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Heartache for new AFL finals kids

AAP logoAAP 24/09/2016 Adrian Warren

This time, the AFL heartache belonged to the new boys.

GWS Giants suffered a devastating six-point loss to the previous kings of AFL preliminary-final heartache the Western Bulldogs on Saturday evening at Sydney's Spotless Stadium

The Bulldogs had fallen seven straight times at the penultimate hurdle while, for the Giants, it was their first game at such a deep part of the season.

Up by 14 points early in the last term, GWS kicked just one of the last five goals.

They absorbed plenty of early fire from the feisty and more match-hardened Bulldogs and had to do without inspirational co-captain Callan Ward for more than half the game after he suffered a bout of concussion.

Developing key forward Jon Patton continued his late-season surge with four goals.

The Bulldogs' win averted Victoria's nightmare scenario of an all-Sydney grand final.

Before the game, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan paid tribute to the Giants and their meteoric rise from easybeats to a powerhouse.

"The Giants have been called a lot of things this week - upstarts, AFL implants, Victoria's nightmare, Frankenstein's Monster," McLachlan said.

"But let's call them what they really are: a staggeringly good football team starting to make its mark on our national competition in only their fifth year.

"A fledgling club committed to its community in western Sydney and committed to delivering the nation's only indigenous game and football code to a new generation of fans."

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