The GWS Giants have overthrown the ladder-leading Demons at the MCG on Saturday to climb temporarily into the AFL top eight and inject some momentum in their run towards finals.
They turned up for the fight and out-hunted the Demons around the ball for three quarters, before holding off a late rush from the home side to claim a nine-point win on the road.
The Dees had 18 inside 50s to 11 in the final term but were wasteful with their opportunities kicking just 2.4. Bailey Fritsch (three goals) appeared to be his side’s only hope of a comeback win, booting two final-quarter majors, but ultimately the Giants held up the dam wall for long enough in a 9.10 (64) to 7.13 (55) victory.
For the entire match, the momentum swung on the midfield battle.
The Giants’ key ball winners Josh Kelly, Callan Ward, Tim Taranto, Tom Green and Jacob Hopper overworked their counterparts for three quarters, with the Giants winning the clearance count 39-24, before Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca tried to lift their side back into the contest.
Running head-to-head with Oliver, Kelly was the busiest of the Giants brigade, amassing 29 disposals, 10 contested possessions and eight tackles, as well as a clinical goal on the run from 50 in the second term.
After starting the season 9-0, the Demons have coughed up their buffer at the top of the ladder with losses to Adelaide, Collingwood and now the Giants in their past six matches.
Their connection going inside-50 proved to be to their detriment, with tall forwards Tom McDonald and Luke Jackson having little impact. Small forwards Kosi Pickett and Tom Sparrow were also non-existent despite the Demons having their fair share of entries and one more scoring shot than the Giants.