Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade says it’s unfair to make GWS Giants AFL favourites, even after the Sydney side posted a record-setting 102-point pasting of his side on Saturday.
His cagey Giants counterpart Leon Cameron argued GWS still had a long way to go, after centurion Toby Greene kicked a career-high five goals in GWS’ 24.16 (160) to 8.10 (58) victory at Spotless Stadium..
Smarting from a opening round 56-point thumping by Adelaide last weekend, the Giants swiftly got their percentage back into the black.
It was the Giants’ biggest winning margin, beating a 92-point victory over Fremantle last year, and their highest score, eclipsing their tally of 158 against Hawthorn also in 2016.
The Suns slashed a 52 point-deficit to just 22 early in the third quarter but GWS slammed on 10 straight goals and kicked 14 of the last 15 majors.
Jeremy Cameron kicked six goals and Steve Johnson booted three, with the latter boosting his career tally to 499.
Eade expected GWS to be one of the teams in flag contention, but disputed the widely held assertion they were favourites.
“I think that’s unfair on them, maybe it’s the Melbourne media doing that to maybe detract their mental state,” Eade said.
“I dont think being six or seven years in they can be flag favourites.”
Cameron downplayed his side’s position while acknowledging the glut of external buzz about them in recent months.
“I suppose it’s a positive thing if they are talking positively about our footy club,” Cameron said.
“But internally we know that we’re not up to the mark of Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn, West Coast and Western Bulldogs yet, to name a few.
“Every year they back up, every year they find a way to finish either top four or play finals.
“We’ve had one winning season and that was last year and we’ve won one final and lost a final.
‘When you start to get that sort of credit and it takes years, then I reckon it’s fair that people can start talking about your footy club being a really, really good team.
‘We’re learning to get there. Today was a good positive step, but we’ve got a long long way to go.”
All-Australian forward Greene, who became the first player drafted by the Giants to play 100 games for the club, bettered his previous best haul of four goals.
Eade felt a succession of Giants goals from turnovers in the third quarter demoralised his team.
“I think that just took the air out of the tyres it seemed to deflate (us),” Eade said.
“We seemed to not be bold anymore, we seemed to worry about making mistakes and went back into our shell.
Callan Ward (32 touches), Dylan Shiel (28) and Josh Kelly (27 and three goals) were all prominent for GWS..
Jack Martin kicked three goals for the Suns and Kade Kolodjashnij accumulated 27 touches, but Tom Lynch was held goalless and Gary Ablett held to 16 touches.