Stevie J has plenty of fight left for final run
NOT DONE YET: Veteran Giants forward Steve Johnson (middle) is surrounded by teammates after kicking a goal last night. Picture: Getty Images STEVE Johnson wound back the clock in a 67-point win over West Coast at Spotless Stadium last night, booting six goals as Greater Western Sydney stormed into a preliminary final.
GWS clinically ended the Eagles’ season, and careers of Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis and Drew Petrie, by prevailing 19.11 (125) to 9.4 (58).
Recalled veteran Johnson will add at least one more chapter to a storied career, provided his dodgy knee holds up ahead of the Giants’ pre- liminary final against Richmond at the MCG next Saturday.
The 34-year-old kicked four goals in the third term of a spiteful semi-final.
The heat was on the Giants after the previous week’s embarrassing loss to Adelaide, but Leon Cameron’s side responded ruthlessly.
The hosts opened up a 37point lead early in the second quarter and never looked back.
The Giants regained their mojo, heaping pressure on the besieged Eagles while moving the ball with a potent mix of precision and pace.
Dylan Shiel, Nathan Wilson, Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene were standouts for the Giants, having all been well below their best against the Crows.
Shiel booted the game’s opening goal, which came after a nervous nine minutes, and had plenty of the ball.
Greene copped a painful blow to the head from Jeremy McGovern but managed to kick three goals, while Wilson’s superboot was involved in many of the Giants’ surges forward.
Whitfield recovered from a jaw-rattling clash with Petrie on the cusp of halftime to finish with 28 disposals.
Aside from a couple of wasted chances in front of goal and a small crowd of 14,865 – the lowest for an AFL/VFL final since 1916 – the only major concern for GWS was Nick Haynes’ injury scare in the third term.
Haynes continued to play after hurting his knee, suggesting he is a likely starter against Richmond.
Rory Lobb had a matchhigh 39 hitouts, stepping up to replace injured Giants ruckman Shame Mumford.
Petrie had a quiet night in his 332nd and final game, notching just seven disposals, while Mitchell and Priddis had 28 and 30 touches respectively.