GWS got off to the perfect start to life under Mark McVeigh after taking a clear 52 point win over the West Coast Eagles, 21.12 (138) to 13.8 (86).
The Giants pitted the Eagles in a 14-goal first half to clinch their third win of the season. Stephen Coniglio returned to his best form when he returned to midfield.
Adam Simpson’s side was much more competitive in the second half, but he had already done damage as it fell to 1-9 in the season, including six consecutive losses.
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The result saw the Giants climb to 14th on the ladder, with West Coast remaining dead last.
There were no late changes for either side, with Jake Stein (GWS) and Brady Hough (West Coast) serving as the medical subs.
Toby Greene got the Giants off to a perfect start by scoring two goals in the opening minutes and looking ominous early on.
“I love when he’s in this mood… Harry Edwards will learn a great lesson that wherever Greene goes, you have to be right next to him,” the great David King of North Melbourne told Fox Footy.
Tom Green followed it up with the next goal to make it three majors in four minutes for the Giants to put the Eagles under immense early pressure.
It came when GWS crushed the Eagles in the middle, as the visitors couldn’t get their hands on the footy.
“Alarm bells are ringing in the West Coast Eagles’ box and in the minds of their defenders they are currently under siege,” said Lions legend Alastair Lynch.
But the Eagles suddenly found life with the next three goals, including consecutive majors from Jamie Cripps, before Matt De Boer on the other side responded with a high-scoring start to the game.
“It’s a goal fest,” Fox Footy commentator Dwayne Russell exclaimed.
The Giants piled on two more goals to make it 7.2 from the quarter of all nine of their within 50’s with a 100 percent success rate.
“This is the dominant performance of the Forward 50 as you will see. Jeremy McGovern is a non-factor right now, he’s down there, but has yet to hit the ball,” King noted.
GWS eventually took a 20-point lead in the opening break, 7.3 (45) to 3.1 (25), making his best first quarter ever against the Eagles.
Jesse Hogan took the lead in the second quarter, scoring the first two goals of the period to continue the Giants’ attack.
GWS continued to pile up the pain in the second term, while King lamented how easily it could get the ball into the goal.
“It’s just the little things that crept in, bad habits that crept in,” he said.
“It has been a very difficult situation for the Eagles, we understand that, but most of their problems today are not about talent. They are about effort, application and concentration.
“I get the erratic performance when you have inexperience in your team, but playing a set like that, once the ball has stopped you have the opportunity to defend one on one, it’s just bad.
“Broken tackles, especially in the backcourt, they just kill you. The simple things really hurt the West Coast today.”
Late in the second quarter, 56 of the Giants’ 81 points came from a break in the tough watch for Eagles fans.
McVeigh’s squad took 53 points in the main break in GWS’ second-highest scoring half in club history, 14.3 (87) to 5.4 (34).
West Coast forward Isiah Windler came out with increased intensity in the second term, scoring the first two goals to regain some momentum for the visitors.
But it was the Giants’ turn today, kicking the next two, including debutant Jacob Wehr’s first career major, when he was harassed by teammates.
Green scored his second goal of the game to continue his strong form, while Liam Duggan launched one from long range in a highlight for the Eagles.
It meant the Eagles actually won the term, trailing 50 points by three quarters, 17.7 (109) to 9.6 (59).
McGovern, who had had a great season so far for the West Coast, had made several unusual mistakes, including a sloppy handball turnover in the middle of the field.
“They weren’t confused because McGovern handball, a disastrous mistake by Jeremy, normally doesn’t make it. I think there needs to be another talk with the coach,” King said, referring to how Eagles coach Adam Simpson previously led the star defender on the sidelines.
Adding to the West Coast’s woes was Luke Shuey dropped out late for Brady Hough when the club suffered another lopsided defeat.
THE 3-2-1 (What We Learned)
3. THE INSPIRED MOVES OF THE NEW GIANTS COACH
Giants janitor coach Mark McVeigh scored a big win for the club in his first game in charge.
And McVeigh left his mark on several key changes that paid off that day.
The most inspired of these was Stephen Coniglio’s move from the front line to midfield. Coniglio was the best player on the ground, achieving a game high and season’s best in 36 disposals, 14 contested, with 419 yards won.
Furthermore, Harrison Himmelberg, the Giants’ leading goalkeeper this season, was moved to fullback, Callan Ward was shifted to a defensive flank and Toby Greene spent more time on the ball.
Fox Footy’s pundits praised McVeigh’s moves, and Lynch called it Coniglio’s best performance of the season.
“With the belt they got in the controversial ball and clearances last week, he probably went to his co-skipper and said, ‘Come in, settle it, be one of the leaders.’ He certainly did, he did well today,” said Lions great Alastair Lynch.
“I don’t think Coniglio will see much of the half for the rest of the year. He buried himself back in midfield and if his club has been well and truly under the pump, he has led beautifully. †
The great David King of North Melbourne was also a big fan of McVeigh’s “aggressive” changes to a redesign of all parts of the ground, noting that it had “provoked a reaction”.
“I think it’s fair to say that Mark McVeigh was not a fan of the forward 50 setup. He moved full attacker (Himmelberg) to full defender, and Coniglio, who was basically a striker, returned to midfield where he is strong,” he said.
“It’s a different look, and maybe more role players are involved, which is probably leaning towards more of the modern game.”
2. EAGLES’ BIZARRE PERCENTAGE BOOST
Another gig that for the most part was not fun for Eagles fans.
A match that went into with a realistic chance of winning, West Coast got the sword in the first half as the game was essentially out of reach through the main break.
It continued the club’s horror season, taking just one win in 10 rounds to finish 18th on the ladder. Though bizarre, and reflecting their difficulties in 2022, the Eagles’ percentage improved from 49.9 to 51.5.
Just as the West Coast has done all season, they came in with a long list of injuries, including a host of stars, and Luke Shuey is concerned after being out late.
But King commented at halftime that he believed the West Coast staff to be irrelevant, lamenting how easily it allowed the GWS to move the ball to goal.
“It’s an effort-based issue. They’re not prepared to go into battle, the scoreboard reads ugly, but it has nothing to do with talent,” the dual premiership Kangaroo told Fox Footy.
“This is all on demand today, and Adam Simpson would be furious at what he sees,
“They have to be sharper during halftime, otherwise it will get seriously ugly on the scoreboard.”
1. INCREDIBLE EFFICIENCY FROM GIANTS
It was a great day to move forward as Giants, and it came behind a dominance in midfield.
GWS crushed West Coast in disputed possessions (141-112) and also won cleanups (40-36), while being able to move the ball forward seamlessly at times and score at will from standing still.
At one point, just before halftime, McVeigh’s side had scored 56 points out of 81 from a stoppage, at a devastating pace for the West Coast.
“The Giants have been absolutely brutal on the clean up. We know this is a strong point of those players individually and of this team as a whole. It’s been like that during Leon Cameron’s tenure,” King told Fox Footy at halftime. .
“Their use of the ball within 50 was smart and they got some luxury.”
It resulted in the Giants having multiple goalkickers on Day 13 (including seven players with two goals or more), led by three majors from James Peatling.
And they were incredibly efficient at hitting the leaderboard overall, with 69 percent efficiency (33 shots out of 48 entries).
Lynch added: “They were not dependent on one attacker, the mobility of their front line to get up and back and isolate teammates was very good.”
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