WHERE AND WHEN: GMHBA Stadium, Saturday April 13, 1.45pm (AEST)
HISTORY: The Giants are yet to win in Geelong in four attempts.
SUMMARY: Geelong have surprised many so far this season, the Cats starting their 2019 campaign with wins over top-four aspirants Collingwood, Melbourne and Adelaide, with their younger brigade playing important roles. Greater Western Sydney, meanwhile, bounced back from a 52-point hammering at the hands of West Coast in round two with a 49-point victory over Richmond to improve to 2-1 on the season.
KEY PLAYERS: Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
Dangerfield continued his blistering start to the season, the Geelong superstar finishing with 32 possessions, 10 clearances, 12 inside 50s and one goal against the Crows. The 29-year-old has averaged a career-best 32 disposals across the opening three rounds and ranks in the top five for contested possessions, inside 50s and score involvements. The Giants will be keen to shut down the drive Dangerfield provides with Matt de Boer – who successfully negated Tigers gun Dustin Martin last-start – to make it his mission to quell Dangerfield’s influence.
Jeremy Cameron (Greater Western Sydney)
Cameron produced a performance for the ages in the win over Richmond, the dynamic forward finishing with a stat-line of 30 disposals, nine marks and 7.5. The 26-year-old currently leads the Coleman medal race with 14 goals and will need to continue his strong run of form if the Giants are to get the job done at the Cattery. Mark Blicavs has the ability to go with Cameron in the air and once the football hits the deck, and will undoubtedly be assigned the task of keeping the star Giant quiet. Key to Greater Western Sydney putting 19 goals on the board last week was their ability to move the football with pace and precision. Geelong are one of the better tackling teams in the League, averaging 69 tackles per game. If they play with that level of intensity on Saturday, Cameron’s struggles in Geelong – he has kicked just five goals in three games at GMHBA Stadium – will continue.
Tom Stewart (Geelong)
Stewart was a key figure in last week’s win over the Crows with 23 possessions (22 kicks), eight marks and 10 rebound 50s. An elite reader of the play, the bounce Stewart provides off half-back is something Greater Western Sydney will look to nullify in an attempt to get repeat entries inside 50. Don’t be surprised if Giants coach Leon Cameron utilises Sam Reid in a defensive forward role. GWS must engage Reid at every available opportunity and the 29-year-old must make his presence felt on the scoresheet so as to make Stewart accountable.
Lachie Whitfield (Greater Western Sydney)
Whitfield’s stunning start to 2019 went to another level in round three, the smooth-moving Giant backing up 30-plus possession games with a 42-possession, 12-mark, six-rebound 50 and eight-inside 50 display against Richmond. Not only does Whitfield win a stack of the football, he also uses it well with the 24-year-old ranked third in the competition for effective disposals per game. Limiting Whitfield’s creativity off half-back will be a focus for Geelong in their bid to stifle a GWS outfit that can score in bunches when on-song. Expect Grian Miers – who impressed with three goals against Adelaide – to match-up on Whitfield in what will be a pivotal battle. Miers doesn’t need a lot of the football to have an impact and will need to make every post a winner so as to make Whitfield worry about his direct opponent, thereby limiting his influence as an attacking springboard from the back half.
PREDICTION: There is no doubting that Greater Western Sydney has the talent to knock over Geelong, but the Cats rarely lose on their home deck. And with Geelong getting contributions across the board, Chris Scott’s troops should come up trumps in a contest that is likely to live up to its billing as the match of the round. Cats by 15 points.