By MITCH TERPSTRA
NEAFL ROUND 5
Friday, May 3, 2019 Canberra Demons (5th) vs GIANTS (7th) Phillip Oval, 6.30pm
The first game of Round 5 will see the Canberra Demons play at home against the GIANTS under lights in a Friday night blockbuster. After four games each, Canberra lie in fifth position with two wins and two losses while the GIANTS only have one win next to their name against Gold Coast in Round 3.
Canberra will be eager to chalk up another win for the year after starting 2-2, if they want to be considered premiership contenders they will need to win games like these.
This also stems as an important game for the GIANTS towards playing finals this year as a 1-4 win-loss record at the end of the round would take an almighty effort in a tight competition in 2019.
2018, Round 7: Canberra 18.17 (125) defeated GIANTS 11.8 (74) at UNSW Canberra Oval.
2017, Round 19: Canberra 12.8 (80) defeated GIANTS 10.15 (75) at Robertson Oval.
2017, Round 3: Canberra 13.17 (95) defeated GIANTS 12.7 (79) at Alan Ray Oval.
1. Canberra’s defenders will need to take note of the GIANTS’ forwards leading patterns, after the GIANTS took seven marks inside 50 on a lead, for a team that kicked seven goals for the whole game. This could be an aspect that allows tall forwards such as Zach Sproule and Kieren Briggs have an impact after kicking a combined 19 goals in the opening four rounds.
2. Going into Round 5, the Demons are averaging 13 more inside 50’s than the GIANTS per game. If the young Canberra side is able to convert these forward 50 opportunities into goals, they’ll be hard to beat in front of a home crowd.
3. This match-up could see a tantalising midfield battle with three players from each side in good form and have been pivotal to their respective sides’ success in 2019. Mitch Maguire, Alex Smout and Angus Baker have averaged 31.5, 31.3 and 28 disposals each for Canberra and will no doubt play an important role in Friday nights’ matchup. Isaac Cumming, Nick Shipley and Aiden Bonar will be key players for the men in Orange, after Cumming has average 31.5 disposals over the last two weeks. As well as Shipley averaging 30 disposals over his three NEAFL games and Aiden Bonar averaging 11 contested possessions and five clearances a game.
Former Giants Academy member Guy Richardson will be a player to watch smart and effective ball use off Canberra’s half-back line. Richardson has averaged 15 disposals through his first four games, with his disposal efficiency at 71.7%. Richardson will be a rising star to watch during the 2019 season.
STATS THAT MATTER
Hit-outs in the ruck battle will play an important role for this Friday night game as the young Canberra Demons will be up against the number one side for hit-outs to advantage. If Canberra’s young ruckman can challenge this hit-outs consistently throughout the match, it will go a long way to disrupting the GIANTS clean possession numbers.
Canberra by 25 points.