2020 Toyota AFL Premiership
Round 1 • GWS Giants v Geelong Cats
GIANTS Stadium Sydney
105 17.3
Full Time Giants by 32
73 11.7
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    Round One Match Preview

    A Giant challenge to start the season on Saturday night

    Gary Ablett in action against the Giants last year

    Where and when: Giants Stadium, Saturday March 21, 7.25pm AEDT

    Last time they met: GMHBA Stadium, round four, 2019: Giants 11.13 (79) beat Geelong 11.9 (75) 

    LIVE COVERAGE - ROUND ONE MATCH CENTRE

    What it means for Geelong: The Cats failed to kick more than nine goals in both of their Marsh Community Series games, which were both losses. Tom Hawkins, Gary Ablett, Esava Ratugolea and Gary Rohan need to get their hands on it at Giants Stadium. 

    What it means for GWS: After the disappointment of the way last season ended, the Giants have started 2020 in positive fashion and need to continue their form against a fellow finals contender.

    The stat: In last year's thrilling win on the road, the Giants' three athletic tall forwards Jeremy Cameron, Harry Himmelberg and Jeremy Finlayson combined for eight goals. The team won the marks inside 50 count 19-10.

    The match-up: Lachie Whitfield v Gary Ablett

    The Giants could look to exploit the star Cat, with Ablett unlikely to be able to keep tabs on his opponent when the home side has the footy. Whitfield covers plenty of territory, but he's also improved his one-on-one game greatly over the past two seasons, so he can match up on Ablett in Geelong's forward half.

    In the spotlight for Geelong: Darcy Fort

    Has beaten Rhys Stanley for the opening ruck berth. Showed some promising signs during the Marsh Community Series, but how will he fare against experienced Giants recruit Sam Jacobs?

     In the spotlight for GWS: Stephen Coniglio

    The new captain leads the Giants into a new era, and he'll be keen to put his stamp on the club's on-field performance from the first game of the year. The star midfielder was sorely missed in the second half of last season.

    Big call for Geelong: After an impressive pre-season, Jordan Clark will show Cats fans why he was sorely missed in last year's finals series and shapes as an X-factor for Geelong this season.

    Big call for GWS: After his nightmare Grand Final performance, Jeremy Finlayson gets his season off to a flyer with a six-goal haul against the Cats.

     

     

    Giants Kick Their Way Past Cats

    The Giants were too accurate for the Cats in Sydney.

    The Cats couldn't match the Giants accuracy in Sydney.

    A BREAKOUT performance from youngster Harry Perryman and some ruthless finishing in front of goal has helped Greater Western Sydney begin its 2020 campaign with a 32-point win over Geelong on Saturday night.

    Perryman kicked four goals from 20 possessions playing on the wing for the home side in the finest game of his short career, as GWS held off multiple challenges from the Cats to get home 17.3 (105) to 11.7 (73) at Giants Stadium.

    Geelong made a late charge with three quick goals in the final quarter until Perryman and Toby Greene each booted their fourth majors to seal the win.

    Key defender Mark Blicavs had an entertaining match-up with last year's Coleman medallist Cameron and probably had the better of the duel, despite the Giant's three goals.

    TALKING POINTS

    Giants stopper put the clamps on Danger
    Matt de Boer went straight to superstar Patrick Dangerfield at the opening bounce and the pair had another classic battle through the midfield. The explosive Cat started well with a brilliant long goal and gathered six possessions in the opening term, but the Giant kept a close check on him after that. Dangerfield gave away a couple of free kicks in frustration and, while he wasn't the visitors' worst, de Boer took the chocolates. 

    Time to pay the Perryman
    Going into the season opener GWS wingman Harry Perryman had four career goals to his name and was known more for his hardness at the footy than his goalkicking, but he starred for the winners and doubled that haul. The academy product started with an inventive effort off the ground in the first term and added another in each of the next three quarters. His fourth, a clever snap around his body ended the contest when the Cats had kicked three in a row midway through the last term. 

    Cogs settles in quickly as skipper

    New captain Stephen Coniglio wasted little time reminding the competition of his talents in his first game since round 17 last year. The midfield gun slotted a clutch set shot in the first quarter and snapped a brilliant second on his left boot right on the half-time siren. Coniglio finished the night with 19 disposals and six clearances to get his new role underway with an important victory. 

    Will Gazza ever slow down?

    Many predicted him to do so in 2020, but the way Gary Ablett started his 19th season showed it might be a premature call. The 35-year-old's laser-like pass to set up Gary Rohan in the first quarter was vintage Ablett, and his performance showed he can be a more than handy up forward for the Cats this year. The 345-gamer began the season with a game-high 24 touches and a goal. 

    Straight-shooting Giants
    Conversion in front of goals has never been a strong point for GWS, but the home side's accuracy against the Cats was outstanding and played a massive part in the win. The Giants kicked 8.0 before they registered a minor score, and while Geelong failed to capitalise on their hard work and wasted some chances, Leon Cameron would be a happy man with his side's finishing. 

    MEDICAL ROOM
    Giants:
     Midfielder Adam Kennedy pinged his right hamstring midway through the first term and played no further part in the game.
    Geelong: Quinton Narkle dislocated a finger, but had it put back in on the ground and finished off the match, while Esava Ratugolea copped a nasty poke in the eye in the third term, but also played on. 

    GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY:   5.0   9.1   13.3   17.3 (105)
    GEELONG:                                 4.2   6.6    8.7    11.7 (73)

    GOALS
    Greater Western Sydney: Perryman 4, Greene 4, Cameron 3, Coniglio 2, Lloyd 2, Langdon, Finlayson
    Geelong: Duncan 3, Hawkins 2, Miers, Ablett, Dahlhaus, Dangerfield, O'Connor, Rohan

    NEXT UP
    The Giants are on the road to take on Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, with the Cats hosting Gold Coast at GMHBA Stadium the following day.

    GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    5.0    9.1    13.3    17.3 (105)
    GEELONG                                      4.2    6.6     8.7      11.7 (73) 

    GOALS
    Giants: Perryman 4, Greene 4, Cameron 3, Coniglio 2, Lloyd 2, Langdon, Finlayson
    Geelong: Duncan 3, Hawkins 2, Ablett, Miers, Dangerfield, Dahlhaus, O'Connor, Rohan 

    BEST
    Giants: Perryman, Greene, Hopper, Haynes, de Boer, Whitfield
    Geelong: Duncan, Stewart, Ablett, Selwood, Tuohy, Blicavs 

    INJURIES
    Giants: Adam Kennedy (hamstring)
    Geelong: TBC 

    Reports: Nil

    Umpires: Mollison, Foot, Power

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