Nic Naitanui and Jeremy McGovern have produced standout displays to lead West Coast to a 12-point AFL win over Greater Western Sydney at Optus Stadium.
Naitanui tallied seven clearances, 14 disposals, 28 hitouts and a goal in the 9.7 (61) to 7.7 (49) win in front of 27,339 fans on Sunday.
McGovern was a force in defence, snaring 10 marks – including five contested – among his 18 possessions.
— AFL (@AFL) August 11, 2018
In a game of momentum swings, major alarm bells were ringing for GWS after the Eagles skipped out to a 33-1 lead early in the second quarter.
The Giants closed the margin to 10 points in the third term, but the game looked over when West Coast extended the margin to 37 points early in the final quarter.
GWS made one final push with four unanswered goals to finish the match but they ran out of time.
West Coast’s eighth win in a row kept them in fourth spot, with a 9-3 record, while the Giants (6-6) are 11th and face a battle to make the finals.
GWS copped heavy criticism after their 41-point loss to Sydney last week but they produced far more fight against West Coast.
The Giants were dealt a huge blow when veteran Callan Ward suffered a compound fracture to a finger in the third quarter.
GWS staff were busy during the second half attempting to book Ward in for surgery on Sunday night.
Naitanui dominated proceedings in the opening term, with six clearances and booting a goal in an awesome display.
The star ruckman had a hand in five of West Coast’s seven scores, with the Eagles booting four unanswered goals to take a 26-point lead into quarter time.
The Giants blew a series of chances in the second term but they finally broke through for their first goal of the match with less than two minutes to go in the half.
McGovern provided the highlight of the term when he climbed onto the shoulders of Harry Himmelberg to take a spectacular mark.
Quick goals to GWS debutant Jake Riccardi and captain Stephen Coniglio to start the third quarter cut the margin to 10 points but it was as close as they could get.
Riccardi booted two goals from 16 disposals in a promising display, while midfielder Josh Kelly (26 disposals) and Jacob Hopper (seven clearances) worked hard.