The GIANTS hung on by the skin of their teeth to record a one-point win over Frankston on Sunday as a set-shot after the siren sent Frankston Park into mayhem.
Leading by 12 points early in the last quarter following a goal from draftee Jason Gillbee, the GIANTS conceded eight of the last 10 scoring shots but did just enough to record a thrilling one-point win as the Dolphins’ inaccuracy cost them victory in gripping circumstances.
After Frankston’s Taine Barlow blew an opportunity to give the Dolphins the lead at the 23-minute mark of the final term, teammate Max Williams had a chance to become the hero moments later after marking 45m from goal just seconds before the final siren.
Trailing by a point and with a raucous home crowd behind him, Williams lined up for goal after the siren on a 45-degree angle with the opportunity to win the game - or at least salvage a draw.
After seemingly striking the ball well off the boot, the Frankston forward’s match-winning attempt looked certain to sail through the goals before chaos and confusion ensued around Frankston Park as umpires deliberated on whether a desperate spoil from GIANTS defenders on the goalline had stopped the ball from crossing the line.
With the result pending on the decision, and with players from both sides celebrating in unusual scenes, the umpires signalled moments later that no score was registered - crushing the hopes of the home side while handing the GIANTS a stirring 8.7 (55) to 6.18 (54) victory.
GIANTS VFL coach Wayne Cripps said he was proud of the fight his side showed in the epic win.
“In the context of our season it was a game we just had to win, and the boys did a really good job just to scrap it out,” Cripps said.
“It’s always a tough travelling down to Frankston and beating them on their home deck and we weren’t at our best, but we got a really important win.
“We had to fight and scrap, and you could just see how bad the boys wanted to win and they understood how important that win was, and we just competed until the final siren.
“It’s always better to get away with those close ones and we get to review it pretty hard and then go against the best team in the competition in Gold Coast next week.”
Just like their AFL counterpart, the GIANTS’ VFL side now sit in ninth spot following the win, with percentage the only thing standing in their way of a top-eight position.
Courageous defender Cameron Fleeton (25 disposals, 13 marks) was a clear standout for the GIANTS in the win, with a number of huge intercept marks and spoils throughout the day.
Midfielder Harry Rowston (22 disposals, six tackles) and half-back Josh Fahey (22 disposals) - who travelled to Melbourne after playing as the sub against the Crows the night before - were also strong contributors, while James Peatling (14 disposals, 10 tackles) worked hard on the inside.
Veteran defender Phil Davis (18 disposals, seven marks) did his chances of an AFL recall no harm with yet another strong outing.
Cripps shared his assessment of all 13 AFL-listed GIANTS who featured in the match.
AFL Listed Players:
1. Phil Davis
18 disposals, 7 marks
Phil was super. Once again, his aerial presence down there. He just keeps getting the job done week-in and week-out. The leadership and the guidance he provides for all our other backs is first-class and I thought he had a really good game for us.
18. Conor Stone
10 disposals, 3 clearances
It was one of those days where we struggled to move the ball with the dimensions of the ground, and he was probably affected a lot by that. Some of his patterns were really good and his forward pressure was at a high level, we just struggled to get our offence going and that’s probably a reflection as to why his numbers were low.
20. James Peatling
14 disposals, 10 tackles 3 clearances
JP’s inside game was fairly solid. He had a season-high 10 tackles which was great to see. He’s still got areas of his game he needs to work on but the way he competes inside and gives us use is first-class.
21. Leek Aleer
9 disposals, 4 marks
Another solid game from him. He gives us a really strong aerial presence and once again took a couple of nice marks and big spoils and does his job. He’ll keep growing in confidence.
24. Harry Rowston
22 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 3 clearances
Harry was up against some pretty solid inside mids and had to really adapt his game on the day and I thought he did a good job of that. He had some really nice moments defensively and offensively gave us some really good drive from the contest.
28. Cameron Fleeton
25 disposals, 13 marks, 3 tackles
Fleets was super. I think once again he just gives 100 per cent effort 100 per cent of the time. He had some big spoils and some big intercept marks, and he just puts his body on the line. He was hobbling all the way to the end, and he just competes. You talk about guys who fight to the death and that’s Fleets.
30. Matt Flynn
12 disposals, 1 goal, 21 hit-outs, 3 clearances
Flynny competed hard in the ruck but also bit a bit more time forward to help develop some of that forward craft. The way the ball came down and with the conditions, it wasn’t a great day for key forwards, but I thought he competed really hard in the ruck and gave us a good option forward of the ball as well.
31. Toby McMullin
15 disposals, 5 clearances, 3 tackles
Once again it was a tough day for some of our high forwards. But I thought he had some really good patches throughout the day with some of his pressure and that speed out of the contest.
34. Josh Fahey
22 disposals, 4 marks
It was a super effort from Fahesy playing a quarter in Adelaide on Saturday night as the sub for the AFL side and then flying down to Victoria at six o’clock in the morning on Sunday. For him to come down and compete for four quarters for us was really important. And once again, as he always does, he gave us some really good drive and got our offence started.
35. Max Gruzewski
4 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles
He competed really hard. Hes’ been working really hard on his leading patterns, and I think he took a big step forward with that. Once again, I think it was a tough day for forwards with the conditions, but I thought he played his role well.
41. Nicholas Madden
14 disposals, 30 hit-outs, 6 tackles, 4 marks, 4 clearances
Mads is a young ruck and we started him in the ruck this week which was great for his development and to give him a bit more time in there. I thought we started to see some of that development in terms of his ruck craft and aerial craft. He’s far from the finished product and he’s got a lot of work to do but he’s a hard worker and he’s getting there.
42. Jason Gillbee
19 disposals, 1 goal, 4 marks
It was good to see Gillbs bounce back after a pretty big knock last week. That outside run and that connection with some of our defenders was at a high level and he had some really good moments throughout the game.
45. Wade Derksen
6 disposals, 2 goals, 2 marks, 2 tackles
Another one of our key forwards who really competed hard all day. He’s another one working really hard on his patterns and his defensive pressure and in some pretty tough conditions. I thought he did a good job.
VFL Listed Players Stats
Coach’s Call Out: Will Shaw
12 disposals, 1 goal, 3 tackles
We’ve been trying to develop him as one of our high backs and I think his balance between offence and defence is starting to get there. He also kicked a really big goal for us. But some of his defensive efforts and his fight until the death in D50 are things he’s been showcasing the last few weeks especially.
11 disposals, 1 goal, 6 tackles
47. Ryan Hebron
5 disposals, 1 goal, 3 marks, 2 tackles
48. Jaelen Pavlidis
7 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles
50. Darcy Edmends
15 disposals, 2 clearances
51. Jakob Anderson
19 disposals, 6 marks
52. Barry O’Connor
13 disposals, 1 goal
56. Billy Clark
9 disposals, 3 tackles
57. Mitchell Conn
19 disposals, 3 tackles, 4 clearances
64. Nathan Wardius
6 disposals, 4 marks