown more in Franklin's absence - forced to find other avenues to goal.

For the Giants, goalkicking juggernaut Jeremy Cameron rolled on with another three, while Daniel Lloyd also kicked three.

WHERE WAS THE GOAL CAMERA?

Sydney can have few complaints given the final scoreline, but coach John Longmire has every right to ask for a please explain about why a goal-line camera didn't appear to be used to adjudicate a contentious Lloyd goal for the Giants in the third term when GWS led by just six.

Swans forward Sam Reid slid into the goalsquare to claim a touch on the ball as it crossed the line.

The on-field umpire called it a goal from his position standing on top of the ball - but the decision was sent up for video review.

Fox Footy commentators felt the ball was touched before it had cleared the line, but with no conclusive video evidence the decision stood. Mysteriously, the camera fixed to the goalpost was not shown on the big-screen before the verdict came back goal. GWS were never headed from there.

Reid was criticised heavily during the week by Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd during the week, but he responded with a two-goal performance and his desperation to save a goal wasn't lost on teammates.

John Longmire opted to coach from the bench. Picture. Phil Hillyard
John Longmire opted to coach from the bench. Picture. Phil Hillyard

SWANS, WHERE TO NOW?

Franklin could miss next week's match as well and the Swans are haemorrhaging experience at the moment.

Kieren Jack's future in the AFL is uncertain following another injury, while experienced backmen Nick Smith, Jarrad McVeigh and Heath Grundy are all on the sideline long-term.

The positive last night was the return to form of co-captain Luke Parker, who kicked two goals and had 25 disposals.

Youngsters Jordan Dawson, Nick Blakey and Tom McCartin also showed their potential - but the Swans look set to miss their first September for nearly a decade.

 

Giant Shane Mumford (right) flexed his muscle to Swan Josh Kennedy. Pic: Phil Hillyard
Giant Shane Mumford (right) flexed his muscle to Swan Josh Kennedy. Pic: Phil Hillyard

 

 

CONIGLIO SHOWS WHY HE'S WORTH WITH MONEY

GWS handed Stephen Coniglio the captaincy against the Swans, as desperation grows for the superstar to soon hand back a signed contract in return.

Reports out of Melbourne suggest Hawthorn, St Kilda and Carlton are all circling the season's No.1 free agency target, and Coniglio only added strength to the theory he could command as much as $1.4 million on the open market with a commanding skipper's knock against Sydney.

With Giants co-captains Callan Ward and Phil Davis both sidelined for the first time in the club's history, coach Leon Cameron turned to Coniglio to fill the massive leadership void.

Coniglio bagged two goals in the first quarter and a decisive third in the third quarter - before adding a fourth in the last to cap his big night - to help the Giants take a gallant Swans side in another ferocious local derby.

The star midfielder suffered a suspected dislocated finger and played on with a glove in the second half.

Coach Leon Cameron described his effort to play on as "brave" and he and Lachie Whitfield (cork) will be assessed before next week's clash against St Kilda.

Vice-captain Josh Kelly once again dominated possession for the Giants and also remains unsigned by the club.

 

Coniglio was on point. Pic: Getty Images
Coniglio was on point. Pic: Getty Images

 

Not that GWS need to be told twice, but they should be giving the two star on-ballers blank cheques, so invaluable are they to the growing western Sydney powerhouse's push for a maiden AFL premiership.

The Giants remain confident both Coniglio and Kelly will re-sign, but they'd be feeling a lot more comfortable if they had signatures on the dotted line.

Kelly famously delayed his last re-signing two years ago for virtually the entire season, and he again seems in no hurry.

Coniglio refused to comment on his contract status when asked earlier in the week, preferring to concentrate on the derby ahead.

Born and raised in Perth, it remains to be seen whether Coniglio has any interest in heading south to Victoria where the bubble is fierce, as former teammate Dylan Shiel is discovering this season.

GWS are tipped to have the salary cap space to keep Coniglio and Kelly, but injured forward Jon Patton might be forced out.

The Giants other off-contract player is Adam Tomlinson and he too is on the radar of rival clubs.

Tomlinson might be the most versatile player in the competition and he was once again a steadying influence for the Giants at the SCG.

To their credit, the constant speculation doesn't appear to be affecting Coniglio, Tomlinson or Kelly's on-field performances.

Coniglio's leadership in the absence of inspirational captains Davis and Ward kept the Giants pumping even when the Swans were mounting their assault.

News Corp Australia


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