A strong performance from key forward Jon Patton and eyecatching efforts from their high draft picks has highlighted a 33-point AFL pre-season win by Greater Western Sydney over West Coast in the NSW Riverina.
Patton kicked three goals and pulled down seven marks on Saturday as the Giants scored a 0.10.10 (70) to 0.5.7 (37) win at Narrandera.
Starting with a strong breeze at their backs, GWS bolted to a a 27-6 advantage by quarter-time and never relinquished their lead.
23-year-old Patton looks ready to build on a strong finish to his 2016 campaign.which gleaned 38 goals from 23 games.
“I think he (Patton) will take his game to another level this year,” acting Giants captain Josh Kelly told Fox Footy.
“He showed some signs towards the end of last year and there’s no-one working harder than him on the track at the moment, so it’s exciting for him and it’s exciting for the team.”
Kelly was another standout for the Giants, logging a match-high 29 possessions.
Another big plus for GWS was the form of their leading draft picks Tim Taranto and Will Setterfield.
Taranto, who was taken second, accumulated 21 possessions, six clearances and five tackles and Setterfield, who was fifth, was prominent early and finished with 16 disposals.
The Giants fielded several other handy looking youngsters and look to have massive depth considering many of their stars weren’t playing on Saturday.
“It puts pressure on our guys sitting at home,” Giants’ coach Leon Cameron said.
“The good thing about it is there was probably 10-12 guys that put their hands up to say ‘have a look at me’, so that was the real pleasing thing.”
Eagles coach Adam Simpson was philosophical about the outcome given their lack of experienced forwards and a very young side across the park.
“We got jumped early with the pressure,” Simpson said.
“But I thought in the second and third quarters we probably had our noses in front,” he said.
The Eagles’ possession getters were headed by Sharrod Wellingham with 28 touches. with Dom Sheed notching 27 and Mark Hutchings 24.
One positive for the Eagles was the effort of new recruit and former Geelong player Nathan Vardy, who collected 27 hitouts.
West Coast’s Will Schofield hurt an ankle, while the Giants’ Zac Williams suffered an adductoir issue in the closing moments..