Stand-in captain Toby Greene has kicked five goals to inspire an injury-hit GWS to a superb 30-point victory over Collingwood and get their AFL season off the mark.
The Giants were 0-3 heading into Saturday night’s game, and reeling from injuries to skipper Stephen Coniglio, key defender Phil Davis and tagger Matt de Boer – on top of an already-hefty injury list.
But Greene starred while Callan Ward pushed through a first-quarter hand injury to rack up 37 touches and seven clearances as the Giants prevailed 14.6 (90) to 9.6 (60) in front of 29,866 fans to condemn Collingwood to their second-straight loss.
It was a dirty night for Collingwood who slipped to 1-3 and had vice-captain Taylor Adams limp off with an MCL injury in the third quarter, while Brayden Sier (illness) was substituted out for Levi Greenwood earlier that term.
In his first game for the season, veteran ruckman Shane Mumford limited the influence of Magpies star Brodie Grundy while Tim Taranto (34 disposals), Jacob Hopper (32 touches) and Jeremy Finlayson (four goals) were all influential.
Jack Crisp (30 touches), Steele Sidebottom (30), Jack Madgen (25) and defensive duo Jeremy Howe and Darcy Moore all worked hard for the Magpies.
The Giants burst out of the blocks when Bobby Hill soccered through the opener – but Collngwood responded through debutant Beau McCreery’s toepoked first goal.
In a cagey first quarter there was no more scoring action until Finlayson dobbed a long-range set shot after the siren.
Greene snared three goals in the second quarter, then two in quick succession after halftime, while Jake Riccardi added another to nudge the Giants’ lead beyond four goals in the teeming rain – before a previously listless Collingwood struck back.
Jordan De Goey and Josh Daicos’ instinctive snaps provided a spark, with Will Hoskin-Elliott adding another goal before Harry Himmelberg’s strike gave the Giants some breathing space at the final change.
There was controversy early in the fourth term when Collingwood star Sidebottom was penalised for a deliberate rushed behind – with Finlayson taking full advantage.
From there, the Giants largely held firm through Collingwood’s attempts to surge, and kicked away late through Josh Kelly and Finlayson.