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10:19am  Sep 18, 2018

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11:43pm  Sep 15, 2018

GIANTS' Best Footy Good Enough: de Boer

Adam Curley, AFL Media  September 10, 2018 10:38 AM

Matt de Boer gets away from Swan Isaac Heeney during Saturday's Elimination Final win. - GWS Giants,AFL,Matt de Boer,MCG,SCG

Matt de Boer gets away from Swan Isaac Heeney during Saturday's Elimination Final win.

The belief is there, and the ability is there, so it's just about executing the fundamentals well over and over.

The GIANTS' best footy is capable of winning the club's inaugural premiership this season, forward Matt de Boer says.

With star defender Heath Shaw (23 finals) out for the rest of the year with a knee injury, de Boer (14) has the most finals under his belt of any GIANT and is the only other player on the list with Grand Final experience, having featured in Fremantle's 2013 loss to Hawthorn.

The GIANTS demolished arch rivals the Swans by 49 points in Saturday's elimination final at the SCG, dominating the home side in contested possessions (163-124), and also won the clearances (38-31) and tackles (59-53) in the second brutal September clash between the two clubs.

While the Swans are usually unmatched in terms of the toughness in-close, especially in big games, the visitors not only met the challenge, they ran through it.

The GIANTS will now meet Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday for the chance to keep their season alive, and de Boer didn't hesitate when AFL.com.au asked him how far his side's hard-nosed approach can take them 2018.

"All the way, absolutely all the way," he said.

"The belief is there, and the ability is there, so it's just about executing the fundamentals well over and over and being stronger and tougher (than the opposition) for longer."

The former Docker was one of four big inclusions against the Swans, alongside Toby Greene, Brett Deledio and Zac Williams, which seemed a risk before the match with the quartet all coming off long injury lay-offs.

Williams made his first senior appearance for the season after rupturing his Achilles in January but had played two games in the NEAFL, while de Boer, Greene and Deledio had been missing since going down against Carlton in round 20.

Coach Leon Cameron was handsomely rewarded by his players, however, and de Boer said he was never worried about coming off a spell in such a big game.

Some fierce boxing sessions with GIANTS assistant coach Nick Walsh primed the four GIANTS for the heat of finals footy, and some well-planned training had them in the best physical condition possible ahead of Saturday's win.

All four could have played in the GIANTS' round 23 clash with Melbourne at the MCG, but the club took a conservative approach to focus all their attention on the first week of the finals.

"The priority was to get fully fit, and we did a lot of extra sessions and touch work every day to get right, so the coaching staff had full faith in us to come in and play a role, and then some," de Boer said.

"We've had a super couple of weeks and came in refreshed and revitalised.

"Leon challenged us and told us he wasn't going to nurse us through. We would go straight into our normal rotations, and he expected a high standard from us.

"We knew we just had to control what we could control, which meant extra boxing, touch work and visualisation, and we all stood up, so it was good."

Playing across half-forward, de Boer played a major role in the GIANTS' win by limiting the output of two of the Swans' best attacking weapons in defence, Jake Lloyd and Jarrad McVeigh, at different stages throughout the night.

Lloyd, who averaged 27.8 possessions per game during the home-and-away season, gathered just 17 against the GIANTS, while McVeigh (21.1) had 14.

"Lloyd is a great quarterback-type player and sets them up a lot, so he was my focus early, and McVeigh plays the same role," de Boer said.

"I had to switch between those two as well as focus on my own game, but when Leon gives me a role I'm more than happy to do it, whatever the team needs."

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