Giant Task For GWS

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Rohan Kelly/The Daily Telegraph
Toby Greene has been recalled to the Giants team. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Rohan Kelly/The Daily Telegraph
Last Two Matches

Round 6, 2013 – Eseendon 120 d GWS Giants 81 at Etihad Stadium
Round 9, 2012 – Essendon 119 d GWS Giants 53 at Skoda Stadium


Form

     Rd 12       Rd 13       Rd 14       Rd 15       Rd 16   
GWS Giants    L  B  L  L  L
Essendon   W  B  W  W  W

Essendon survived its first week without injured skipper Jobe Watson, but only just. The 31-point win over the Bulldogs on Sunday flattered the Bombers, and the match was still in the balance until the last few minutes. Essendon has a tough run home so a clash with GWS is probably an ideal warm-up where the ‘Dons won’t have to go full throttle to get the points.

After almost knocking off the ‘Dogs in round 15, normal service resumed last weekend with GWS copping a shellacking at the hands of Sydney in the Battle of the Bridge. Apart from the four-point loss to the Bulldogs, the Giants haven’t got closer than 59 points in any match since they last took on Essendon in round six and lost by 39 points . The 129-point defeat by the Swans was the club’s second worst of the season.

Essendon has rested Tayte Pears, while Jason Winderlich is out with general soreness. David Zaharakis will miss a week with a back problem. Speedsters Leroy Jetta and Nathan Lovett-Murray come into the side alongside forward Stewart Crameri . GWS has made several changes with Setanta O’hAilpin and Rhys Palmer out, while veteran ruckman Dean Brogan has been included.


Key Men

(Bombers) Nathan Lovett-Murray – It will be an emotional return for Nathan Lovett-Murray on Saturday when he plays his first game since he was stabbed in a domestic incident in May. The veteran has played just one game this season, against Geelong in round seven. With James Hird resting some regulars, the 30-year-old has a golden opportunity to press his claim for further action heading in to the finals.

(Giants) Phil Davis – The former Adelaide backman missed the past couple of months with a back injury, but he made a welcome return last week, even if his presence did little to help the Giants’ cause against the Swans. He adds height and a calming presence to the Giants’ defence which belies his level of experience, as he still hasn’t reached the 50-game mark.


Prediction

Somehow GWS managed to lead the corresponding match in round six by 21 points at half-time before Essendon stepped up a couple of gears kicking 14 goals to five in the second half. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the ‘Dons take their foot off the pedal at times during the game, especially given the rough run coming up in the final weeks of the premiership season. GWS won’t exactly be saving itself, but the club’s main aim now must be winning the round 19 clash with Melbourne which is the Giants’ best chance of breaking their duck this year. Essendon by 66 points .

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