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Match Report: GIANTS too strong

Michael Whiting,  June 24, 2017 7:35 PM

Greater Western Sydney stormed to the top of the table with a 60-point win over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba tonight.

In his 100th game Dylan Shiel starred, collecting 24 of his game-high 38 disposals in the decisive first half on the way to the Giants' 22.14 (146) to 12.14 (86) victory.

It was a tough night for the Lions who lost skipper Dayne Beams in the opening minute with a left shoulder injury. 

Beams was on the wrong end of a huge – and totally legal – bump by hulking ruckman Shane Mumford that left him limp on the ground and unable to return. 

Lions coach Chris Fagan said post-match that he expected Beams to play again this season.

In Heath Shaw's 250th, the Giants showed no signs of post-bye rust.

They led by five points at the first change and then put the foot down, kicking six goals in the second quarter and then burying the Lions with nine in the third.

But Giants coach Leon Cameron was critical of his team's final quarter, saying some players got "ahead of themselves". 

"For three quarters we were good, we were definitely the better team, but we were really, really ordinary in the last quarter," he said. 

"Concentration, not fatigue, it's concentration - and probably just some players getting ahead of themselves. 

"You've got a side that's one down - their captain, their superstar - Sam Reid did an outstanding job on (Dayne) Zorko, so their two biggest prime movers, and they kicked five goals to three (four) in the last quarter."

With Shiel on fire in the midfield, the forward line took full advantage. 

Jonathon Patton was sensational, crashing packs and taking 13 strong marks, six of them contested, on his way to four goals.  

Jeremy Cameron also kicked four, as did Toby Greene, who beat two opponents in Nick Robertson and Darcy Gardiner in a clever 20-disposal performance.

Callan Ward (28) and Lachie Whitfield (29) were also busy, but as Cameron alluded to, it was Reid that enhanced his reputation with a brilliant shutdown role of Lions midfielder Zorko.

Zorko has averaged 27 disposals a game in 2017 and kicked 18 goals, but he was almost invisible as Reid kept him to just five disposals – all in the first half - while having 17 himself and kicking two goals.  

Every time the Lions made a mistake – and they made plenty – the Giants pounced with quick transition. 

To the Lions' credit, they fought hard and won the last quarter when the margin looked like blowing out beyond three figures. 

"For us, winning quarters against good opposition is a really important part of our development and to be able to do that when it looked like we were on the ropes and ready to be absolutely smashed was one of the really pleasing aspects of the game," Fagan said.

"On the scoreboard we lost by 10 goals, but we had lots of little wins."

The performance of the young brigade pleased Fagan, with debutant Alex Witherden particularly impressive. 

The No.23 draft pick from last year finished with 20 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency, while fellow draftees Hugh McCluggage (19) and Jarrod Berry (18) also impressed.

Rhys Mathieson stepped up in Beams' absence, busting his backside all night to finish with a career-high 32 disposals.


Brisbane Lions: With Mitch Robinson and Allen Christensen already out for the season, they'll be sweating on the outcome of Beams' scans on Monday. Tom Bell broke his leg in a NEAFL game earlier in the day, meaning the Lions are starting to lose a few of their mature bodies.

Greater Western Sydney: Youngster Tim Taranto went off in the final quarter with a shin injury. Coach Leon Cameron described it as a "corkie" post match, but expected him to be available next week. Cameron also said he'd be "really disappointed" if match-eve withdrawal Josh Kelly (hip) also wasn't available next week.

The Giants should face a much sterner test of their premiership credentials next week when they host Geelong at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night. The Lions will travel to Melbourne to play Essendon at Etihad Stadium next Sunday.

BRISBANE LIONS   2.4   4.5    7.10    12.14     (86)                  
GWS                         3.3   9.8   18.11    22.14   (146)