With Greater Western Sydney and Richmond again tipped to be flag contenders in 2020, last year’s AFL grand finalists have fought out an entertaining match at Wagga Wagga, with the Giants coming out on top.
The rematch saw GWS win by 14 points, with a clash involving Jeremy Cameron and Tigers’ Kane Lambert providing the only concern for either club going forward.
Toby Greene booted five goals in a best-on-ground effort as the star-studded teams produced a contest befitting a grander stage, the highlight of which was Sydney Stack’s second-quarter screamer for the Tigers in which he clambered on top of Greene.
Momentum shifted frequently and the lead changed repeatedly before Greene’s three goals in the third quarter helped the Giants pull ahead.
The small forward, fresh from a four-goal haul when he played alongside Dustin Martin for Victoria, then slotted a late settler as GWS prevailed 17.7 (109) to 14.11 (95).
“It was good to get a good hitout … I was lucky to get on the end of a few,” Greene told Fox Footy.
Well done to him (Stack). It was a good mark. I was having a few words to him then he did that, so he had the last laugh.’’
The Tigers dished out an 89-point thumping in last year’s grand final, but Giants coach Leon Cameron will be pleased with the victory and the fact his club appeared to avoid any further injuries after Tim Taranto’s knock last week resulted in a shoulder reconstruction.
Cameron may be anxious to learn the match review officer’s assessment of his collision with Lambert that knocked out the Tiger in the second term.
The reigning Coleman Medal winner chased after Lambert, then tumbled to the ground as the ball was knocked clear of the boundary line, making contact with the midfielder’s head.
Lambert trudged off Robertson Oval, was assessed for concussion and played no further part in the match.
In Melbourne, Brisbane Lions overcame a 25-point deficit to end their AFL season preparations in fine style with a comfortable practice match win against Carlton at Ikon Park, while boom recruit Brad Hill starred and Jack Lonie kicked four goals as St Kilda completed an unbeaten AFL pre-season series with an 11-point win over Collingwood at Morwell.
The AFLW saw Fremantle knock up an 18-point win over Brisbane Lions to take its place as the lone undefeated team after five rounds.
The teams shared seven goals in the first period, but two each from Ashley Sharp and Sabreena Duffy put the Dockers 18 points to the good.
Duffy was the star in attack for Fremantle, scoring four goals from nine kicks to take the lead in the AFLW goalkicking race with nine.
She also registered four behinds and a score assist.
Her teammate Kiara Bowers was again outstanding with 21 possessions and 15 tackles to vie with Duffy for best-on-ground honours.
Emily Bates had an excellent game for the Lions with 27 possessions, while Ally Anderson collected 24 disposals. Jess Wuetschner kicked two of Brisbane’s four goals.
While the west coast team went goalless for almost two full quarters, the Lions could never get quite close enough and Fremantle won 7.8 (50) to 4.8 (32).
Melbourne took another step towards a maiden AFLW finals campaign with a commanding 59-point win over West Coast at Casey Fields.
Eight days after the Eagles recorded their first AFLW points, they were brought crashing back to earth by the Demons who prevailed 10.6 (66) to 1.1 (7), with a five-goal third term breaking open the game.
Karen Paxman (21 disposals), Eden Zanker (two goals) and Elise O’Dea (13 touches) starred for Melbourne, while Dana Hooker (14 touches) and Emma Swanson (13) were West Coast’s best in front of 1800 fans.
The Dees are guaranteed to be in the top two of Conference B at the end of Round 5, while the Eagles remain bottom of that table.