Ste­vie J has plenty of fight left for fi­nal run

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT -

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.

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