Beating the Carlton Blues by 105 points does not feel as good as it might once have, as the game was costly to the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
They seem to have a firm grip on the third spot as the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition moves into the final three weeks, but the Giants came away with four injuries that could determine their finals fate.
During the game, they enjoyed such a heady lead that they played with 16 players at times as they tried to keep fresh players on the ground, but they had no fit players remaining on the bench.
Rucker Dawson Simpson will miss eight weeks with torn ankle ligaments, which effectively means, see you next season Simpson.
“Essentially he’s torn the ligaments on the inside of his ankle called the deltoid ligaments and they’re really tough and strong ligaments. They’re really tough to damage in isolation,” Giants Head of Athletic Performance David Joyce said. Simpson faces probable surgery and a rehab regimen that will require much discipline if he is to be fit to play in 2019.
Brett Deledio hurt his calf and his return is entirely uncertain and having had issues with that muscle in both legs in the past, only adds to the uncertainty.
Forward Toby Green and Rising Star Sam Taylor came away from the Carlton game with dinged hamstrings. Both will miss the next two games, and of all the top-eight, the Giants’ final three seems to be the hardest, with games against Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
The news is not all negative, however, as the Giants may see the returns of Tim Taranto, Sam Reid, Ryan Griffen and Dylan Shiel.
Shiel, particular, was only being spelled, according to Joyce.
“Tim Taranto has enormous game loads and plays a highly contested combative role, so we just wanted to give him a spell as he was nursing some soreness,” Joyce said.
This is a familiar story for any code, exacerbated by the length of professional seasons.