GWS home in a thriller over the Lions

GWS home in a thriller over the Lions

COLLINGWOOD looks the biggest winners after GWS beat Brisbane by three points in a brutal, controversial and absorbing AFL semi-final.

The Giants’ 12.11 (83) to 11.14 (78) win booked a spot against the Magpies in next Saturday’s preliminary final at the MCG.

But the epic duel at the Gabbatoir would have made pleasant Saturday night viewing for Magpies coach Nathan Buckley, who was at the game.

Michael Christian will have a busy match review, with several significant incidents during the match.

Late in the second quarter, Lions star Lachie Neale emerged from a scuffle holding an eye.

This was after Giants star Toby Greene, who was outstanding again on Saturday night, was referred to the tribunal and fined for making contact with the face of Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli.

A whopping 54 free kicks were paid, 31-23 in the Giants’ favour, and umpire Ray Chamberlain rivalled Greene as the most unpopular man in front of a crowd of 30,034.

GWS small forward Brent Daniels kicked an outstanding running goal with less than three minutes to put his team in front – the 10th lead change of the match.

The Giants then hung on grimly to secure the win.

While the Lions went out in straight sets, they lost no friends with their performance against GWS.

But they were left ruing a 19-7 inside 50 free count for the last quarter in their favour.

Giants co-captain Phil Davis was immense in defence as the two teams kicked two goals apiece in the frenetic final term.

The medical staff at GWS will earn their keep over the next week, preparing the players as they try to beat the Magpies for their first grand final .

After the Giants had mauled the Western Bulldogs and the Lions had blown their chances against Richmond the week before, this was always going to be a fierce clash.

Umpire Shaun Ryan was heard in the match audio telling the Giants he would pay free kicks against them if they kept targeting Charlie Cameron’s bandaged elbow,

The All-Australian Lion was hurt in the first few minutes.

Brisbane hard-nut Nick Robertson will also come under scrutiny for whacking opponent Lachie Whitfield in his sore lower back.

Whitfield slumped to the ground, then angrily pushed Robertson in the chest.

The first 10 minutes set the stage, with Cameron forced from the field in agony and the Giants unleashing a four-goal barrage.

Greene made an immediate impact when he snapped the opening goal of the match.

As Greene and Lions veteran Luke Hodge clashed, Brisbane defender Harris Andrews gave away an undisciplined free kick.

That meant Jeremy Finlayson kicked another goal for the Giants before the next centre bounce.

The Lions counter-attacked, kicking the next five goals for an improbable six-point lead at quarter time.

Brisbane looked in strife when GWS led by 12 points at halftime and broke out to a 20-point lead early in the third.

Lions fans were furious at the umpires, booing them from the field at halftime and again after the final siren.\

© AAP 2019

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.2 9.4 10.10 12.11 (83)

BRISBANE LIONS 5.2 7.4 9.9 11.14 (80)

Goals: Greater Western Sydney: J Cameron 3 J Finlayson 2 T Greene 2 B Daniels D Lloyd J Hopper J Kelly Z Williams. Brisbane Lions: E Hipwood 3 C Cameron 2 A Christensen C Rayner D McStay D Zorko J Berry J Lyons.

Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Matt Stevic, Ray Chamberlain.

Official Crowd: 30,034 at Gabba.