GWS are likely to regain Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield for the grand final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
GWS are likely to regain Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield for the grand final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.

Which Giants will face Tigers?

Leon Cameron never quite made it to the last Saturday in September during his illustrious 14-year playing career, but now he gets that chance on the back of one a coaching performance for the ages.

Some eyebrows were raised when GWS called Lachie Keeffe - a backman - in to replace the game's most dynamic forward, Toby Greene.

 

 

 

But the selection proved a masterstroke and sums up the instrumental role Cameron has played in the Giants' remarkable finals surge.

Cameron concedes GWS are the new fairy tale story to rival the Western Bulldogs in 2016 - but insists his team won't feed off that underdog tag.

Unsigned beyond next season, and with his coaching plans put under the microscope in the latter rounds of the season, Cameron has now engineered two of the most epic finals victories in back-to-back weeks.

As the team bus rushed towards Melbourne airport last night under police escort, he can now contemplate how he tackles the final hurdle that awaits next week in Richmond.

Cameron played down his own involvement, and instead heaped praise on Magpies reject Keeffe, whose selection proved even more inspired once Phil Davis was unable to continue in the backline due to injury.

 

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"Lachie Keeffe just plays his role," said the subdued coach.

"Good things don't always come to good people because it's a tough industry and it's tough to win, but Lachie is the ultimate professional.

"We re-signed him for two years a month ago because he's happy for the player beside him to play his role.

"If he's good enough to get into the 22 then he goes about his business in the manner that we saw today.

"What he did to go back and play a key position was phenomenal."

Stephen Coniglio embraces teammate Jacob Hopper after the preliminary final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
Stephen Coniglio embraces teammate Jacob Hopper after the preliminary final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.

Lachie Whitfield watched on from his home in Randwick after being brutally ruled out with appendicitis.

Cameron played just 10 days after appendix surgery as a player back in 1993 and declared Whitfield would too on football's biggest stage.

"He's a massive chance, he's a huge chance to play," said Cameron.

"If he's not fit or healthy enough to play 100 minutes then we won't pick him, but all signs are heading in the right direction.

"He's up and about and clearly he's an integral part of our team.

"He will train next week and look to play."

Stephen Coniglio, who has not played since Round 17 due to a knee injury, said post-match he was optimistic and would do whatever he could to prove his fitness.

"I can't put a number on it (chances of playing) because I actually don't know myself but we'll see. We just have to wait and see. Now that we're in, I'll just have to do what I can to try and play."

Lachlan Keeffe (right) played an important role in the preliminary final, shutting down Brody Mihocek. Picture: Phil Hillyard.
Lachlan Keeffe (right) played an important role in the preliminary final, shutting down Brody Mihocek. Picture: Phil Hillyard.

Cameron deflected praise after climbing the Everest he was never able to as a 250-game player for the Bulldogs and Richmond.

"Thanks for reminding me," he joked.

"We lost a few prelims and that's disappointing because it really hurts. They're the hardest games to win.

"I'm really proud of our footy club, we stood tall when we needed too.

"It wasn't pretty but there's a lot of ticker at our footy club, and for the eight years we've been in existence we've learnt a lot, and every year we've been building.

"I understand there's always going to be an underdog story.

"We don't draw on that tag. What we draw on is playing the game we love, and the boys love playing with each other."

 

GWS are likely to regain Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield for the grand final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
GWS are likely to regain Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield for the grand final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
News Corp Australia


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