Despite a sizzling final term the GIANTS were unable to pull off a miracle comeback at home on Saturday afternoon as they fell short by 14 points to a strong Box Hill side.
Finishing the game with a wave of momentum, the GIANTS never surrendered as they cut a 35-point final quarter margin to as little as 8-points before ultimately going down 13.11 (89) - 11.9 (75) at GIANTS Stadium.
Max Gruzewski (4 goals, 12 disposals, 9 marks), who shone up forward alongside Wade Derksen (4 goals), had a chance to cut the lead to just 3-points at the 24-minute mark of the final term but failed to kick truly before Hawk Brandon Ryan iced the game moments later with his fourth major of the day.
While Gruzewski and Derksen did the damage up forward, Harry Rowston (23 disposals, 6 tackles, 6 clearances) battled hard through the middle while Josh Fahey (26 disposals, 5 marks, 5 clearances), veteran Phil Davis (21 disposals, 8 marks), and promising youngster Leek Aleer (18 disposals, 7 marks) were defiant down back.
Gritty ruckman Matt Flynn (15 disposals, 23 hit-outs, 6 clearances, 5 tackles) also performed well while Aaron Cadman (15 disposals, 2 goals) showed glimpses of why the GIANTS selected him with the no. 1 pick in last year’s National Draft.
GIANTS VFL coach Wayne Cripps said post-match that his side lacked effort across all four quarters.
“When we bring the intensity around the contest and pressure, we are a different team and our offense comes on the back of that. When we don’t bring those two things, we don’t get to play that GIANTS way,” Cripps said.
He said a positive was his side’s continued ability to never surrender.
“The boys have shown that a fair bit that this year just with our ability to just keep fighting ‘til the final siren. We had a similar performance against Collingwood where we came back from six goals down in the last quarter.
“Sometimes with a young group, once the pressure is released and it feels like they’ve got nothing to lose, they release the shackles and they’re able to play with a bit more freedom. It’s just about being able to find that for four quarters as opposed to when they feel like the pressure gauge is off.”
Cripps shared his assessment of all 16 AFL listed GIANTS who featured in the match.
AFL Listed Players:
1. Phil Davis
21 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles
I thought Phil was super. The ball was coming down pretty quick as they play a pretty fast brand of football and he defended really well in his one on ones and helped us get some speed on ball off intercepts.
5. Aaron Cadman
15 disposals, 2 goals, 5 marks
One of his better games for us this year. He’s starting to get more and more confident each week. He works as hard as anyone on the ground and just competes and now he’s starting to clunk a few marks and hit the scoreboard so hopefully he’ll keep building on that.
9. Ryan Angwin
10 disposals, 7 tackles
Ryan was good on the wing. Once again, a lot of unrewarded running, up and back, playing his role in helping our backs and giving us some drive offensively. He didn’t have huge numbers, but he had the most tackles and played a really important role for us.
10. Jacob Wehr
We gave him a bit of time at half forward this week for his own development. He did a good job for us playing his role and gave us some really good drive forward of centre.
18. Conor Stone
15 disposals, 4 marks
Once again, he’s at that ‘almost stage’ where he’s going to break a game open. He had some good moments inside breaking away from stoppage and it’s his follow up more than anything that’s starting to impress. He’s getting up and winning the ball across half back and then getting the ball back inside forward 50 so that workrate and that pressure is building each week.
20. James Peatling
8 disposals, 4 tackles, 2 clearances
‘JP’ was quiet but battled hard. It wasn’t his day from an offensive point of view but he played his role at stoppage and had some really selfless moments throughout the day.
21. Leek Aleer
18 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles
Leek was super and one of our best players of the day. His ability to either intercept mark or produce big spoils in our defensive 50 was super. More than anything we want him to have that confidence offensively to take the game on with his athleticism and I thought it was his best showing on the offensive side of the ball. If he keeps bringing that each week he’s going to be a serious player for us.
24. Harry Rowston
23 disposals, 6 tackles, 6 clearances
He was back to his best this week. He was doing his thing on the inside where he was hard and tough and gives us good drive from the contest, but what he added to his game this week was his ability to get out and help us defensively and get some ball in the back half and put on that really aggressive pressure that we know he can put on.
28. Cameron Fleeton
22 disposals, 7 marks
Once again ‘Fleets’ was ‘Fleets.’ He just defends like his life depends on it. He just gives us great drive and he’s just about one of, if not our most important player at the moment with what he gives us on both sides of the ball.
30. Matt Flynn
15 disposals, 23 hit-outs, 6 clearances, 5 tackles
He battled hard all day going up against some pretty good quality, AFL ruckmen and I thought he held his own in there. He did what he does behind the ball and played another important role for us.
34. Toby McMullin
16 disposals, 4 tackles, 3 clearances
He’s building. We put him up around the footy a bit more this week for his own development and to give him a new role. I thought he did a really good job in giving us a little bit more of that speed and power around stoppage and not just forward of the ball. So he’s starting to get a real good balance in his game at the moment.
34. Josh Fahey
26 disposals, 5 marks, 5 clearances
He hasn’t played a lot of football in the last little bit so it was good to get him back out there to do his thing across half back with his offense. He gave us some really good drive, particularly early on when he got our offense going.
35. Max Gruzewski
12 disposals, 4 goals, 9 marks
It was good to see Max get reward for effort as week in, week out, he just competes. We are just trying to build that synergy between our key forwards at the moment and fortunately he was able to get on the end of it and get himself a lick of the ice cream.
41. Nick Madden
6 disposals, 13 hit-outs
He’s a young ruckman who is still learning his craft. You can’t question that he competes and week in, week out, he turns up and gives it his all.
42. Jason Gilbee
9 disposals, 2 clearances
Unfortunately he went down with a bit of a knock in the third quarter. But I thought he was doing a great job for us on the wing until that point. His ability to get back and help the defenders on that wing and then give us good drive offensively was the ‘Gilbs’ that we know so I’m looking forward to him producing that again this week.
45. Wade Derksen
13 disposals, 4 goals, 5 marks
He had a big last quarter with four goals so that was a bit of reward for effort. He probably didn’t quite have the work rate required the week before, but it was a complete turnaround and he ran some really aggressive patterns for us and it was a different ‘Derk’ this week and he got the reward for it.
VFL Listed Players Stats:
Coaches Call Out: Jakob Anderson
He’s growing as a player. For a young 18-year-old VFL player he’s doing a great job across half back. His ability to come across and intercept and support others, while also joining in on offense, it’s pretty impressive for a first-year VFL player to be playing the sort of football he is and he had another great game for us on the weekend.
47. Ryan Hebron
8 disposals, 5 marks
48. Jaelen Pavlidis
8 marks, 3 tackles
50. Darcy Edmends
12 disposals, 3 tackles
51. Jakob Anderson
20 disposals, 7 marks
52. Barry O'Connor
20 disposals, 5 clearances
55. Will Shaw
12 disposals, 2 marks
56. Daniel Gauci