By MITCH TERPSTRA
Canberra Demons were able to hold out the GIANTS with a come-from-behind 10-point victory at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval on Thursday night.
The GIANTS were able to start strongly the first half strongly, outworking and pressuring the ball, before Canberra was able to put on a run of five goals to two after the main break, setting up a 10.4 (64) to 8.6 (46) victory.
The GIANTS fielded six AFL-listed players, headlined by ruckman Shane Mumford, and his dominance through the ruck contest combined with Nick Shipley through his gut running and smart ball use were highlights for the visitors.
But it was the Demons who were able to find an extra gear in the second half to come away with the win.
Canberra Demons coach Kade Klemke put the slow first half down to it being his side’s first proper hit out for the year.
“I think early days it was just a little bit complacent, probably just half a second off… so it took us a while to adjust but that’s what practice games are for,” he told neafl.com.au.
GIANTS NEAFL coach Adam Schneider was happy with the way his side’s ability to target the ball into heading into their forward inside 50 in the first half – with Zach Sproule the focal point with five goals for the match.
“I think when we just went direct with the footy, we had some good forwards up there, strong marking targets … and (we) were able to convert as well,” he said.
“When you are doing footy like that it makes it look like a pretty simple game once you get it in their quick and give them their best chance.”
Canberra was helped through the midfield by Connor Owen-Auburn and new recruit Kel Evans’ attack around the contested ball, as well as creating more turnovers with their pressure in the second half.
“We simplified it (game-plan) but our pressure was key … we really rely on pressure within our team,” Klemke said.
Schneider said the GIANTS started to overuse the ball which lead to critical turnovers during the match.
“I think we didn’t help ourselves. We were overusing with the bal,l we just handballed to much and they beat us on turnover,” he said.
“I think once we did turn it over they beat us through the corridor and our balance was not very good around the contest … once they won it and it spilled out they were able to beat us on the outside and outworked us a little bit there and it really hurt us going forward.”
Despite the result, Schneider was particularly excited about the performances out of his academy players.
“I thought young (Nick) Murray was really good for us down back (and) young (Shaun) Driscoll was super for us in the middle. He’s got some speed, and we put him on (Mitch) Maguire there in the last quarter (and was able to) shut him down there for a good five or six-minute period, and got a turnover goal from it.”
Klemke said the Demons will be focusing on their work around the contest going into their next practice match against the Sydney Swans in two weeks’ time.
The GIANTS will look more closely at practicing their style of play heading into their next practice match clash with Sydney University on Sunday, March 24.
Check out the full NEAFL practice match schedule here.
NEAFL Practice Match at Gungahlin Oval
CANBERRA 1.0 4.0 9.3 10.4 (64)
GIANTS 3.1 6.1 7.4 8.6 (54)
GOALS – Canberra: R Pollock 2 C Owen-Auburn L Meline M Hambleton T Faul K Evans A Bruce M Maguire T Highmore. GIANTS: Z Spoule 5 S Driscoll K Briggs.
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