GIANTS VFL head coach Wayne Cripps is taking the positives out of his side’s 17-point round one loss to the Bulldogs at Whitten Oval on Sunday.

After being slow out of the blocks to trail by 21 points late in the first quarter, the GIANTS found their mojo for the next hour of footy, kicking 10 of the next 13 goals across the second and third terms to hold a 17-point advantage at the final change.

An upset win over last year’s finalist wasn’t to be however as the ‘Dogs showed their experience with a strong final term to run out 14.14 (98) to 12.9 (81) winners in the season opener for both clubs.

While they left without the four points, Cripps is upbeat about his side’s fortunes after the strong performance throughout the middle part of Sunday’s game.


“I think we showed some encouraging signs, especially with our offensive and defensive principles,” Cripps said.

“The most pleasing aspect of the game was our defensive mindset more than anything, we were really on in that space for a large period. We cleaned some things up around the contest as well, but I thought our ability to step in and put a lot of pressure on them and force them into turnovers was really pleasing. Then on the back of that we got some reward for effort on the scoreboard.

“But overall, it was probably a bit chalk and cheese with us, with our second and third quarters being really impressive, but our first and fourth leaving us with a lot to work on.

“For us it’s about getting consistent and making it look like a GIANTS game for four quarters and not just two.

“We’ll continue to focus on ticking the boxes we need to from a game plan point of view and really educating our players around offence, defence and stoppage, and look to put in a four-quarter performance next time we play.”

Cripps also shared his assessment on the 11 AFL-listed GIANTS who appeared in Sunday’s clash.


2. Darcy Jones

16 disposals, four clearances, three tackles, one goal

“Darcy is slowly building and once again really showed those explosive traits that he’s got. It was only his second VFL game so he’s only going to continue to get better.”

18. Conor Stone

12 disposals, four tackles, two goals

“He’s another player that had really good moments at crucial parts of the game. He showed that speed and power and his ability to put on forward pressure, and he got a little bit of reward on the scoreboard as well. He’s another player that is building form.”

21. Leek Aleer

15 disposals, seven marks, six tackles

“Leek had a big match-up on Rory Lobb at times and those two had a pretty good match-up. He had some good moments in that, and he’s a guy that’s just trying to do all the right things and he just competed really hard for four quarters. He continues to really look to join in on offence which is something that he’s been working on.”  

24. Harry Rowston

24 disposals, five tackles, eight clearances

“I thought Harry was a standout. He was going up against a pretty handy midfield and he led the way for us with clearances and contested possession. He really showed why we brought him to the club, and I thought he had some really good moments.”

25. Lachlan Keeffe

Six disposals, three marks, three tackles, eight hit-outs, one goal

“‘Keeffey’ is just everything you want in a player in terms of being really selfless and playing a role in our system. He’s a great leader around the group and he was another one who, at important parts of the game, had some big moments.”

31. Toby McMullin

Seven disposals, three marks, one goal

“It was a little bit of a quieter day for his standards but once again when he does touch the ball, usually good things happen. He’s just got to continue to work on finding that consistency now.”

34. Josh Fahey

30 disposals, eight marks, five tackles

“He had a good game and obviously gives us really good drive off the back half. With a young backline down there, he showed some pretty good leadership in trying to direct and position our boys in the right place.”

35. Max Gruzewski

Nine disposals, four marks, two goals

“The stats probably don’t jump off the paper, but I think Max could have had a big day out. What he’s given us offensively from a leading patterns point of view, and then competing, and then once that ball hits the ground, his follow-ups, it’s the best we’ve seen from him. He’s definitely growing and taken his game to another level.”

41. Nicholas Madden

14 disposals, 35 hit-outs, four clearances, one goal

“He competed really hard. He’s looking to join in on our offence and stay active in defence and he’s a young developing ruckman who is going to keep working on his craft and getting that consistency in his game.”

43. Cooper Hamilton

11 disposals, four marks

“He’s another one back from a long lay-off who is trying to build himself into form and continuity and I think it was another step forward for him this week and he’ll continue to get better.”

45. Wade Derksen

21 disposals, 12 marks

“’Derk’ is still learning that craft down back but he’s continuing to get better at learning what his role is in defence and in offence and the more games we get into him down there, the better he’s going to be.”


VFL-Listed Shout Out of the Week:  Marc Sheather

21 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances, one goal

“Coming in, we wanted that hardnosed midfielder to support guys like ‘Rowsto’ [Harry Rowston] and he definitely did that. He came in and had a real impact around stoppage with winning contested footy, clearances, and tackles. He’s just a bull and I’m really excited to see what he can produce as the year goes on.”

47. Ryan Hebron

Nine disposals, two marks

50. Harper Montgomery

12 disposals, three marks, six tackles

51. James Creighton

Nine disposals, four tackles

52. Tom McCaffrey

12 disposals, three marks, two clearances

53. Ethan Williams

14 disposals, five marks

54. Nick Quigg

15 disposals, five tackles, three clearances

55. Charlie McCormack

One disposal (managed game time)

59. Jackson Bowne

14 disposals, four marks, three tackles

60. Matt Harms

11 disposals, five marks, three goals

61. Izaac Hughes

Seven disposals, two marks

64. Josaia Delana 

10 disposals, five tackles