Fast-improving Greater Western Sydney ticked off another big milestone early this season with a first-ever AFL victory over Geelong.
Now comes the even tougher task – finding a way past the Cats at Simonds Stadium, a venue where half of the Giants’ team for Saturday’s top-four clash have never played a single AFL game.
Since early 2007, the Cats are a remarkable 64-6 on their home deck, including their last seven on the trot dating back to midway through 2015.
Geelong will be grateful to return to the comforts of home this week, having dropped their past two matches to Collingwood and Carlton.
The Giants are also coming off a last-start defeat at another hostile venue – away to the Crows at the Adelaide Oval.
“Geelong’s probably the hardest road trip, they play the ground particularly well and there’s no doubt they get really good support down there from the crowd,” Giants coach Leon Cameron told the club website.
“It’s going to be a huge task for us, we have to be absolutely spot on to take it to Geelong.
“We know they’re going to be disappointed with their last couple of weeks so it’s a challenge for us.
“We were also disappointed with our last week against Adelaide so it will be two top-eight sides going toe-to-toe on Saturday.”
Only eight members of the Giants team named for Saturday’s match also played in the club’s only previous game at Simonds Stadium – a 65-point drubbing in their debut season back in 2012.
GWS will turn to two former Cats, mercurial forward Steve Johnson and ruckman Shane Mumford, for some inside information on what it takes to win at the Cattery.
“For me the emotion of playing against my old team the first time (in Canberra in round two) was a little bit strange,” said Johnson, a three-time premiership star with the Cats and long-time crowd favourite.
“Now I know it’s just important that we go out there and try and play a brand of football that can hopefully stand up against a team that is rarely beaten down in Geelong.
“I know that first-hand because I’ve been involved a lot of those times.”
GWS have stiffened their defence with the inclusion of backmen Phil Davis and Matt Buntine.
The Cats made three unforced changes, with clever forwards Dan Menzel and Lincoln McCarthy among the inclusions.
Geelong and GWS are third and fourth on the ladder respectively, both with 7-3 records.