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By the Numbers: Round 6

Adam Treloar posted on social media on Saturday night: “Best win of my life … What a day."

Most of Treloar’s GIANTS teammates would have agreed with him after they staged a remarkable comeback not once, but twice, to beat Hawthorn by 10 points at Spotless Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It will forever be remembered as a landmark day in the club’s history - the first time they beat the defending premiers.

Numerically, it was the second best rebound after a loss in the club's history, only behind the round 19, 2012 victory over Port Adelaide after a 120-point loss the week before.

Similarly, the 27-point deficit they overcame early in the second quarter against Hawthorn was the second biggest margin the GIANTS have been down before going on to win the game. It was just behind the 33-point deficit against Melbourne late in the second quarter in Canberra in round 2 this year.

And while some supporters may argue the round one win over the Swans last year was a sweeter moment given the rivalry between the two Sydney clubs, given the quality of the opposition on Saturday it is difficult to argue that the giant-killing triumph against the 2013-14 premiers wasn’t the best win in the GIANTS’ 72-game history.

After being 27-points down seven minutes into the second quarter they led by four points at halftime before surrendering the advantage again in the third quarter to trail by 10 points at the final change.

They were as much as 18 points down five minutes into the final quarter, but five unanswered goals in 15 minutes from James Stewart, Jeremy Cameron, Ryan Griffen, Cameron again and finally Devon Smith got them home.

It was just the fourth time the GIANTS have won after trailing at three-quarter time and their biggest final quarter turnaround. Previously they’d won from four points down against Gold Coast in round 7, 2012, three points down against Sydney in round one, 2014 and two points down against the Western Bulldogs in round 23, 2014.

This was symptomatic of a critical factor that has become evident in recent statistics - that the GIANTS are a vastly better second-half side this year.

In 2012 they were out-scored in the fourth quarter by their opposition by an average of 14.7 points. In 2013 it was -22.8 points and in 2014 it was -2.3 points. This year the net corresponding figure for fourth quarter scoring is +4 points.

The GIANTS’ average net second-half score has jumped from -34.6 in 2012, -38 in 2013 and -11.5 in 2014 to +11.8 in 2015.
It was fitting that Cameron twice hit the scoreboard in the final quarter on Saturday because he’d done so much of the hard work earlier to drag his side back into the contest.

The 2013 All Australian finished with an equal career-best and club record seven goals, matching his seven-goal haul against Collingwood at the MCG in round 18, 2013.

Cameron was the first player to kick seven goals against the highly-acclaimed Hawthorn defence since Carlton’s Brendon Fevola booted eight goals against the Hawks in round 6, 2009.

Cameron’s seven-goal bag was also a GIANTS record at Spotless Stadium. Only twice has anyone kicked more goals in a game at the home of the GIANTS - Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt (11 in 2014) and Adelaide’s Tom Lynch (10 in 2013).

The unforgettable win made it a double celebration for Stephen Coniglio, who on Saturday became the 12th player to play his 50th AFL game for the GIANTS. He follows Jonathan Giles, Callan Ward, Tom Scully, Smith, Treloar, Cameron, Adam Kennedy, Toby Greene, Dylan Shiel, Tommy Bugg and Phil Davis.

At the age of 21 years and 145 days, Coniglio is the GIANTS’ fifth-youngest 50-gamer behind Greene (the only GIANT to his half-century before his 21st birthday), Smith, Cameron and Treloar.

Hawthorn became the GIANTS’ eighth different victim as they posted their 13th win overall, with Bugg, Smith and Treloar having played in all 13. Co-captains Ward and Davis have played in 12 of the 13 wins.

The GIANTS, sixth on the AFL ladder after six rounds with a 4-2 win/loss record, have already doubled their entire win tally of the first six rounds in 2012-13-14.

In 2012 and 2013 they opened their campaign 0-6 to sit at the tail of the ladder, and last year they started 2-4 to be 14th at the corresponding stage. It’s no coincidence that the club’s most successful stretch comes as the team enjoys its most stable period.

This year, weekly team changes have been 1-1-1-1-3 for a total of seven. In 2012 the corresponding figures to round 6 were 2-3-3-6-7 (total 21). In 2013 it was 1-1-6-5-7 (total 20). And in 2014 it was 3-1-3-3-2 (12).

Also on Saturday, Ward’s team-high 31 possessions saw him become the second GIANTS player to post 500 possessions in games at Spotless Stadium with Ward sitting on 522. Adam Treloar leads the way with 570.

And Davis had 11 one percenters – one short of the club record he shares with Tim Mohr, who faces a second knee reconstruction after injury in the NEAFL on the weekend. Davis’ outstanding defensive effort took his career one percenters tally for the GIANTS beyond 300.  At 302, he leads the all-time list from Mohr (230), Giles (139), Nick Haynes (124), Kennedy (110) and Bugg (107).

Note: Among other AFL expansion teams, the Brisbane Bears took 64 games to post their first win over a defending premier. Coincidentally, that was also against Hawthorn at Carrara in round 20, 1989. It was the first match after inaugural coach Peter Knights was sacked and replaced by Paul Feltham. Hawthorn, too, were the first defending premiers to fall to West Coast Eagles, who joined the competition with the Bears in 1987. West Coast beat Hawthorn in round 5 of their first season. Fremantle, who joined the AFL in 1995, beat defending premiers Carlton in their round 3, 1996. It was their 25th game. Port Adelaide, new to the competition in 1997 used cross-town rivalry as motivation for their first win over a defending premier when they beat the Adelaide Crows in the third Showdown in round 4, 1998. It was their 26th match. Gold Coast are yet to beat a reigning premier since entering the competition in 2011.