New GWS recruit Ryan Griffen produced a match-winning performance on debut as the Giants perfect week ended with a 36-point NAB Challenge victory over Gold Coast on Saturday.
Midfielder Griffen, who the Giants acquired from Western Bulldogs in a trade for key forward Tom Boyd, tallied a game-high 31 possessions and produced a couple of match-clinching final quarter plays, to help the Giants to a 0.14.10 (94) to 2.6.4 (58) victory.
It was another big plus and momentum builder for a club buzzing from the announcements earlier in the week of contract extensions for co-captain and key defender Phil Davis and forwards Jeremy Cameron and Devon Smith
“It’s been a great week for the footy club,” said Giants’ coach Leon Cameron after his club’s first Challenge match of the campaign at Blacktown in western Sydney.
With the Suns closing to within four points in the final term, Griffen showed his class in a tight situation to snap a valuable goal and quickly followed up with a fine kick to Tom Downie, who marked and goaled.
“You could clearly see that he (Griffen) was nervous, but after the first 15 or 20 minutes he settled down and played some great footy,” Cameron said.
“I thought his decision making was terrific.”
Cameron was also happy with the debut performance of his other major recruit, former Brisbane dual best and fairest-winning defender Joel Patfull.
Jeremy Cameron was kept to one goal, but fellow key forward Cam McCarthy almost stole the show with an eyecatching cameo effort as a final quarter substitute.
He booted three goals, including two from his first two kicks, as the Giants slammed on five successive majors to seal the win.
Gold Coast slashed a 21-point deficit to one in the third quarter with successive super goals to Sean Lemmings and Trent McKenzie.
The Suns, who were playing their second Challenge game after beating Geelong in Townsville, fatigued in the final quarter.
Best for Gold Coast was Harley Bennell, who kicked three well taken goals, while David Swallow accumulated 24 possessions.
Coach Rodney Eade extracted positives from the performances of young defenders Adam Saad and Jack Leslie.
“Some individual efforts were good…there’s some positives out of the first three quarters, so there’s something we can take away,” Eade said.
“But there’s certainly a lot we can learn and improve on.”
The Suns’ Tom Lynch was reported for rough conduct for a third quarter incident involving the Giants’ Matt Buntine.