Giants primed for Hawks after Swans thriller
Jacob Hopper says the GWS Giants will tackle Hawthorn in Canberra on Friday night buoyed by the finals-style preparation they enjoyed in a nailbiting derby win over Sydney and having found consistency at a crucial time.
The result was in doubt right up to the final siren on Saturday with the home side eventually edging their rivals by just two points in a 12.11 (83) to 12.9 (81) triumph.
It was the Giants' third win in a row and leaves them still firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish with just three games of the regular season remaining.
Hopper's contribution against the Swans earned him the Brett Kirk Medal as best on ground, the 22-year-old kicking three goals and enjoying 26 disposals.
And close as it may have been, Hopper said finals were often about fine margins - being tested and delivering.
"It was just pleasing to scrap out a really hard, honest game of football, which it always is against the Swans," Hopper told The Daily Telegraph.
"We knew they were going to come out really hard and we had to match their intensity and win key moments of the game.
"There's no givens in footy, especially against the Swans, so you have to come out and work for it.
"It's pleasing to get the (individual) recognition but at the same time there were so many others it could have gone to. Zac (Williams), Toby (Greene) and Tim (Taranto). The younger guys like Aiden Bonar and Jackson Hately. Nick Haynes was superb down back again."
The derby clash also saw a debut for teenager Connor Idun and Hopper expects it to be just the start of great things for the youngster.
"Connor, he's a terrific guy," he said.
"He's fitted into the group seamlessly so I was so excited to play footy with him. Hopefully there's many more games to come because I think he's going to be a good player for us.
"You'd always like to have a bigger margin but I actually think it's really good preparation for
finals footy. To be able to have experiences like this I think can only hold us in good stead.
"There's always a few sore bodies at this stage of the season but we'll recover, prepare and look forward to the Hawks on Friday and look to keep building that consistency."
The Giants will monitor Jeremy Cameron's calf tightness before making a call on his availability for the Hawthorn game in the nation's capital - the club in no mood to take any risks with the Coleman Medal leader - but Josh Kelly is pushing hard for a return after injury and Matt De Boer isn't too far away either.