GWS Giants forwards run wild in thumping win over reigning premiers Collingwood

Greater Western Sydney have gone some way to avenging last year’s preliminary final defeat to Collingwood by inflicting one of the worst losses of Pies coach Craig McRae’s career.

After a tight first quarter and a half, the Giants kicked away just before half-time and then piled on the only four goals in a dominant third quarter to set up the comfortable 32-point victory.

Collingwood were missing veteran Jeremy Howe, Nathan Murphy and Billy Frampton from last year’s premiership back six and the Giants’ powerful forward line exposed the makeshift defence that featured debutant Charlie Dean.

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Callum Brown (five) and Jesse Hogan (four) combined for nine goals, while Brent Daniels kicked four and Aaron Cadman chimed in with two in a scintillating performance.

There’s no timeline on when Murphy will return, but Howe should be fit for next week and Frampton is also available if the Pies look to mix things up ahead of next week’s clash against Sydney.

But it wasn’t just up forward where the Giants dominated.

Midfield trio Tom Green, Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly had the better of Collingwood’s midfield, while the defence kept the Pies’ forwards in check.

The performance left former Collingwood and Carlton star Dale Thomas in no doubt the Giants will be among the contenders this year.

Hogan kicked four goals for the Giants. Credit: AAP

“From what we’ve seen tonight, this is a team that is certainly going to be contending,” Thomas said on Channel 7.

“If this is the benchmark of their performance, it is Round 1, so it is a long season and you have to have luck and everything … but the small sample is size we’ve seen at the minute says this is a clubhouse leader.”

The only downside was the shoulder injury to veteran Callan Ward, who appears certain to miss multiple weeks after he was subbed out at half-time.

Meanwhile, only a late flurry of goals prevented the Magpies from suffering their worst loss in McRae’s tenure as Magpies coach, which was 48 points to the Western Bulldogs in Round 9, 2022.

“This is one of their poorer performances,” Richmond great Matthew Richardson said on Channel 7.

Jude Bolton added: “They only conceded 17 goals or more twice last year against Brisbane and the Giants have managed to pile on 18 goals … so next week they just really want to tighten up defensively.”

More to come …

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