The GIANTS have sealed their first win of the season with Stephen Coniglio reinforcing his return-to-form and Braydon Preuss impressing in the 12.11 (83) to 8.9 (57) victory over the Gold Coast at GIANTS Stadium.
The GIANTS midfield came out firing after criticism of their performance last week against Richmond, with co-captain Coniglio and club debutant Preuss joined by Tom Green and Tim Taranto in setting the tone around stoppages.
The GIANTS won the clearances 54-35 as the Suns' prolific onballer Touk Miller was restricted to only 17 possessions and Matt Rowell also had little influence on the match.
The resurgent Coniglio again looked to have rediscovered some of his best form as he collected 21 disposals in the first half and finished with 32 touches and a game-high 10 clearances in a stirring display.
The injury-prone Preuss made his GIANTS debut after arriving at his third club late in 2020 and had an instant impact with 34 hitouts, 16 possessions and seven clearances while getting the better of Suns co-captain Jarrod Witts.
The inclusion of the 206cm Preuss and 204cm Lachlan Keeffe allowed emerging onballer Green to leave the rucking to the bigger bodies so he could focus on winning the ball at ground level.
The 21-year-old continued his outstanding start to the season and ended with 28 disposals and six clearances, while also drifting forward to be a regular target inside 50. Green kicked 2.2 including a smart right-foot snap in the third quarter when the game was still in the balance.
Tim Taranto (35 disposals, one goal) also stood out in the second half in particular, while Harry Himmelberg (three goals) and Jesse Hogan (two goals) ensured the GIANTS midfield dominance was reflected on the scoreboard.
The Suns' co-captain Miller was unable to shake the close attention of Lachlan Ash as he dropped under 29 touches for the first time in the past 19 matches.
Mabior Chol and Levi Casboult (both three goals) kept the scoreboard respectable for the Suns, while Jack Lukosius was missed in defence but set up several shots on goal with his neat kicking when playing in the front-half.
It was a happy homecoming for the GIANTS who were playing their first match at their home ground for 287 days after being forced to play away from Sydney due to COVID-19 last year.
The GIANTS' victory improved their record against the Suns at the venue to five wins from as many matches, now by an average of 82 points.
The GIANTS travel to Perth to play Fremantle next weekend, while Gold Coast will look to bounce back when it hosts Carlton at Metricon Stadium in round four.
Preuss presses his claims
If Braydon Preuss is the perennial journeyman footballer then that journey has been taken on a very slow boat to this point. His first six seasons since being taken in the 2015 rookie draft produced 18 games at three clubs - everybody wants him, but no-one wants to play him. However, after his GIANTS debut the former Roo and Demon's career may start moving a little quicker. Preuss was up against Jarrod Witts and more than held his own against the Suns captain, finishing with 16 disposals, 34 hitouts and seven clearances. He also laid four tackles, some of them reminiscent of the bone-jarring types his predecessor Shane Mumford liked.
GIANTS 5.4 8.7 9.9 12.11 (83)
GOLD COAST 1.4 3.5 4.6 8.9 (57)
GIANTS: Himmelberg 3, Green 2, Hogan 2, de Boer, Hill, Keeffe, O'Halloran, Taranto
Gold Coast: Casboult 3, Chol 3, Holman, Sexton
GIANTS: Taranto, Coniglio, Green, Whitfield, Preuss, Hogan
Gold Coast: Rowell, Weller, Casboult, Fiorini, Sharp
GIANTS: Haynes (foot/ankle)
Gold Coast: TBC
GIANTS: Adam Kennedy, replaced Nick Haynes
Gold Coast: Josh Corbett (unused)