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Opposition Watch: GWS Giants

Live the moment Live the moment this September as we continue our 2018 journey.

A host of returning star talent will bolster GWS in Saturday afternoon’s elimination final against the Sydney Swans at the SCG.

Forwards Toby Greene and Matt de Boer, defender Zac Williams and veteran Brett Deledio will all return from injury, with Williams running out for his first game of the season after rupturing his Achilles in January.

GWS co-captain Phil Davis said his side was thrilled to welcome them back.

“It’s fantastic to have them back,” Davis told reporters on Friday.

“They’re all established players. They have about 650 games of experience and there’s a lot of finals and big-game experience between them too. One thing we were able to do was get a lot of good training into them, so they’re fit and firing and of course established stars.”

The Giants’ key strength is their midfield contingent, with the likes of Callan Ward, Josh Kelly, Dylan Shiel and Stephen Coniglio posing threat on the inside and outside of the contest.

GWS is leading the competition in average clearances per game and running fifth in contested possession and inside 50s.

Jeremy Cameron, who’s topped the Giants’ goal-kicking leaderboard every season since they entered the AFL in 2012, provides plenty of punch forward of the ball.

Swans defender Dane Rampe has been tasked with playing on Cameron every time the two sides have clashed this season and the rivals are likely to resume hostilities, while Davis is expected to be sent to star Sydney forward Lance Franklin.

Franklin’s enormous ability is not lost on Davis, but he said the Giants would focus on the midfield battle.

“He’s a pretty good player,” Davis said.

“That’s generally the commentary that surrounds him.

“But generally the game is won and lost in the midfield, with who can apply the most pressure on the opposition but more importantly get the ball themselves and get it in their half. If we can win the ball around there and get it in our half that’s the easiest way to stopping Buddy – just keeping it out of his area.”

The Swans and Giants have met on three occasions in 2018, with Sydney recording a 16-point win at the SCG in Round 3 and a 20-point victory at Spotless Stadium in Round 22. 

Saturday will mark the second time in the brief Sydney Derby history the clubs have met in a final, with GWS claiming victory in a 2016 qualifying final at ANZ Stadium.