A final-quarter blitz and a match-winning performance from James Peatling saw the GIANTS record a brilliant 14-point comeback win over Port Melbourne in the VFL in Blacktown on Sunday.

Trailing for most of the match and by 12 points at the final break, the GIANTS saved their best for last as Peatling and teammate Tom McCaffrey both kicked back-to-back final-quarter goals as the Orange Tsunami surged home to record a 9.17 (71) to 8.9 (57) victory.


While several AFL-listed GIANTS shone in the comeback win, it was Peatling who stole the show as he finished with 31 disposals, 10 clearances, six tackles and two brilliant final-quarter goals to turn the tide for the GIANTS.

Returning to the VFL this week alongside Jacob Wehr as the two AFL omissions for returning pair Josh Kelly and Jack Buckley, Peatling appeared above the level in Blacktown on Sunday in a best-on-ground display.

Already the standout contributor on the ground to that point in time, Peatling took his game to another level early in the final term, following up a clever snap goal from a free kick with a brilliant snap from 45m out moments later to give the GIANTS a one-point lead.

Peatling’s brilliance shifted the momentum of the match and it appeared to be contagious as teammate McCaffrey soon kicked back-to-back goals of his own to help turn what was a 12-point deficit moments earlier into a 14-point lead in the blink of an eye.

When emerging key forward Max Gruzewski kicked his second of the match moments later it was five straight unanswered goals for the GIANTS who cruised home to register a gutsy two-goal win.

The win looked unlikely for the GIANTS early on after giving up four of the first five goals of the match to trail by 18 points at quarter time before a defensive clinic over the middle two terms saw them grind their way back into the contest.

The GIANTS held the Borough to just one goal in almost 60 minutes of football across the second and third terms before Port Melbourne forward Billy Gowers kicked two quick goals in the closing minutes of the third quarter to give the visitors a 12-point lead at the final break. 

The Borough’s lead was short-lived however as Peatling sparked his side to a memorable come-from-behind win. 

Aiding 23-year-old Peatling in the win were several other AFL-listed GIANTS, with Wade Derksen (28 touches, nine marks), Harry Rowston (27 touches, seven clearances, six tackles), and Wehr (22 touches, eight marks) all strong contributors.

In more good news, Isaac Cumming (15 touches, one goal) got through his return game from a hamstring injury unscathed and moved well as he eased back into action with a typically classy performance. 

Meanwhile recent draftee duo Phoenix Gothard (23 touches) and Joe Fonti (22 touches, 10 marks and seven tackles) put in their best games of the year, with both lively around the footy and looking to take the game on at every opportunity.

Conor Stone (21 touches) and Lachlan Keeffe (20 touches, 13 hit-outs, six marks, one goal) were also solid throughout the day, while key forward Gruzewski (14 touches, seven marks, 2.3) did his chances of an AFL debut no harm with another strong outing. 

GIANTS Academy ruckman Logan Smith also made a brilliant contribution, with the teenager finishing with 13 touches, five clearances and a match-high 24 hit-outs in an impressive VFL debut. 

The GIANTS will next face the crosstown rival Swans in Blacktown on Saturday ahead of the AFL Derby between the clubs later that day at ENGIE Stadium (formerly GIANTS Stadium).

VFL Round 12 

GIANTS: 1.3   3.8 4.13  9.17 (71)
Port Melbourne: 4.3  5.4  7.7.  8.9 (57) 


GIANTS:  Peatling 2, Gruzewski 2, McCaffrey 2, Keeffe, Cumming, Harms
Port Melbourne: Gowers 4, Signorello, Miller, Manton, Maguire