This weekend’s final round of the AFL regular season is shaping up to be an absolute beauty with the GWS Giants in line to finish anywhere from as high as first to as low as seventh.
For the Giants, currently in fifth, to finish as minor premiers at the conclusion of the final round, they need to defeat North Melbourne this Saturday by at least 30 points and need all of the teams above them to lose.
To finish in the all-important top four, GWS need to beat North Melbourne by any margin and either Adelaide or Geelong need to lose their respective games, to secure a double chance in the finals.
If the Giants lose to the eighth-placed Kangaroos and West Coast defeat Adelaide and the Bulldogs overcome Fremantle, it would mean GWS miss out on the coveted home Elimination Final.
Fortunately, no matter what the results this weekend, one thing that’s certain is that the GWS Giants will play in their first ever AFL Finals series since entering the competition in 2012.
Last week the Giants won their 15th game of the season, with a 129-37 thrashing of the Fremantle Dockers at Spotless Stadium. The emphatic 92-point win was GWS’ largest in their short history.
A career-high six-goal effort from Jonathon Patton was the highlight of the game, according to a thrilled Giants coach Leon Cameron.
“Anyone that kicks half a dozen goals has had a pretty good day out, but it’s particularly pleasing for Jon because of the injuries he’s sustained,” he said.
“He’s been in pretty good form for most of the year. He’s improved probably one per cent most weeks, but there’s no doubt he took a big step today.”
The Giants will head into this weekend’s clash against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium with a clean bill of health after players came through last week’s match against the Dockers unscathed.
With finals footy coming up, Cameron confirmed he wouldn’t rest players for this weekend’s clash.
“We’ll be full steam ahead, so there will be no holding back from our end,” he said.
“We know any side that’s capable of winning nine in a row is a really good side.”
The third year coach said the club will have to sweat on other results to see where they finish up.
“There are so many things that can stem from this match in terms of ladder position,” Cameron said.
“But we can’t control what happens with the other teams, so we’ve got to go 100 per cent on Saturday night ourselves.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.