“It comes down to contested ball and effort across four quarters. I think we let ourselves down a little bit there. It will be on the players on the day to bring that level of intensity and attention to detail for a four-quarter effort, as opposed to one half. We’ll have a lot of belief about the plan that we have going in.”
De Boer was making his return from a two-month absence due to a shoulder injury in that game, having thrust himself into All-Australian conversations across the first half of the season with a string of brilliant tagging jobs on opposition midfielders.
They’ve got a good midfield, but we’ve got a fair few elite midfielders they’ll have to deal with. It’ll make for a scrumptious contest.
Matt de Boer
The 29-year-old was assigned to Marcus Bontempelli early but was unable to curtail the superstar’s influence, and was cagey when asked about the prospect of a rematch with the newly-crowned AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year.
“I was on him a couple of weeks ago here and there but I also rotated through (Jack) Macrae and (Josh) Dunkley,” de Boer said.
“They’ve got a few players we’ll obviously take a look at. They’ve got a good midfield, but we’ve got a fair few elite midfielders they’ll have to deal with. It’ll make for a scrumptious contest.”
De Boer announced on Friday he has signed on with GWS until the end of the 2021 season – his second contract extension of the year, having put pen to paper on a seperate one-year deal back in April.
He said there were multiple reasons behind his decision to sign on again, including his success in his new shut-down role and the fact that so many other key players, including Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto and Nick Haynes, have also committed to the club.
“I think it might have been part of the Coniglio deal. He signed one seven-year deal, I’ve signed seven one-year deals over my time,” de Boer joked. “I told him if he left, I’d tag him, so I think I might be the reason he’s stayed.
“We’ve genuinely got a very powerful culture here and the boys want to be part of it. I’m just really confident in the direction of the club.”
The Giants remain optimistic that key defender Haynes will be fit to return against the Bulldogs, having suffered a fractured larynx in a collision with Bontempelli in their last clash. Haynes has consulted a throat specialist but will see another early next week for a second opinion, with no call on his availability to be made until then.
“We’re hopeful but there’s no guarantee. He’s got a big test over the next few days especially to see how he progresses,” de Boer said.
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.