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Five Talking Points: De Boer Delivers

R4 Post Match: Simpson Hear from GIANTS ruckman Dawson Simpson after his impressive dual with Dockers big man Aaron Sandilands in round 4.

Lachie Whitfield's struggles with a tag continue
The gun wingman was lauded after a brilliant start to the year playing across half back in the absence of Zac Williams (Achilles), but for the second week running he was blanketed. Sydney's George Hewett did the job in round three and Fremantle draftee Bailey Banfield maintained the pressure in the first half, limiting Whitfield to just six possessions before the Docker moved onto midfield jet Dylan Shiel. Whitfield's foot skills and creativity have been sorely missed over the past fortnight, so the Giants must find a way to get him through this rough patch. A move back to the wing could be on the cards if he can't find a way to beat his tag, which could see Ryan Griffen slot into defence as he gets back to full fitness. Coach Leon Cameron is likely to give Whitfield the opportunity to bounce back before he makes a call, but he looks to be losing confidence by the week.

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A day of mixed fortunes for group of former teammates
With former GIANTS Nathan Wilson and Cam McCarthy, plus ex-Docker Matt de Boer all on the field, and former GIANTS midfielder Tendai Mzungu floating around as Fremantle's runner, the banter was flowing thick and fast. McCarthy had no influence in the windy conditions, while Wilson was below his best across half-back, but de Boer was a big contributor against the club that sacked him at the end of 2016. The tough forward kicked a goal in the third quarter after running with Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe in the first half and finished the day with 21 disposals and three tackles. Wilson's prodigious boot was unleashed on occasions, but his old side gave him little space to have the impact Fremantle were counting on, with Griffen keeping close tabs on the West Australian.

It’s always nice to see a familiar face. #begiant #aflgiantsfreo

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Sandilands and Simpson turn it on for the big boys' club
With Rory Lobb (knee) out injured, Simpson played just his third game in three seasons and performed admirably against his more experienced opponent. Sandilands dominated the match-up early, but Simpson worked his way back into it in the second term, and even showed some fancy footwork when he dummied around the Docker in the third quarter. There's no doubt the competition's ruckmen have made a resurgence this year and seeing the pair of big men slugging it out for the afternoon was a throwback to the good old days. Sandilands probably took the honours in the individual battle, given the Dockers won the clearances 40-28 for the match, but Simpson and the GIANTS would be more than happy to take the four points in round four.

Griffen makes a successful and welcome return
The former Western Bulldogs captain played his first game since round three last year and was a handy contributor up forward. Griffen kicked the opening goal of the game opposed to former teammate Wilson and added another before half-time, and while it wasn't the prolific ball-winning game the footy world is used to, he played his role in the win. More importantly, the veteran got through the match unscathed and showed no sign of the multiple ankle injuries that has robbed him of so much footy. He might be a forgotten man of the competition but if Griffen can regain his confidence – especially in his own body – his speed and quality foot skills will make him an important player.

Mystery surrounds Jeremy Cameron's fitness
The gun forward pulled up sore from last week's loss to Sydney and appeared to be carrying something into the game against Fremantle. In a strange afternoon, Cameron kicked the footy terribly early in the game and was limping noticeably at times but played out the match. He finished with 20 touches, 12 marks and seven inside 50s, plus a couple of goals, but Cameron's mobility was non-existent at times and he'll need to be carefully managed by the GIANTS. The 25-year-old had some persistent hamstring issues during the second half of last season and will be one to watch ahead of the club's trip to Melbourne when they take on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium in round five.