Either defeat Essendon on Sunday or kiss a first-ever finals berth goodbye.
That’s Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron’s verdict, with consecutive losses relegating his team to 10th on the ladder with five games remaining.
“We’ve got to win against Essendon on Sunday to even give ourselves a chance to stay in the race and we’re a long way away. We’re a young team, we can’t look ahead,” Cameron said on Thursday.
The Giants’ 21-point last-start loss to first-placed Fremantle was positive for about 100 minutes of the encounter, according to Cameron, but a poor start to the game meant a late Giants charge came to nought.
Despite this, he believes they did the “little things” really well.
“The main thing we were looking for as the coaching staff was, how do you go against the top side who will no doubt be in the pointy end of the season?” Cameron said.
“We thought we did for about 100 minutes, we let ourselves down for about 20 minutes, Fremantle capitalised on that, they dominated some areas of the statistics.”
Cameron received a suspended fine of $2500 for approaching the emergency umpire during the match, with the league saying in a statement “the AFL’s view is that the umpires should not be approached at any time by any club official during the course of the game”.
Speaking after the match, Cameron said he was frustrated with some decisions that went against the Giants and only wanted clarification.
However, he said on Thursday he understood that was inappropriate.
“Like I said afterwards in the press conference and during the week, the emotion of the game obviously got the better of me,” he said.
“I apologise for my behaviour because it’s unacceptable.”
While GWS are looking forward to welcoming back Devon Smith, Rhys Palmer and long-time injury absentee Jon Patton, Cameron said Matt Buntine would definitely skip the game after suffering his second concussion in three weeks against Fremantle.
Buntine trained lightly this week but will not be risked.
“He’s too brave for his own good because he just keeps on keeping on but two concussions in three weeks, where that leads to we’re still a little unsure,” Cameron said.
“We’ll be ultra cautious in going forward with him in the coming weeks.”