GWS Giants looked every inch a potential AFL finalist with a stunning and record-breaking 75-point home thrashing of premiers Hawthorn on Saturday.
The Giants kicked a club record 24.14 (158) to Hawthorn’s 12.11 (83) as a delirious crowd chanted “Here come the Giants.”
Veteran forward Steve Johnson produced his first five-goal effort since June 2012 when GWS were on the receiving end and he was wearing Geelong’s colours.
Emerging ruckman-forward Rory Lobb kicked an equal career-best four goals and chief spearhead Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene and Rhys Palmer all bagged three majors.
In a sign of their growing maturity, GWS barely blinked on the two occasions in the second and third quarters when Hawthorn threatened to mount a comeback, responding both times with multiple goals.
With Lachie Whitfield and Dylan Shiel in irresistible form and driving a eager corps of on-ballers, the Giants frequently moved the ball with thrilling speed and precision.
Hawthorn kicked the first goal of the game, but trailed by 32 at the first break and were ultimately flogged 153-114 in contested possessions.
Johnson, Cameron and Lobb each kicked two goals in the opening period, with the rampaging Giants notching a club record first quarter score of 7.3.
Hawthorn kicked three goals in as many minutes to cut the deficit to 27, but GWS slammed on the final three goals of the period to restore their 45-point lead by the main break.
It was a similar story in the third quarter, with Hawthorn posting the first two goals of the period and the Giants retaliating with five of the last six.
Jack Gunston kicked five goals and Luke Breust three for Hawthorn, with Sam Mitchell racking up 26 touches.