Where and when: Carrara, Saturday August 24, 7.25pm AEST
What it means for Gold Coast: This is the last chance to get something tangible from the season. Yes, certain players have improved. Yes, they’ve been competitive for large portions of matches, but the bottom line is the Suns have lost 17 straight matches and need to give their fans some hope heading into the off-season with a strong showing.
What it means for Greater Western Sydney: After back-to-back beltings, the Giants need to find some confidence moving into September. While beating the Suns wouldn’t change the outside perception, a strong win, playing four quarters of tough footy, might give them some momentum with injured players set to return ahead of the first week of finals.
The stat: It’s been one-way traffic in the past five seasons between the two start-up clubs, with GWS winning the past seven matches by an average of 68 points. The Giants have won the past three matches by 102 points, 108 and 83.
The match-up: They won’t necessarily be head-to-head, but Tim Taranto (No.145 in the official AFL Player Ratings) and Ben Ainsworth (No.389) were both taken in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft and will be interesting to watch. Taranto, the No.2 pick, has flourished and is having an incredible year, while No.4 selection Ainsworth has again been dogged by injury and not quite unleashed his explosive best.
It’s a big week for: Suns veteran Michael Rischitelli will run out for the 243rd and final time. After being drafted by Brisbane at the end of 2003, Rischitelli forged a great career at both Queensland clubs. He played in the last Lions finals campaign in 2009, won the best and fairest in 2010 and was then an inaugural Sun and one of the most consistent players in club history.
Big call: This clash, this timeslot, these stakes, look out for a small crowd. There could be less than 7000 fans at Metricon Stadium.
Mottsy’s Tip: GWS by 100 points
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