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Whitfield Turns The Tide

A Season Defined - Lachie Whitfield Lachie Whitifield had a season to remember in 2018 but there is one goal that stood out amongst all others.

The GIANTS had been in front for most of the game, but midway through the fourth quarter, Hawthorn was threatening.

The Hawks had kicked the first three goals of the term to cut the margin to just four points and had all the momentum.

But it was a defender – albeit one who had plied his trade on a wing for most of his career prior to 2018 – who stood up and delivered when the GIANTS needed it.

Lachie Whitfield had worked his way up the ground and was in the right place at the right time to rove a Jon Patton knockdown as the ball was propelled forward.

He weaved his way through traffic and found himself in a pocket of space to launch a left-foot kick that bounced through the big sticks to give the GIANTS a handy 11 point lead.

“We’d been up all game, but they had all the momentum,” Whitfield recalled when talking to GIANTS TV.

“I found myself wandering up the wing – probably left my backs out to dry a bit there.

“It was a long ball down the line, I think Jonny was under it and brought it to ground, and I just got front and centre and swooped it up and didn’t really think too much about it.

“I just tried a little goosestep, which I probably hadn’t done before and won’t do again since.

“But it got me into a little pocket of space and (I) was able to put it home on the left to ... halt their momentum.”

The goal stopped the Hawks in their tracks and, while it took nine minutes for the next goal to be kicked, Patton delivered with a clutch set shot to give the GIANTS what would be an unassailable lead.

Whitfield said the GIANTS’ hard-earned first goal in the final term had been a timely belief booster against their opponents.

“We’d had a pretty good record against the Hawks in the previous year or two, so I guess it gave us that motivation that we would finish the game strong,” he said.

The win was a huge one in the context of the GIANTS’ season as they navigated through what had been earmarked as a ‘danger month’ in the fixture.

Having found themselves in a position where they had to claw their way back into the top eight and finals contention after a disastrous four weeks from rounds seven to 10, the GIANTS had won three matches leading into Round 15 against the Hawks at the Sydney Showground Stadium.

The Hawks’ clash shaped as a huge test, particularly given the GIANTS would be without Jeremy Cameron as he served a five-week suspension.

Clashes against eventual premier West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium, 2017 premier Richmond at the Sydney Showgrounds and Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval were to follow, with the odds seemingly stacked against an injury-ravaged GIANTS line-up.

But the 11-point win over Hawthorn proved that the GIANTS were truly back in the hunt as they climbed back into the eight for the first time since round seven.

They would win three of the four clashes over the trying month and saluted in six of the final nine rounds to secure a finals berth.

A Season Defined is a nine-part series that will be released over the coming weeks, taking a look back at some of the key moments from the GIANTS’ rollercoaster 2018 season.