GWS Looks To Become Giant Killer

Image courtesy of gwsgiants.com.au
Lachie Whitfield was the No. 1 pick in the AFL draft last year. Image courtesy of gwsgiants.com.au
Last Meeting

Round 22, 2012 – St Kilda Saints 163 d GWS Giants 35


Form

    Rd 1      Rd 2   
GWS Giants   L  L
St Kilda   L  L


St Kilda absolutely mauled the Giants in their only previous meeting, but that was at the end of a tough first season for the AFL debutants, and there would have been a lot of tired, young bodies running around Etihad Stadium that day. Fully refreshed and slightly bulked up over the off-season, GWS has been solid in its first two outings of 2013. The Sydneysiders got out to a fast start against a shellshocked Port Adelaide last round, only to be hauled in as the game wore on.

St Kilda has already dropped a must-win game this season, against the Gold Coast in round one. Another loss against a developing side would be absolutely disastrous for a team which should at least be sniffing around the final eight at the end of the year. The Saints stuck with Richmond for most of last Friday night’s game without ever really looking like taking charge, eventually going down by 17 points. All-Australian defender Sean Dempster is out with a hand injury while goalsneak Adam Schneider has a hamstring issue. Tom Lee, who tore up in the WAFL last season, comes in for his AFL debut up forward.

Manuka Oval in Canberra is a happy hunting ground for the Giants. They scored their first ever win in the AFL there last season with a 27-point win over the Suns in round seven. GWS was competitive in its other two games there going down to the Bulldogs by 42 and Melbourne by 25 . Former Freo Rising Star winner Rhys Palmer will miss the game with a calf injury.


Key Men

(Giants) Lachie Whitfield – When you compare him to another gun 18-year-old like Jaeger O’Meara, there certainly isn’t much of Lachie Whitfield, but what he lacks in size he makes up for with an ability to win the ball and a superior skill level for a player of his age. He was understandably quiet on debut in round one, but last week against Port he picked up 20 disposals and nine marks. Callan Ward is undoubtedly the club’s best midfielder, but Whitfield has quickly put himself up there with the likes of Toby Greene, Adam Treloar and Stephen Coniglio as serious teenage talents.

(Saints) Leigh Montagna – The sad news for Saints fans is that against Richmond it was the old firm of Leigh Montagna , Nick Dal Santo and Lenny Hayes at the top of the stats for the umpteenth time. The club is badly in need of an injection of youth and pace, but for the moment it is the club’s stalwarts keeping them in the mix. Montagna has always been a ball-winner, but it was his pressure that was most impressive against the Tigers as he finished with eight tackles. It will be a long season for the team, though, unless the old guard starts getting a hand each week.


Prediction

After losing on the Gold Coast in round one, there is no way St Kilda will be underestimating its opponent this week. Coach Scott Watters admitted earlier this week that the club’s premiership window was shut for the time being, and that he needed to start developing the younger players on the list. With the Giants having a bevy of talented teens, this game should be the perfect opportunity for some of the up and coming Saints to put their hand up for more responsibility. Gary Ablett Jnr got the Suns over the line two weeks ago, and the Giants probably lack a genuine match-winner like him to get over the line against teams like St Kilda. Saints by 22 points

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