Giants upset Demons, go into AFL top-eight

·3-min read

GWS have held off a late challenge from Melbourne to upset the AFL ladder-leaders by nine points, knocking reigning premiers Richmond out of the top-eight in the process.

The Giants (7-1-7) blew an opportunity to jump into eighth last week by collapsing to lowly Hawthorn at the MCG but made amends at the same venue with their best performance of the season.

Melbourne's rock-solid defence, spearheaded by Steven May and Jake Lever, kept the Demons in Saturday's contest but the Giants led from start to finish.

GWS star Toby Greene was electric with three goals in a low-scoring game as the Giants prevailed 9.10 (64) to 7.13 (55).

It was only the Giants' sixth win at the MCG in 23 attempts.

"Clearly to beat Melbourne at the MCG (considering) where they sit on the ladder is an unbelievably awesome effort from our group," GWS coach Leon Cameron said.

"It's a great experience for a lot of the young kids to play MCG Saturday afternoon, a really cold day in July and salute."

Josh Kelly, Callan Ward and Tim Taranto put in outstanding games in the midfield, with the Giants trio shading the Demons' decorated engine room.

But the Giants were rocked by a suspected ACL injury to defender Jack Buckley, who has produced a breakout season after playing just two career games before 2021.

Melbourne came hard in the last term but left their run too late, with veteran development coach Mark Williams' best efforts to rev the Demons fans up at three-quarter-time ultimately proving in vain.

In a major concern for Melbourne's premiership hopes, their forward line failed to fire for the third week in a row and have averaged just 62 points a game over that period.

Bailey Fritsch always looked dangerous and finished with three goals, including two in the last quarter, but he lacked support.

With key fowards Ben Brown and Sam Weideman languishing in the VFL, the Demons will have to seriously look at recalling one, or both, of them for their upcoming clash with fellow flag fancies Port Adelaide.

"We're not naive to the fact that we probably need to execute better inside-50 and need to score a little bit more," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

"The key thing is that those guys (Brown and Weideman) get themselves in really good form and that will give them the best opportunity to play.

"There were too many areas, especially in that first-half, that certainly weren't to the level."

Melbourne have just five days to recover before flying to Adelaide to face the Power, while GWS' clash with Gold Coast will need to be moved from Giants Stadium due to NSW's COVID-19 outbreak.

The Demons (12-3) will likely find themselves off the top of the ladder by round's end, with the Western Bulldogs (11-3), who have a superior percentage, facing cellar-dwellers North Melbourne on Sunday.

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