GET your head out of the sand – Saturday night confirms at least one of the following to be true: The Giants are en route to top four and a viable premiership contender or the Hawthorn footy club find themselves in a hole.
The headlines on Sunday morning were about Richmond and Hardwick and 27,000 people at the MCG and that’s fair enough, the Tigers are to 2016 what lay-down Sally is to successful boating.
Perhaps it was because it happened in the subtle Saturday twilight fixture not far from where the Bulldogs are from Canterbury rather than Footscray, but the GWS’ utter dismantling of the reigning premier is undeniably monumental.
Let’s cover the Giants first. They were always touted to win flags within five minutes and be the scorn of the competition for the utter gluttony of talent at their disposal. If immense initial draft concessions weren’t enough they are now backing that up with favourable trading and even more favourable academies.
Yet we were seemingly bluffed in waiting for the Giants (and the Suns too for that matter) to prosper into September savagery. It is like waiting for that 7:37 Belgrave train – the literature says it’s a certainty but your eyes suggest clearly otherwise.
Last year, first half of the year, here we go – the Giants are finally arriving; a finals spot looked odds on. Immaturity, injuries, whatever it was, the season flopped like a Channel Nine cooking show and lamentable assessment ensued.
This year, they lost the unlosable to an emerging Melbourne and sure a Sydney derby loss is noteworthy but one gets the feeling that whenever the Swans play the Giants from here on in the form guide and the ladder mean as much as manners to an American.
But there’s been three wins now, punctuated by the win Saturday night, that suggest if they can reasonably avoid an inconsistency from inexperience and youthfulness, their time could conceivably be upon us.
Geelong are a good football side and will be around top four come year’s end, they are a big improve on last year and with continuity of personnel will come the sort of gelling that will seem them do very well in the Spring.
The GWS put aside the Cats in such a comfortable manner in Canberra pundits were scared to acknowledge reality and put the Geelong performance down to ‘an off day’, they were a ‘bit flat’ and the home side made the most of it. No dice, Geelong were just run off their feet by a quality, damn scary lineup.
Move forward to the Giants’ next game in Canberra, the astonishingly frightful take down of Port Adelaide. Sure, the Power are not really, well, powerful in 2016, but the 14-goal margin was what a team with top-four quality and critically top-four credentials should be doing, and that’s just what the GWS did.
So we come to Hawthorn. Four grand finals on the trot, three flags in a row, utter respect and immense credits in the bank. The Cats nobbled them first round, sure, but the league sat up and watched the Grand Final rematch and could not but remark that Hawthorn was well in business to grab that illustrious fourth consecutive title.
But since then it’s been patchy, rusty, and to be properly honest unimpressive.
Yes, the Bulldogs are a good footy side and one capable of September success, but the Saints in Launceston despite how encouraging their rebuild has been should have been put away.
Add in the fact Adelaide, in Melbourne, did a Greg Norman at Augusta and somehow lost it in the dying moments and the Hawks have got out of jail again.
Some in the press will praise the Hawks, suggesting to win three games each by three points shows grit, steel, a manic desire to win and amongst all else the true class that has them as premiership favourite.
No question the Hawks will come good and be possibly the last team you’d want to play in the finals but right now the main reason they’re 4-2 and not 1-5 is pure lemonade and sars.
The Dogs were stiff, the Saints were robbed by the men in green and again, the Crows were up by three goals and lost that how?
So, at Homebush, a late Saturday autumnal afternoon, one team in orange, on the rise, the other in brown and gold and with a point to prove.
What happened? A 12-goal win.
Not a tight tussle between two good sides. Not the Giants by four goals in an impressive outing but a 12 goal margin, a smacking, a shellacking, a ferocious feasting.
The home side smashed those wearing poo’s and wee’s in contested ball by a margin of +39. Not only were the young men of the western suburbs ferocious at the contest but they were +22 in the tackles as well. How often does a team that wins by 75 points annihilate their opponents with the tackle count too?
Uncontested possessions, the Giants were +60, the clearances, again, the Giants +18. Immense stuff, powerful stuff really.
What does it all mean then? Well, it gives real credibility to one of the following headlines, neither which is getting the column inches that either should warrant.
Either the Giants are ready, they’re here, they have arrived in such a way they can tear apart top-four fancies in a shuddering sign that the wave of orange success is nigh.
Or you know what, if they Hawks are letting the Giants score 158 points against them, then yes, those three close wins are wallpaper over cracks, they’ve got big problems and their crown is shaky.
Truth be told, there could be a mesmerising third possibility: maybe its both.