After a costly slip to Port Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron says he’s about to learn if his players have the mettle to become AFL contenders.
The Giants’ finals aspirations hang by a thread after a 21-point away loss to Port Adelaide in a spiteful encounter on Saturday.
Port triumphed 16.15 (111) to 13.12 (90) at Adelaide Oval.
The loss will likely leave the Giants two wins outside the top eight with three games to play – and the first of those fixtures is a grudge match against finals-bound Sydney next Saturday.
Cameron said whether his defeated players could respond against the Swans would enlighten him.
“By the end of next week on Saturday afternoon, it tells me how resilient our players are right at the back end (of the season),” he said.
Cameron believes the Giants are worthy of a finals berth.
But he also knows they falter at vital stages – against Port, they led by two points at three quarter-time and then conceded the first five goals of the final term.
“We have beaten sides that are below us, we have had a couple of big wins against sides that are above us,” Cameron said.
“The sides that sit around us, trying to get to that seventh or eighth or sixth spot or whatever is open for us – we have failed. We haven’t failed by much, but we have still failed.”
Port, destined to miss the finals, prevailed in an affair that was fiery – at the behest of Power coach Ken Hinkley.
The Port boss ordered his players to “play tough”, setting the scene for rolling skirmishes and several behind-play stoushes.
Power backman Jasper Pittard will be scrutinised for a block on Rhys Palmer which felled the Giant some 50 metres off the ball.
Palmer was a standout, kicking 5.3 but also featuring in an all-time blooper.
Eight minutes into the game, Palmer was running into an open goal with no Port player within 15 metres.
He bounced once, got to the edge of the goal square, then horribly fluffed another bounce attempt – the ball spilled, allowing Port’s Matthew White to gather ground and apply a score-saving tackle.