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Williams Returns in NEAFL Loss

NEAFL: Zac Williams Returns Zac Williams makes his return to footy after progressing speedily through injury rehab.
We played with six AFL-listed players today, compared to the Swans’ 10 or 11, so it was always going to be a challenge in that respect.
GIANTS development coach Damian Truslove

A successful return from a pre-season injury by defender Zac Williams was the highlight of a disappointing loss for the NEAFL GIANTS against the Swans.

Williams was dominant with 30 disposals, seven tackles and seven inside 50s, however it wasn’t enough to help his side to victory with the 7.10 (52) to 15.18 (108) loss meaning the GIANTS will fall just short of a top-six finish and a finals appearance.

Dylan Buckley was also amongst the GIANTS’ best, nabbing four goals to go with his 14 touches while Isaac Cumming was equally impressive with 26 touches and three marks.

Despite the loss, GIANTS development coach Damian Truslove was happy with the effort shown by his players, who went into the game with just six AFL listed players.

“Our effort was fantastic for the four quarters, there were just too many fundamental skill errors which hurt us. We knew we had to win today to give ourselves the best chance of playing finals,” he said.

“We played with six AFL-listed players today, compared to the Swans’ 10 or 11, so it was always going to be a challenge in that respect.

“The academy boys have come in and been really good and consistent all year and putting in a lot of effort. But when you get below 10 AFL players, it can be a bit challenging.”

Williams was busy right from the bounce with his with eight disposals and four tackles running through the midfield.

Zach Sproule picked up eight touches and kicked a goal after taking a great contested mark. Additional goals from Buckley and academy player Elliott Powell allowed the GIANTS to take a slight four-point lead into the first break.

The Swans returned with intent in the second term, kicking three goals in a row to put them back in front early. Buckley finally kicked the GIANTS’ fourth goal - and his second for the game - in the 26th minute after a free kick, but the Swans responded with another goal shortly after.

A tough quarter defensively that meant the GIANTS went into half-time down 4.4 (28) to 6.11 (47) and faced a tough task in the second-half to salvage their season.

The signs were good early when three minutes into the third quarter Buckley kicked his third goal, slotting a long-range effort after taking a tough mark at the top of the 50.

But any hope of a GIANTS fightback was soon shot down, with Sydney kicking five unanswered to put the game beyond reach. The visitors had extended their lead to 45 points by three-quarter time.

Despite a strong effort from the GIANTS in the final quarter, with Buckley adding his second of the day early in the stanza, they were unable to contain a strong Swans forward push, as they kicked a further four goals to see out the game.

The loss sees the GIANTS remain in seventh position on the NEAFL ladder, just short of the top-six heading into the final round of the season.

GIANTS 3.3   4.4    5.5     7.10    (52)
 2.5  6.11 11.15  15.18  (108)

Goals: Dylan Buckley 4, Zach Sproule, Max Beaumont, Elliott Powell 1  

The GIANTS NEAFL side’s final game of the season sees them face off against Brisbane Lions next Saturday at Blacktown International SportsPark at 11am.

GIANTS development coach Damian Truslove on the GIANTS’ AFL Listed Players:

Zac Williams - 30 disposals, 7 tackles, 7 inside 50s

“We just wanted him to get through the game and he got through with a clean bill of health, which is great. His involvement was excellent, he uses the ball well and his speed and change of direction which are his main assets. Fantastic for him to get through the game, and he’ll now be knocking on the door for an AFL game.”

Isaac Cumming - 26 disposals, 3 marks, 4 rebound 50s

“Played it really well at halfback. I think he had 26 possessions and gave us plenty of drive as he always does. And he defended well when we needed him too, so it was a really solid game from Isaac.”

Dylan Buckley - 14 disposals, 4 inside 50s, 4 goals

“Bucks is looking good. He’s dangerous and has been kicking goals for us. When the ball gets kicked forward something usually happens with Dylan. We were pleased with him today.”

Jake Stein - 8 disposals, 9 tackles

“Steiney worked really hard. He got a couple of knocks today, so he was on and off the ground, but he played under duress at times. Steiney keeps improving and he’s knocking on the door of AFL selection so he’s going really solid.”

Tim Mohr - 1 disposal, 1 clearance

“He went into the game with a bit of an ankle injury, so we played him forward because he couldn’t change direction as well as he normally could. He then got stood on and had a pretty sore foot.”

Zach Sproule - 15 disposals, 7 tackles, 1 goal

Sprouley played an interesting role today. He played forward, as a mid and a second ruck, so we’ve thrown him everywhere because we were a bit light on. I thought he continued to try hard and did his best work as a midfielder. His forward craft is a work in progress, but his midfield stuff has really been impressive.”