GWS have defeated Richmond by 14 points in an entertaining AFL grand-final rematch at Wagga Wagga, where a coming-together involving Jeremy Cameron and Tigers’ Kane Lambert provided the only concern for either club in the pre-season clash.
Toby Greene booted five goals and created a couple of others to be best on ground as the star-studded teams produced a contest befitting a far grander stage, the highlight of which was Sydney Stack’s second-quarter screamer for the Tigers in which he clambered on top of Greene.
Momentum shifted frequently and the lead changed repeatedly before Greene’s three goals in the third quarter helped the Giants pull ahead.
The small forward, fresh from a four-goal haul when he played alongside Dustin Martin for Victoria, then slotted a late settler as GWS prevailed 17.7 (109) to 14.11 (95).
“It was good to get a good hit-out … I was lucky to get on the end of a few,” Greene told Fox Footy.
“Well done to him (Stack), it was a good mark. I was having a few words to him then he did that, so he had the last laugh.”
It will do little to soothe the heartbreak they endured in last year’s grand final, when the Tigers dished out an 89-point walloping, but the pulsating game confirmed both teams should be premiership contenders again in 2020.
Giants coach Leon Cameron will be pleased with the victory but even more so with the fact his club appeared to avoid any further injuries after Tim Taranto’s knock last week resulted in a shoulder reconstruction.
However, GWS spearhead Jeremy Cameron will be anxious to learn the match review officer’s assessment of his collision with Lambert that knocked the Tiger out in the second term.
The reigning Coleman medallist chased after Lambert then tumbled to the ground as the ball was knocked clear of the boundary line, making contact with the midfielder’s head.
Lambert trudged off Robertson Oval, was assessed for concussion and played no further part in the match.
GWS, having belted Sydney by 94 points in their only other pre-season game, regained Greene, Cameron, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield and Nick Haynes on Sunday.
Jackson Hately (29 disposals) put his hand up to fill the void left by Taranto’s long-term absence, while utility Matt de Boer was unleashed as a pinch-hitting ruckman and gave impressive recruit Sam Jacobs some respite.
Tom Lynch booted four goals and Martin starred, while Stack was among the most impressive of the non-premiership Tigers.
Richmond’s next match is the AFL season opener against Carlton on March 19, while GWS host Geelong at Giants Stadium in round one on March 21.