By CHARLIE GOODSIR
NEAFL ROUND 15
GIANTS (6th) v Gold Coast SUNS (8th) at Spotless Stadium, 1.45pm
*Live Champion Data statistics on the Official NEAFL App
The GWS GIANTS’ charge for finals took a bump last weekend in Wollongong after the Swans ran out comfortable 46-point winners at North Dalton Park. Despite winning five in a row prior to last Saturday, the GIANTS can ill-afford any more losses with their opponents, the Gold Coast SUNS, also making a late season run at finals.
Gold Coast had a good win against Redland before the bye last weekend and have been known to cause upsets in 2018 with victories against the Sydney Swans, Aspley, Southport and the GIANTS back in Round 2 in Mackay.
With both teams expected to bring back some AFL-listed talent from injury through the NEAFL this week, expect a red-hot contest at Spotless Stadium as both clubs fight for a place in the top six.
*Full teams announced Friday morning.
Round 10, 2018: GWS GIANTS 13.17 (95) def Gold Coast SUNS 5.13 (43)
Round 2, 2018: Gold Coast SUNS 14.9 (93) def GWS GIANTS 11.6 (72)
Round 18, 2017: Gold Coast SUNS 15.13 (103) def GWS GIANTS 10.12 (72)
1. The GIANTS conceded 70 inside 50s against the Swans last week. For a large part of the game, the game was being played in the Swans’ forward 50 and the GIANTS struggled to get the ball out of their defensive lines. The GIANTS elite backline in Tim Mohr and Matt Buntine will lead the charge this week in ensuring that the GIANTS don’t allow a large amount of inside 50s.
2. The Gold Coast SUNS have had seven byes since 2016. The SUNS have been victorious five times the week after they had the bye. Gold Coast notably defeated the eventual premiers Brisbane in Round 20 last year in a seven-point thriller after they had the bye. The SUNS will be particularly buoyant as their most recent game was a strong win against Redland.
3. GIANTS ruckman Matthew Flynn has stood up in recent weeks after Dawson Simpson earned a spot in the senior side. Flynn won the hit-outs last week against in-form Swans ruckman Darcy Cameron (41-32) and in the past three weeks, he has averaged 16.6 disposals, 41.6 hit-outs, 4.3 clearances and 2.3 inside 50s.
Tom Banuelos was fantastic for the GIANTS last week, scoring three of the GIANTS four goals for the day. Banuelos was also potent in defence as he laid five tackles. In his four games this year, Banuelos has averaged just under nine disposals, four tackles and 1.3 goals a game and last week earned his first NEAFL MVP vote.
STATS THAT MATTER
The GIANTS and the SUNS rely on their tackling and tackling pressure. The SUNS average the most amount of tackles in the competition at 72.6, and GIANTS midfielder Nick Shipley is the competition leader for average tackles at nine per game.
GWS GIANTS by 26 points
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