AFL 

GWS jumps into the top eight

GWS jumps into the top eight

GWS has leapt back into the AFL top eight with a 13-point win over Essendon, bouncing the Bombers out of the finals zone in the process.

The Giants were coming off two disappointing losses and were kept at arm’s length early by the fast-starting Bombers, before flicking the switch after halftime to prevail 9.12 (66) to 7.11 (53) at Metricon Stadium.

The already undermanned Giants had skipper Stephen Coniglio (toe) pull out of the game on Saturday with former co-captain Callan Ward, who was originally listed as ‘managed’, called up.

But on his return from concussion, Giants star Lachie Whitfield (36 disposals) was everywhere while stand-in skipper Josh Kelly (23 touches) and Tom Green (29 touches) were busy – and youngster Lachie Ash tagged Bombers sensation Darcy Parish out of the game.

Essendon’s Jordan Ridley (25 disposals) was busy in defence, while skipper Dyson Heppell (28 disposals) had plenty of the ball and Zach Merrett was the best of the Bombers’ beaten midfield.

The Bombers impressed early as the Giants struggled to go with their rapid-fire ball movement and edged out to a handy lead, while GWS were plagued by poor goal kicking.

The highlight of the first half was when impressive Essendon youngster Nik Cox kept the ball alive on the boundary, handballed along the ground to Devon Smith, who snapped a goal from a tight angle to put the Bombers 16 points up.

The Giants came out of the main break with renewed intensity – then made it count on the scoreboard.

The GWS midfield, plus the brilliant Whitfield off half-back, dominated the third term, with the Giants stringing together four consecutive goals while keeping Essendon goalless to lead by eight points at the final change.

From there, the Giants held firm defensively, with the Bombers only able to snare one major in the final term.

The excellent Brent Daniels crumbed a late goal to ice the game, send the Giants into the top eight and leave the Bombers to rue a missed opportunity.

(C) AAP 2021

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.4 3.6 7.10 9.12 (66)

ESSENDON 4.3 6.4 6.8 7.11 (53)

Goals: Greater Western Sydney: J Hogan 2 B Daniels C Ward D Lloyd H Himmelberg L Ash S Mumford S Reid. Essendon: A Perkins C Hooker D Parish D Smith D Zaharakis J Stringer N Cox.

Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Nicholas Foot, Jamie Broadbent.

Official Crowd: 2,681 at Metricon Stadium.