Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has no intention of downplaying his emerging club’s double digit tally of wins after they remained in AFL finals contention with a 32-point home win over Essendon.
GWS kicked just 3.5 in the first half, but slammed on 11 goals to four after the long break to record a 14.9 (93) to 8.13 (61) win at Spotless Stadium on Sunday.
The win moved 10th placed GWS to within two points of eighth spot.
“We’re still in the hunt and we’ve got a huge game against Port Adelaide next Saturday,” Cameron said.
It was a fifth win from six games at their Sydney base this season and ensured they equalled Gold Coast’s fourth-season tally of ten wins last year, with four rounds to go.
“It’s a great improvement, you can’t shy away from it, I’m not going to play it down,” Cameron said.
“We won six last year. Ten thus far is great.”
GWS, who were coming off successive defeats, looked more threatening in the second half after a suspected shoulder injury meant midfielder Tom Scully was replaced by key forward Cam McCarthy.
The Giants forward line then lived up to their name with four players over 190 centimetres in McCarthy, Jeremy Cameron, Rory Lobb and Jon Patton, who went goalless in his first senior game in almost 12 months.
GWS had ten goalkickers but no one finished with more than two, with Jeremy Cameron, Josh Kelly, Devon Smith and McCarthy each bagging a brace.
Bombers coach James Hird felt the most significant statistic was the 11.4 his team conceded from turnovers.
Although the Giants surge started just before McCarthy’s entry, Cameron believed the forward’s introduction helped kindle that spark.
“He’s probably been our perfect sub in our last year and a half because every time he’s played he’s probably come on and kicked at least a couple of goals,” Cameron said.
Turnovers apart, Hird felt Essendon paid for poor ball use and not taking early opportunities.
Essendon lead by seven and eight at the first two breaks respectively, despite kicking just two goals in the first quarter and one in the second. “We didn’t capitalise when we had the game on our terms in the second quarter,” Hird said.
Joe Daniher and Cale Hooker each kicked two goals for Essendon, who racked up 55 more possessions than GWS, with Brendon Goddard tallying a match-high 32.
Midfielders Toby Greene, Stephen Coniglio and Kelly did well for GWS, while Hird was happy with youngster Jayden Laverde and former Giants’ ruckman Jon Giles.
GWS laid on five goals to one in the third to take a 16-point buffer into the final term, outscoring the Bombers six majors to three in the final quarter. Essendon’s Adam Cooney was reported for rough conduct on Coniglio, who took a head knock, while Bombers defender James Gwilt suffered a groin injury.