The equation on paper for Greater Western Sydney is simple – fix the slow starts and a maiden AFL win is not completely out of the question.
The Giants’ debut season has generally followed a predictable path: they’re outplayed in the first quarter and competitive to varying degrees in the next three.
Sydney were ahead by 17 points at the first break, North Melbourne enjoyed a 43-point buffer at the same time, while West Coast effectively had the game stitched up with a 58-point advantage.
Adelaide had a 27-point lead over GWS at quarter-time in last Saturday’s match.
The Crows eventually prevailed by 46 points in what was the Giants’ best performance for the season.
GWS midfielder Stephen Coniglio, who missed the side’s last-start loss due to a virus, says the trend has been well noted at the club.
“It’s something we’ve spoken about. Obviously we need to get out of the blocks early against the Bulldogs this week,” Coniglio said ahead of his side’s clash with Western Bulldogs in Canberra on Saturday.
“That’d be a key focus for us over the next couple of weeks.”
The Bulldogs’ odds of $1.05 with Centrebet are the longest offered for a GWS opponent since the start of the season.
They’re a long way divorced from clashes with West Coast and Adelaide, when some bookmakers refused to offer head-to-head markets.
One of the reasons is the positive signs in Adelaide last week.
“The effort was fantastic. I was watching on telly and there was a stage there where I thought we could actually win the game,” Coniglio said.
The `Dogs have largely struggled in 2012, posting their first win of the season last week – but in the sort of fashion that would give GWS hope of a boilover.
“I think we’ve got a good chance,” Coniglio said.
“Obviously we’re playing down in Canberra, which is a home game for us.
“They obviously haven’t had the best start to the year and we’re going to do our best.
“If we can play (early on) like we have in the last half of the last couple of games … and get a jump on them, there’s every chance that we can win.”
Coniglio, a talented batsman who represented his state at underage level, forewent a cricket career to be taken with the No.2 pick in the draft.
He was given a timely reminder of his choice on Tuesday when he exchanged playing strips with Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins.
Coniglio, who played against Cummins in an under-17 match in Adelaide, said he was more than comfortable with his decision.