GWS overcome yet more injuries in AFL win

·3-min read

Young defenders Sam Taylor and Jack Buckley are the latest victims in GWS's injury-cursed AFL season, having battled through ankle problems in Sunday's 16-point victory over West Coast.

GWS's injury crisis plunged to a new low at Giants Stadium, where they were minus enforced omissions Toby Greene (shoulder), Jesse Hogan (calf) and Harry Perryman (hamstring).

Taylor and Buckley, who did an exceptional job to help restrict power forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling to a goal each, limped off with ankle injuries during the third quarter.

Both backmen returned to the fray to help settle a pulsating contest, which remained in the balance until speedster Bobby Hill kicked consecutive goals to hand GWS a game-high lead of 16 points with three minutes remaining.

Josh Kelly starred as stand-in skipper in the absence of Greene and Stephen Coniglio, while recalled forwards Jeremy Finlayson and Zach Sproule, ruckman Matt Flynn and second-year midfielder Tom Green combined for nine goals to help their side prevail 13.15 (93) to 11.11 (77).

Giants coach Leon Cameron praised the leadership and resilience after arguably his undermanned side's most meritorious win of 2021, revealing Taylor and Buckley are no certainty to face Brisbane in round 11.

"They were in a fair bit of distress," Cameron told reporters.

"For those two guys to come back on when they probably should be off the ground, it was a wonderful sign in a terrific win.

"It's a six-day turnaround ... if those two boys are right to go (against the Lions), then fantastic.

"If they're not, we'll find some players who really put their hand up in the VFL. Our VFL was undermanned as well ... we're a bit banged up."

Jacob Hopper also limped off in great discomfort during the second half but Cameron indicated the midfielder was only winded.

Cameron's charges drew level with eighth-placed Richmond in banking a 5-5 start, having turned things around dramatically since starting the year with three losses.

"Sometimes you can run the other way but we put our hand up, we're not a club who blames anything other than ourselves," Cameron said.

Kelly (25 disposals, seven clearances, eight tackles) led from the front when it came to pressure and poise on Sunday, inspiring his team to lay 32 more tackles than the Eagles.

"Some people can think about it (captaincy) too much and it affects their performance," Cameron said.

"Sometimes that responsibility can lead you sideways and affect your own performance.

"He was so measured.

"Those three leaders (Kelly, Hopper and Lachie Whitfield) all really stood up when they needed to."

Tim Kelly tallied a game-high 15 contested possessions and eight clearances for West Coast, while ruckman Nic Naitanui had eight clearances and 34 hitouts.

The loss came as premiership captain Shannon Hurn became the Eagles' all-time games record holder.

"Those milestones are very important," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"I'm sure they are hurting.

"It felt almost like a final with the ebbs and flows ... we're not going to completely dismiss this as a disaster."

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