Forget percentage boosting – Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron is just relieved his team is leaving the Gold Coast with another AFL win.
The high-flying Giants were taken to the limit by a gallant and injury-hit Suns on Saturday night before finishing 14.8 (92) to 13.6 (84) at Metricon Stadium.
The victory keeps the Giants in the hunt for a top-two finish, but they have relinquished second spot to cross-town rivals Sydney after the Swans’ big win over Port Adelaide.
Despite being seen before the match as cannon fodder for the Giants, the Suns kicked the opening three goals and held the lead at every change.
Only back-to-back Giants goals with less than five minutes on the clock gave the visitors the winning edge.
Cameron said all that mattered in the end was his team finding a way to overcome a dogged opponent.
“We are not in that position to say we won’t accept an ugly win because we will accept an ugly win any day of the week,” Cameron said.
“Credit to our boys, found a way, that’s the pleasing thing.
“We’ve got to find a way to win when things don’t work out perfectly for you.”
Jeremy Cameron proved the game-breaker for the Giants, with his fourth goal putting the visitors ahead for just the third time in a game in which scores were level on seven occasions.
Stephen Coniglio led the disposals count with 33 for the Giants, while Tom Scully (28) and Callan Ward (26) also saw plenty of the ball.
The ever-busy Steve Johnson kicked two goals, as did Toby Greene and Jonathon Patton.
For the Suns, Steven May was a tower at the back with 27 disposals and 14 marks, while Tom Lynch stays in the Coleman Medal race following his four-goal haul.
The hosts lost Alex Sexton (thigh) for the final quarter, while Tom Nicholls (knee) spent much of the match rucking on one leg.
Suns coach Rodney Eade couldn’t have been prouder of his charges despite the defeat.
“To be able to do that against nearly a full-strength team, who are second on the ladder, probably the best running team in the competition, it was just a game of courage and grit,” he said.
“Our contest, our ability to work for each other, the spirit shown from the group, I must admit I thought it was amazing.”
The Giants host West Coast next week in a crucial clash in the race for top-four positions, while Gold Coast travel to Melbourne to take on bottom-placed Essendon.