Giant wake-up call for Collingwood in loss to GWS

Shayne Hope |

Jesse Hogan is congratulated after one of his four goals in a stunning win over Collingwood.
Jesse Hogan is congratulated after one of his four goals in a stunning win over Collingwood.

Irish forward Callum Brown has kicked a career-best five goals as Greater Western Sydney opened their AFL season in style with a convincing 32-point win over reigning AFL premiers Collingwood.

The Giants’ superior efficiency in attack told the tale, with Brown and Jesse Hogan (4.0) combining for nine straight majors in a 18.6 (114) to 11.16 (82) victory at Engie Stadium on Saturday night.

But it came at a cost as Callan Ward was substituted out of the game at halftime with a serious right shoulder injury after falling on the joint under the weight of a Beau McCreery tackle.

Veteran midfielder Ward, who is just four AFL games shy of 300, will have scans on Sunday but is expected to be out of action for a couple of months.

After suffering a heartbreaking one-point loss to Collingwood in a preliminary final last year, GWS were the far slicker and hungrier side in their opening game of the new season.

Josh Kelly (32 touches, one goal), Tom Green (30 disposals, nine clearances, one goal), Stephen Coniglio (28 possessions, four clearances, four goal assists) and Lachie Whitfield (33 touches) all starred for the Giants.

Sam Taylor and Jack Buckley stood up in defence, while Brent Daniels (four goals) and former No.1 draft pick Aaron Cadman (two) also did well in support of Brown and Hogan up front.

“The most pleasing part was our ability to withstand their pressure and put a score on the board,” Giants coach Adam Kingsley said.

“It’s traditionally hard to score against the Pies. They’re a terrific defence and a terrific team, and their pressure was still really good.

“There were times where we didn’t cope with it all that well.

“But for us to put on a big score … 114 points … that’s a big, big score against Collingwood.”

Brown booted three goals from his first three kicks and GWS had posted 10.5 from just 24 forward entries by the main break as the Pies’ usually well-organised defence was sliced open.

Brayden Maynard resumed his personal rivalry with Toby Greene (15 disposals) and kept the GWS skipper relatively quiet.

But a brilliant Greene goal on the boundary line under pressure from Oleg Markov was the highlight of the third quarter, and he finished with four goal assists.

It was one of four unanswered majors for GWS in the third term as the lead ballooned to 40 points.

Brent Daniels.
Brent Daniels (2L) celebrates with GWS teammates after kicking a goal against the Magpies. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)

Collingwood have been the league’s comeback kings over the past two years but there was no fairytale this time, despite the Magpies kicking four of the last five goals of the game.

Nick Daicos (34 disposals, 10 clearances, one goal) and brother Josh Daicos (28 touches) were busy, while Brody Mihocek kicked three goals and Bobby Hill booted two against his old side.

“Is it a reality check? I’m not sure, but the reality is it’s a tight competition,” Collingwood coach Craig McRae said.

“Teams look at what you’re doing well and they want to take it away from you.

“The Giants seemed to play a bit more to their strengths tonight, which is ultimately on the scoreboard.”