Sunday Territorian 17 Sep 2017
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52 SPORT SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17 2017 NTNE01Z01MA - V2 NEIL CORDY GWS GIANTS V WEST COAST 125GIANTS5.4 9.7 15.10 19.11 57EAGLES3.0 4.2 5.2 9.3 GOALS Greater Western Sydney: Johnson 6, Greene 3, Patton 2, Shiel, Scully, Taranto, Ward, de Boer, Himmelberg, Deledio, Coniglio West Coast: LeCras 2, Mitchell 2, Vardy, Kennedy, Shuey, Petrie, Darling BEST Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Whitfield, Johnson, Ward, Corr, Kelly, Shiel, Wilson West Coast: Priddis, Shuey, Mitchell, Hurn, Redden UMPIRES Stevic, Schmitt, Ryan CROWD 14,865 at Spotless Stadium STEVE Johnson has wound the clock back in a 67-point win over the West Coast Eagles, booting six goals as the Greater Western Sydney Giants stormed into an AFL preliminary final. GWS clinically ended the Eagles season and careers of Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis and Drew Petrie by prevailing 19.11 (125) to 9.4 (58). Recalled veteran Johnson will hope his dodgy knee holds up ahead of the Giants preliminary final against Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. The 34-year-old kicked four goals in the third term of the Spotless Stadium semi-final. It was the knock to the back of my head that knocked some talent back into me, Johnson, sporting a bandaged head, quipped to Channel Seven. I was always confident I could play a role even though I wasnt selected last week. Its not going to be this easy next week. The heat was on GWS after last weeks embarrassing loss to Adelaide but Leon Camerons side responded ruthlessly. The hosts opened up a 37point lead early in the second quarter and never looked back. THERE was no way Tom Lonergans fellow Geelong defenders were going to have his AFL career end because of a dodgy sausage roll. The Cats backline spoke before Friday nights semi-final win over Sydney about giving Lonergan another chance. Lonergan and fellow defender Andrew Mackie have confirmed they will retire at the end of this season. Lonergan came down with food poisoning on Friday. While the popular backman still drove to Melbourne to prove his fitness, he went downhill again and promptly went back home to watch the game on the couch. Certainly us as defenders, we spoke about that, we wanted to make sure that it wasnt his last game the previous week, Harry Taylor said. We wanted him to have another crack at it. We didnt exactly need any extra motivation, there was a lot on the line, but just knowing that a good mate had had such a great career for us would potentially end the way it did was something that I was certainly spurred on by. Lonergans late withdrawal looked disastrous for the Cats, who were already at long odds for Friday nights suddendeath semi. He is their first-choice defender for Swans star Lance Franklin. A short conversation with coach Chris Scott informed Taylor he would play on the Coleman Medallist. Taylor was told to go out and do it. That was about the length of the conversation, he said. I just said, No worries, I will be ready. And ready he was Taylor and the rest of the Cats defence were outstanding. While Franklin clearly was not as his best, thanks to a corked thigh, he only kicked three behinds. Steve Johnson of the Giants celebrates kicking a goal during the AFL first semi final match against the West Coast Eagles at Spotless Stadium last night Picture: GETTY Tiger is right where he wants to be BRANDON Ellis watched last years preliminary finals from a beach bar in Seminyak, Bali, far from the AFL crowds, wishing he was a part of the action. Twelve months on, the Richmond defender finds himself preparing for the biggest game of his football life and hopes an even more significant one might come the week after. The clubs stunning turn around in the space of a year has been one of the AFL stories of the season, and it has mirrored Elliss own revival as a player after a couple of average seasons. Its been an interesting ride, Ellis said. Who would have thought 12 months ago we would have been in this position. This time last year I was in Bali, wishing I was back (in Australia) being a part of it. Now, were into a preliminary final, its good we have been able to embrace that. Ellis, 24, said there were a host of reasons behind Richmonds rise from 13th last year to being in a position to win the clubs first final in 16 years after demolishing Geelong in last weeks qualifying final. Crows reshuffle to cover injured Smith AFL flag fancies Adelaide will shuffle their line-up rather than promote a newcomer to cover the loss of injured backman Brodie Smith. Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early in Adelaides qualifying final win against Greater Western Sydney. The All-Australian half-back will miss the rest of the finals and likely all of next season. Smiths teammate Daniel Talia says the Crows will recast their side for their home preliminary final against Geelong at Adelaide Oval on Friday night. Talia nominated Paul Seedsman and David Mackay, who both featured on the wing in the victory against the Giants, to be redeployed at half-back. We have got a couple of options, we have got some guys on a wing who have played through half-back in Paul Seedsman and David Mackay and we can probably roll them through back there, Talia said. The key defender said the absence of Smith, among the best rebounding defenders in the competition, was a huge loss. Johnson shoots down Eagles The Giants regained their mojo, heaping pressure on the besieged Eagles while moving the ball with a potent mix of precision and pace. Dylan Shiel, Nathan Wilson, Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene were among the Giants best, having all been well below their best against the Crows. Shiel booted the games opening goal, which came after a nervy nine minutes, and had plenty of the ball. Greene copped a painful blow to the head from Jeremy McGovern but managed to kick three goals. Whitfield recovered from a jaw-rattling cash with Petrie on the cusp of half-time to finish with 28 disposals. Veteran defenders Heath Shaw and Phil Davis also spearheaded a notable lift in aggression from the Giants. Aside from a couple of wasted chances in front of goal and a small crowd of 14,865, the only major concern for GWS was Nick Haynes injury scare in the third term. Haynes continued to play after hurting his knee, suggesting he is a likely starter against Richmond. The result means the topfour sides have all progressed to the penultimate week of the season. ROB FORSAITH SHATTERED Sydney Swans skipper Josh Kennedy says the manner of his teams shock exit from the finals at the hands of Geelong will make the upcoming off season a prolonged and agonising one. After looking like their season was dead and buried at 0-6 Dominant Cats leave Sydney shattered over unexpected Swans-song Sydneys amazing run of 15 wins from the next 17 matches ignited hopes of the most unlikely of premierships. But the Cats 59-point demolition job put paid to those hopes in a manner nobody saw coming. And now comes a long, long off-season to ponder what went wrong. John Longmire said his team were buggered after effectively playing elimination finals football for the last five months. Adding to the torment was the fact the match was the 300th game for one of their most favourite sons, Jarrad McVeigh, who had provided much-needed support to Ken nedy in his confidence shattering start as captain. It is (disappointing to lose on McVeighs milestone match), Kennedy said. But at the same time its painful because its season over and it will be a long six months waiting for next year. We did a lot of work to put ourselves in that position and didnt show up, its very disappointing. Geelongs pressure was good and off the back of the week theyve had. It was pretty clear to see we didnt have enough contributors and they were just better than us. Kennedys 20-disposal performance was well down on his usual output and Luke Parkers 13 was a season low, but they had little or no support from others. The Swans simply couldnt get their hands on the ball, Geelong smashed them in contested possession by 25 and then kept it off them, winning the uncontested possession by a massive 120 and marks by a staggering 67. Lonergan still on for final fling ROGER VAUGHAN
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