Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has hailed his side’s 19-point AFL triumph over Port Adelaide as their best win for the year.
The Giants overcame a lacklustre start at Adelaide Oval on Sunday to prevail 11.13 (79) to 9.6 (60) and shatter Port’s finals dreams.
The record-breaking 12th home-and-away win propelled GWS to second on the ladder and one step closer to securing a home final.
It looked at first like the combination of wet and blustery conditions, an experienced and physical Port outfit and a small but hostile 29,735 crowd would prove too much for the young Giants, who managed just two goals to halftime.
But GWS surged to life in the third term, booting four consecutive majors during a 10-minute stretch that would prove to be game-defining.
The tough Giants’ midfield brigade looked simply unstoppable and finished comfortably ahead in the contested possession count, delighting their coach.
“I thought it was our best win for the year because our boys found a different way to win,” Cameron said after the game.
“We’ve improved dramatically in our contested side of it this year. Some good sides have beaten us in that area over the year.
“But I just thought it was a really great solid effort from all 22 that participated. That to me shows that a club wants to go the extra yards.”
Cameron said ruckman Shane Mumford would have tests on an injured knee after hobbling off the ground in the dying minutes.
The 199cm veteran was matched early by a valiant Jackson Trengove but wore the smaller man down as the game went on, laying 10 tackles to go with 49 hitouts.
His outstanding second half proved a major spark for the Giants’ young midfield brigade of best-on-ground Dylan Shiel (28 disposals, two goals), Toby Greene and Stephen Coniglio.
Now three games shy of eight-placed North Melbourne, Port look almost certain to miss out on playing in September.
Coach Ken Hinkley said his side’s performance had followed the same frustrating pattern as many of their losses to the competition’s best teams.
“We’re OK and we’re in it for bits but when they stepped on the pedal we weren’t able to keep going with them,” he said.
“I think it’s across the board against those teams. They’re able to step up a gear. When they step up we’re not able to stay with them.”
Tough midfielder Brad Ebert was a rare shining light for the Power, booting four goals and gathering 19 disposals despite copping a hit to the back of the head which opened up a massive cut.
Star onballer Robbie Gray was excellent in his 150th game, booting three goals and gathering 25 touches.