GWS Giants AFL’s victory over Adelaide Crows was marred by a shocking strike from Shane McAdam at the Sydney Showground
A plucky Giants side beat the Crows on a blistering 36 degree day in Sydney, but victory was marred by a shocking jab at young star Jacob Wehr by Adelaide forward Shane McAdam.
He gave first-time mentor Adam Kingsley the best possible start to his head coaching life, with a haul of four goals from captain Toby Greene helping the Giants move past the Crows, after giving them an early lead of as many as five goals, to clinch a 15.16 (106) to 12.18 (90) win at Giants Stadium on Sunday.
Greene was superb in his first game as an independent captain, but the Giants had inspiring efforts across the field, including Brent Daniels kicking the sealer in his first game in 590 days.
The forward finished with two goals after being sidelined with a series of hamstring issues, while the Giants had to hold out until the end with almost no support available from their bench in a day of injury carnage.
Harry Perryman (hamstring), Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly (both concussed) were forced to leave the field to shower early in said carnage, but it was the hit on Wehr everyone was talking about.
Jacob Wehr is escorted off the field by medical personnel after the Giants youngster suffered a nasty highball
Shane McAdam (right, pictured competing for the ball with Giants defenseman Isaac Cumming) faces a season-long sideline for his hit.
Wehr had to be evaluated for a concussion after a sick punch from McAdam, which made the Giants star appear to be suffering from whiplash in brutal scenes.
He’s over it! Wehr is down,” shouted Fox Footy commentator Anthony Hudson as the shoreline crash occurred.
Lions legend Alastair Lynch, reporting from the edge, was taken aback by the impact.
‘That was a great success. I am 50 meters away and you could hear the hit,” she said.
Kangaroos great David King agreed, saying he believed McAdam should face a big ban for the hit.
Kysaiah Pickett is also facing some serious punishment after this sickening shot on Bulldogs star Bailey Smith.
That is a great success. It went on, it went on, it launched,’ she said on the broadcast.
He is in a world of pain. Exactly what we are trying to remove from the game.
In the aftermath of Kysaiah Pickett’s sick late strike on Bailey Smith, labeled “one of the most dangerous things on a football field in a long time,” McAdam earned the ire of opponents, commentators and fans with the shocking blow at Wehr.
The fact that more than 100 former players are bringing a class action lawsuit against the AFL regarding the serious effects of concussion on retirement only magnifies the gravity of the situation.
‘This is horrible of Shane McAdam. The Tribunal is going to be huge this week by sending a message about what the AFL will tolerate in future. If the player returns later it is not the main thing, it is the cruelty / the intention of the blow”, wrote a prominent member of the club on Twitter.
Many were calling for the return of a red card in games, especially given the way concussions are handled these days.
‘Does McAdam’s hit demonstrate the need for a red/yellow card for AFL? GWS lose such a player and there is no comeback against Adelaide,” wrote one fan.
“We had the discussion with the Stewart incident last year, but it’s time for another discussion about red cards in football after the pickett and McAdam bumps this weekend,” wrote another.
Given that the Giants lost two players to concussion and very easily could have lost Wehr as well while McAdam remained on the field, that makes a very valid argument for many.
On a more positive note for the Giants, utility man Harry Himmelberg smacked a Mark of the Year contender, launching himself into the stratosphere on the back of huge Ravens ruckman Reilly O’Brien.
Despite a quiet start, Himmelberg stamped his name on the game late in the first quarter, diving onto the 202cm O’Brien, briefly sitting on the ruckman’s shoulders to gain an incredible hold before crashing onto the turf.
‘Harry Himmelberg’s Big Jump!’ Exalted heights, he stands his ground and trails a magnificent mark,” the ever-spirited Anthony Hudson yelled on the Fox Footy broadcast.
“I think the mark of the year has been won in the first round,” one fan wrote on social media, with another saying, “That Harry Himmelberg mark is as big…as any MOTY in recent memory.” Unreal’.
Harry Himmelberg sits on the shoulders of giant 203cm Crows ruckman Reilly O’Brien to take an impressive mark in Giants victory
Himmelberg’s big grip has already been touted as a contender for Brand of the Year.
Emerging player Tom Green (37 turnovers) also stood out throughout, and former captains Stephen Coniglio (32) and Callan Ward (31) helped lead the Giants’ second-half rally in an excellent midfield display. .
Prized Crows recruit Izak Rankine fired up his new club early but failed to get the Giants to pay on the scoreboard with 2.5 of 18 disposals, though Adelaide fans will no doubt be salivating at his potential.
Josh Rachele showed his class with three goals, while new Crows captain Jordan Dawson had a polished 23 possessions.
Former Crows captain Rory Sloane finished with 18 touches and finished the game despite being involved in accidental head butts that forced a pair of Giants out of the contest.
Brent Daniels (left) gets a hug from teammate Jack Buckley after kicking the game-winning goal in his first game in 590 games after injury issues
Darcy Fogarty kicked twice but was unable to go the distance from 50m as the Crows made one last charge before Daniels kicked the last major of the match in a fairytale finish.
The Giants were surprisingly flat early in Kingsley’s first game in charge, putting up just two tackles in the first period, but the Crows failed to make them pay at 4.9 to 2.2 on the scoreboard.
The hosts finally got back on their feet when they kicked the first four goals of the third period to cut the margin to less than a goal, then gradually wore down the Crows, even with few reinforcements late in the game.
The Giants travel to Perth looking for a 2-0 win against West Coast on Sunday, while the Crows will look to bounce back when they host Richmond on Saturday.