Callan Ward of the Giants is helped from the field after injuring his knee at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
Callan Ward of the Giants is helped from the field after injuring his knee at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

Giants down Geelong in a thriller

GWS coach Leon Cameron has admitted to mixed emotions after the Giants' stunning four-point AFL win over Geelong, which has come at the expense of co-captain Callan Ward, who will likely miss the rest of the season.

Ward went off with a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury just five minutes into Saturday afternoon's clash in Geelong.

But the gallant Giants dug deep to inflict the Cats' first loss of the season - 11.13 (79) to 11.9 (75) - in front of 28,780 fans.

Geelong led by one point at three-quarter time and appeared set to stave off the gallant challenge when they edged to a seven-point advantage in a pulsating final term.

But Jeremy Finlayson kicked the last goal of the match after a courageous Harry Himmelberg mark that quickly drew comparisons to Nick Riewoldt's famous grab going back with the flight.

The Cats kept coming but the Giants' defence, led superbly by co-captain Phil Davis, held firm.

It was a breathtaking finale to a game that started on a flat note with Ward's injury.

He went to ground in a Gary Ablett tackle, was helped from the field by two trainers and later appeared inconsolable on the bench after emerging from the players' race on crutches.

"It was a bit of a sinking feeling on the bench there for five or 10 minutes, just as we realised what's happened," Cameron said.

"It clearly affected the players for a bit but they were determined to just get on with it.

"In part, it's a bittersweet win because of the Ward stuff, but I'm really proud that the guys galvanised together ... it's right up there - I'm not going to deny it.

"It's a fantastic home-and-away win."

Cameron has his fingers crossed but is expecting scans will confirm a ruptured ACL that will sideline the star midfielder for 2019.

The Cats took full advantage as the Giants organised themselves in Ward's absence, Tom Hawkins' first goal of the day giving them a 20-point lead at the first break.

But they couldn't shake GWS, with Stephen Coniglio (34 possessions), Jake Kelly (32) and Jacob Hopper (31) working feverishly at the stoppages, while Cats prime movers Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood were uncharacteristically subdued.

The margin was 21 points at half-time after another late goal from Hawkins and reached a game-high 22 points soon after the restart.

But the Giants booted three goals in a row, including successive majors to Jeremy Cameron, who finished with three, to set up the thrilling climax.

"I think after quarter-time, they were the better team," Cats coach Chris Scott said.

"I thought we, uncharacteristically this year, gave them some really easy goals in that third quarter and they got a bit of momentum.

"The bottom line is that we were outplayed for three quarters."

- AAP

News Corp Australia

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