Kevin Sheedy rightly pointed out Greater Western Sydney still have a long way to go despite pulling off an historic first AFL victory over their slightly older opponents, Gold Coast, on Saturday.
In a tight battle, the AFL’s newest franchise went into the final term four points adrift but blew the Suns out of the water with a five-goal-to-none haul to win 13.16 (94) to 9.13 (67).
Jonathan Giles booted two to finish with three for the match, while the Giants also looked to their wiser heads in Chad Cornes and Stephen Coniglio to boost them in the last period.
Even the return from injury of skipper Gary Ablett, who finished with a match-high 33 disposals, couldn’t lift the Suns – in the end, their last goal came eight minutes into the third term.
The historic victory at Canberra’s Manuka Oval gave the Giants bragging rights in what Sheedy dubbed the “battle of the AFL babies”, lifting them off the bottom of the ladder after seven games at elite level.
It’s a spot now occupied by Melbourne, on percentage, with Gold Coast joining the Demons in a seventh straight defeat.
Sheedy and his squad gave a spirited inaugural rendition of their club song after the win, the lyrics taped to the changeroom’s white brick walls.
The coach was full of praise for his youngsters for their last quarter revival, particularly in the wake of last weekend’s performance against Carlton when they failed to add to their score.
“It’s been a slog, there’s no doubt about that, but they did everything we’ve asked them to do – stoppages, zoning, goal-kicking,” Sheedy said.
“That’s our highest score and we hadn’t had as many inside 50s as what we had today.
“So our performances have been getting better.”
But Sheedy was measured about the significance of the win, noting Gold Coast had only an extra 22 games experience.
“It’s very, very exciting, but there’s a long way to go for us.
“There’s a lot of questions still to answer for us.”
Suns coach Guy McKenna said his players were shown up for their lack of intensity.
“The most disappointing thing out of today was that we played one quarter of footy – that’s the only reason we took a step back today,” he said.
“They just thought they’d do the easy things and thought it was all going to fall into their lap.
“But full credit to GWS, they didn’t allow that to happen.”
The Giants finished with 58 inside-50s, 16 more than the Suns, while also winning the clearances.
Devon Smith was the second-best scorer behind Giles with two goals; Josh Caddy and Sam Day also booted the same for the Suns.