Draftee Jake Riccardi and rookie Jack Buckley put on a goalkicking masterclass as the GIANTS’ NEAFL side thrashed the Canberra Demons by 93 points in a pre-season game at Tom Wills Oval on Saturday. 

Riccardi kicked eight goals while rookie Buckley kicked seven in the 21.12 (132) to 5.9 (39) win. 

The GIANTS were on top from the get-go, but it wasn’t until the second half that they really clicked into gear, according to new GIANTS NEAFL coach Jason Saddington.

“The first half we probably had the majority of the ball in our front half, we just didn’t covert that to scores on the board,” he said. 

“We were probably a bit wasteful going into forward 50. The second half it really started to click, and the boys just ran away with it.”

Saddington was impressed by the efforts of both Riccardi and Buckley up front, with the duo accounting for two-thirds of the GIANTS goals.

“Jake grew in confidence as the game wore on, he had the benefit of plenty of ball coming inside 50 and a lot of good delivery from up the field,” Saddington said. 

“He was terrific, and he took his opportunities, and he kicked his goals in different ways; on the lead, some ground-ball snaps and he also took some strong overhead marks.

“Jack worked super hard throughout the pre-season and he also grew in confidence and benefited from some good ball in the forward half.

“He got his goals through some high work-rate and he took some strong, powerful marks and he was also very clever to get to the front of a few contests and snap a couple through. 

“It was great to see Jake and Jack cash in, in different ways.” 

On-ballers Jye Caldwell and Nick Shipley also impressed in the win as young ruck Kieren Briggs gave them great service throughout the game.

The trio continued their good from, having all played a hand in the GIANTS’ Marsh Community Series win over the Swans a week before. 

“Briggsy was huge in the ruck, I thought he had some incredible connection with Jye Caldwell,” Saddington said.

“I thought those two played really well. Kieren was big, physical and he dominated centre clearances and around the ground.

“Jye racked up a lot of the ball in the middle but he was also really physical and Nick Shipley out on the wing also was involved in a lot of chain handballs and ran really hard, and had a good influence on the game as well.”

The GIANTS finished the game without Xavier O’Halloran (ankle) and Zach Sproule (knee) due to injury. The club will provide an update on the duo in the coming days. 

The GIANTS’ 2020 Toyota NEAFL Premiership season begins on Saturday, April 4 with a clash against the Canberra Demons at Phillip Oval in Canberra.