Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron says Saturday’s must-win AFL clash with Sydney is easily the biggest in the short history of the Battle of the Bridge.
The Giants’ 21-point loss against Port Adelaide last weekend has left them needing a flawless run home to have any chance of a maiden finals berth.
The two sides will meet at Spotless Stadium for their eight clash since the young Giants entered the competition in 2012, with the Swans desperate to return to the top four on the ladder and GWS equally desperate to replicate their one derby win from 2014.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher. Obviously we need to win, and they need to win as well,” said Cameron on Wednesday.
“The rivalry is starting to become real, and we feel as though we’re starting to at least live up to our end of the bargain in terms of on-field, harder performances.
“It’s a great opportunity for 44 players to have one hell of a crack.”
The Giants wilted late-on in a niggly contest in Adelaide after leading with a quarter to go.
Cameron said the young side’s mixed performance would serve as a learning curve beyond this season.
“That 15-minute patch in the last quarter all those little things that add up to a winning result folded, whether it be centre bounce, or spoiling, or missed tackles,” he said.
There was both good news and bad news on the Giants’ injury front.
Young midfielders Stephen Coniglio and Adam Treloar are set to return for the Battle of the Bridge, while co-captain Phil Davis was officially ruled out for the season with a hamstring strain.
Midfielder Matt Buntine remains in doubt after suffering a second concussion in three weeks against Fremantle a fortnight ago, as is Devon Smith after a knee complaint.
“These are the games that these guys want to play in, great atmosphere, great crowd,” said Cameron.