VFL head coach Wayne Cripps was quick to highlight the performances of four AFL-listed GIANTS from Saturday’s two-goal loss to Carlton.

The GIANTS were searching for their fourth straight victory but the visitors put in a strong final term to register a 21-point upset win in Blacktown.

Despite the close loss there was still plenty of positives to come from the clash as a host of GIANTS put in strong performances.

Leading the way was winger Jacob Wehr (23 touches, 11 marks) who worked tirelessly both ways to continually help turn defence into attack.


“He was really diligent in his role once again and he just works so hard both offensively and defensively,” Cripps said of Wehr.

“He was able to get some great reward for effort offensively, which isn’t always the case for wingers as it can be a tough role to play.

“He got back and supported the backs on defence, and he was a great connector between our backs and forwards on offense, so I thought he did a great job.”

Conor Stone (28 touches, seven marks, six tackles) was another to catch Cripps’ eye after another strong performance in his new role in defence.

“Once again he’s shown that his transition down back over the last month has been a really positive move,” he said.

“Once again he found a lot of the footy and he defended well. He’s another one who is looking to bang the door down [for AFL selection] at the moment as he’ s playing such good footy. He’s going to get his opportunity at some stage as he’s developing his craft down there really nicely.”

Recent draftee James Leake (24 touches, six marks, eight tackles, four clearances) was also impressive yet again in just his third appearance in GIANTS colours following an injury interrupted pre-season.

“He’s just so clean, he doesn’t fumble, he puts his head over it, and he’s really strong in the contest,” Cripps said of the talented Tasmanian.

“He had a team-high eight tackles and some of his clearance work was really strong. He’s really starting to put it together and build some strong form.”

Reliable winger Ryan Angwin (24 touches, six marks) was also a solid contributor in his VFL return.

“He was similar to ‘Wolfy’ [Wehr] in that he had a really solid day offensively and defensively on the wing. I think those two guys were our real pillars for the day.

“He led us in handball receives which has been a real focus area for him so to see him get involved in more of those handball chains and supporting that chain was really good to see.”

Turning his attention to the AFL side, Cripps was thrilled with the performance of Joe Fonti in his brilliant AFL debut following several strong VFL performances.

“The best part is he played with such confidence and dare in the VFL and he was able to take that up and translate it to AFL level which is what you want to see.

“He wasn’t intimidated or overawed by the moment, he went out there and did what he does which is play on instinct and speed which was great to see.”

The GIANTS VFL side has a bye this week before returning to Blacktown in round 17 to host the Gold Coast Suns.

AFL-listed GIANTS’ stats against Carlton on Saturday:

9. Ryan Angwin 

24 disposals, six marks, three tackles

10. Jacob Wehr   

23 disposals, 11 marks, three clearances, three tackles

18. Conor Stone

28 disposals, seven marks, six tackles

19. Nick Haynes     

32 disposals, 13 marks

25. Lachlan Keeffe  

13 disposals, two goals

30. James Leake  

24 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, four clearances

33. Xavier O’Halloran

23 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, eight clearances 

35. Max Gruzewski 

15 disposals, eight marks, one goal  

40. Adam Kennedy 

22 disposals, nine marks, three tackles

42. Nathan Wardius 

14 disposals, 3.2, nine marks 

46. Callum Brown

18 disposals, two goals, five marks, two clearances 

VFL Player Shoutout: Riley Hamilton 

16 disposals, two goals, four marks

“He’s a young Academy boy for us and he had his best game for us so far. He showed some signs in the games he had earlier in the year, and we brought him back in and he kicked a couple of really nice goals and gave us a great contest ahead of the ball.  He is definitely someone we are excited to keep getting games into.”