GV Giants go down fighting against the Rams

Top performer: Steven Tate was one of the Giants’ best in the loss at the weekend. Photo by Aydin Payne

The Kerang-Swan Hill Rams were too strong for the Goulburn Valley Giants, booting 13.19 (97) to 8.2 (50) in round three of the Vic Country AFL Masters season on Sunday, May 1.

The Giants made the long trek to the Swan Hill Recreation Reserve with only 14 players and two debutants. The Rams created loose men everywhere in the first quarter and jumped to a 26-point lead, requiring clarification of the 15-a-side rules at quarter time.

With fresher legs, the Rams extended the margin to 51 points at the main break.

Coach James Longley was busy in the centre and pushed forward to kick the only two first-half goals for the visitors.

Debutants Stephen Neff and Jake Thurston worked themselves into form for the Giants and regained their old touch. Thurston impressed with several clean marks up forward and one third-quarter goal. Neff also provided a strong presence around the contest.

David Tate was resolute in defence on a busy day. He enjoyed good support from Craig Wheaton and Bob Boyer. Wheaton’s run and diligent tackling lifted the Giants in the third term, showing the way for Tim Keenan, while Dan Cullen toiled in the ruck.

Jamie Grahame ran hard all day on the wing for the Giants. Wheaton and Grahame both won the praise of coach Longley. Tony Morris and Longley himself provided more options to the forwards after the main break. Steve Tate was also dangerous, kicking two goals after half time.

Freddy Estrada was switched from defence to full forward for the final quarter, with Steve Skinner vacating the goal square for the ruck.

It was a masterstroke.

Estrada’s three final-term goals were highlighted by a strong lead and one-handed grab following precision ball movement by the Giants.

Starting from half back, Duane Farrant found Tony Morris on the wing, who claimed ground before centring to Steven Tate at the top of the 50.

Tate set up Estrada, who kicked truly from 35m on a slight angle; fair reward after his juggling one-handed mark of the day.

Tough loss: Duane Farrant, Steve Skinner, Freddy Estrada and Tim Keenan after the match against the Rams.

The Giants kicked six goals to four to win the second half by four points. Best players for the Giants included David and Steven Tate, Estrada, Farrant, Grahame, Morris, Neff, and Wheaton.

The GV Giants host Woodend in round four, on Saturday, May 14 at Kialla Park Recreation Reserve.