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Williams Goes From Strength to Strength in NEAFL

NEAFL: Round 21 Highlights Highlights from round 21 of the NEAFL, where the GIANTS played Brisbane Lions at Blacktown International Sportspark.
Zac Williams put in an impressive shift in his second game back from injury. - GWS Giants,AFL,Zac Williams,NEAFL
Zac Williams put in an impressive shift in his second game back from injury.
The year as a whole I couldn’t have been happier with the boys’ efforts in the way we played and dealt with adversity through the year.
GIANTS NEAFL Coach Adam Schneider

Zac Williams has continued his impressive return from a pre-season Achilles injury, racking up 37 disposals and taking nine marks in the NEAFL GIANTS’ 101 point loss to Brisbane on Saturday at Blacktown International Sportspark. 

A depleted GIANTS team was no match for the finals-bound Lions, losing their final match of the season 3.6 (24)  to 19.11 (125). 

Williams was one of just five AFL-listed players to line-up for the GIANTS on Saturday and was tireless in defence as he presses his claim for a return to the GIANTS’ AFL 22 for their Elimination Final against the Swans.

Zach Sproule rounded out his impressive season with two goals and 30 disposals, while rookie Jack Buckley kicked a goal and collected 24 possession in his first game since late July.

GIANTS NEAFL coach Adam Schneider said the result was a disappointing end to a season full of positives.

“Brisbane are a good team with some good players in there, we just couldn’t keep up with them,” he said.

“To make the finals would have been really exciting, we could have really challenged deep into finals, but that’s the way it worked out – we didn’t win enough games.

“But the year as a whole I couldn’t have been happier with the boys’ efforts in the way we played and dealt with adversity through the year.

“There were probably one or two games where we let ourselves down, but I thought the way the boys went about it was fantastic.”

Meanwhile, young GIANT Aiden Bonar was rewarded for his stellar year in the NEAFL, being named on the interchange in the NEAFL Team of the Year at the NEAFL Awards on Sunday night. 

Bonar kicked nine goals in 14 games for the NEAFL GIANTS and was named amongst their best players eight times before being called up for his AFL debut in round 20 against Carlton. 

“It was a fantastic effort from Aiden Bonar in his first year of senior footy to come into a new club and be thrown into the midfield and play against some quality midfielders,” Schneider said.

“It was a real credit to him, he’s done some extremely hard work, some of the stuff he does during the week to get himself ready is fantastic.

“A lot of credit needs to go to Damian Trusslove, our Development Coach, as he’s worked very closely with Aiden and got him up to speed and we’ve seen him get rewarded with playing senior footy at the end of the season.”

GIANTS 1.1, 1.2, 3.4, 3.6 (24)

Brisbane 3.2, 7.9, 11.11, 19.11 (125)


Goals

GIANTS: Sproule 2; J. Buckley 1 

GIANTS NEAFL Coach Adam Schneider on the GIANTS AFL listed players:

Zac Williams - 37 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles

“He played down back the whole game to get him back to his usual role, and the ball came in there a fair bit on the weekend. His touch was like he hadn’t missed a game. He was fantastic with ball in hand, which we know he is. He still knew how to beat a player one-on-one deep, he really did tick a few boxes.”

Zach Sproule - 30 disposals, 2 goals, 7 marks

“It’s been a fantastic year for Zach, he’s really improved and been thrown a few different roles. We played him in the midfield on the weekend for most of the game and he got plenty of the ball, and went forward and kicked some goals as well. It was a great finish to the year for Zach.” 

Jack Buckley - 24 disposals, 1 goal, 5 marks

“Jack’s had a very unlucky year to play games then cop a knock or a little injury here and there. It was good to see him play and get through a full game of footy, and play very well. I was very pleased with how he played and his contested footy was really high. A great way to finish the year, I think he’ll come back with a great deal of confidence.” 

Jake Stein - 21 disposals, 8 marks

“I can’t compare him to last year but from what I’m hearing he’s improved through the roof. The way he goes about it is fantastic and he’s very professional with the way he prepares during the week. You’d hate to be lining up on him as he just wears you down. Again a great finish to the season for Jake in what was a super year.”

Dylan Buckley - 10 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles

“A bit of a quiet day for Dylan, he had a really good defender on him with the Lions recognising that he’s a bit of a sharp shooter when he gets an opportunity. He had a really solid player play on him and beat him but he does a lot of things off the ball and really helps other guys around him grow because of his leadership.”