GWS have poured more misery on Hawthorn with a 22-point AFL victory in wet and wild conditions at Giants Stadium.
The Giants wore down the Hawks in a tough contest to hand the visitors their fifth consecutive loss with a 11.6 (72) to 7.8 (50) triumph on Sunday.
On a day when goals were hard to come by, the Giants’ late inclusion of Callum Brown proved crucial as he booted four majors while playing his first minutes of the season.
Brown was an unused medical substitute last week but was called into the starting 22 on gameday in place of big man Lachlan Keeffe.
And the 21-year-old was superb as his speed worried the Hawks’ defence and his deadly goalkicking contradicted the slippery conditions.
“We were pretty tall if we rolled out Keeffe and (Zach) Sproule as well, so we knew that we probably had to get another small, speedy player in and the conditions suggested that we had to do that,” Giants coach Mark McVeigh said.
“To (Brown’s) credit, he didn’t know that he was playing until he arrived today, and we told him and he had a great game.”
Predictions of a shootout between two of the more attacking teams in the competition had to be revised as heavy rain fell across Sydney in the 24 hours before the first bounce.
The stormy weather continued throughout much of the match but the Giants and Hawks delivered an entertaining contest with surprisingly sharp skills and kicking for goal.
It was still a day for the purists with plenty of one-on-one football and both teams looking to gain territory at all costs as each regularly kicked the ball off the ground to simply move it forward.
Giants forward Jesse Hogan was one of few players able to regularly clunk the wet ball and he threatened to break the game open in the first half with six marks and 15 disposals but could only convert that into 1.2 on the scoreboard.
Hogan added another major in the second half but continued to have an impact outside the 50-metre arc while Brown did the damage closer to goal.
Tim Taranto (30 disposals) and co-captains Stephen Coniglio (31) and James Kelly (29) controlled the midfield for the Giants while Lachie Whitfield (33) and Isaac Cumming (30) added what polish was possible on the outside.
The Hawks have now lost nine of their past 10 matches and struggled as the Giants onballers slowly took the game away from them for their fifth win of the season.
Tom Mitchell battled hard for a game-high 36 disposals while Jaeger O’Meara, James Sicily and Harry Morrison each gathered 25 touches.
The Hawks lost James Worpel in the first term after Whitfield tackled the midfielder as he kicked the ball and both fell hard on his right shoulder with veteran Liam Shiels brought into the match in his place.
“Looks like he dislocated his shoulder, they were able to get that back in and as always you just have to wait and see what the damage is,” Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said.
“It was a disappointing outcome for him and for us because he’s just starting to get back his form and his confidence.”
GWS will be on the road next week to face Port Adelaide on Saturday night while Hawthorn are at home to Adelaide on Sunday.