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Failing a Giant test

Jeremy Cameron continued his excellent form as the Giants proved too good for the Bulldogs
Jeremy Cameron played the worst game of his career in the loss to the Bulldogs.
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Isaac Heeney (Sydney)
Came of age in last week's semi-final win over Adelaide and followed it up with a stunning first half in the Swans' thumping victory over Geelong. Heeney was a menace, recording six tackles and winning three free kicks to half-time to provide Sydney with the forward pressure that proved the difference on Friday night. The 20-year-old had the majority of his 28 disposals in that first half as he made sure he got to the ball, and his goal to make it 38-1 after 20 minutes was typical of his mindset. It looked like Heeney was simply throwing the ball on his boot from 50 metres out, but in reality he knew exactly what he was doing. The ball floated over Jimmy Bartel's hands and bounced through for a goal that might have sealed the win.

Dane Rampe (Sydney)
The All Australian defender played the perfect game, intercepting, spoiling, and running out of the back-half all night while completely blanketing his opponent Lachie Henderson, who had a game to forget. Sure, Rampe was helped by all the pressure from teammates further up the ground which meant the ball kept coming in high and slow, but he barely made a mistake in collecting 26 touches and 11 marks in a best-on-ground performance. He was one of many Swans defenders who excelled, given that Geelong actually dominated the inside-50 count.
Clay Smith (Western Bulldogs)
Talk about overcoming adversity. Not only has Smith had to deal with serious injury in his short career, but going into the biggest game of his life this week he lost a close friend in a car accident. Smith's season has been building since he returned mid-season to the Bulldogs' side after recovering from his third knee reconstruction, but he peaked at the perfect time on Saturday evening in his team's thrilling win, kicking  four crucial first-half opportunist's goals against the Giants, and collecting 26 touches and eight tackles in a best-on-ground display. His contribution was especially valuable in helping keep his side in the contest, given they looked so uncharacteristically shaky up forward early.

Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
Had a quiet first half and looked just about gone shortly after half-time when he copped a corkie, but came back on and played through it to be one of his team's best in the second half when the Giants were threatening and the game was on the line. Bontempelli had a hand in a couple of key pieces of second-half play, including a skilful fend-off and handball to Zaine Cordy for a goal, and kicked a goal of his own by coolly paddling the ball on the run up to himself to give the Dogs the lead in the last term, from which they were never headed.

Corey Enright (Geelong)
The veteran defender was far from the Cats' worst on Friday night, but he cost his side any chance, however faint, of a comeback win, with a dreadful error after they had kicked the first goal of the last quarter to close to within 30 points. At the five-minute mark Enright played on from the kick-in and got himself into trouble by hesitating slightly before handballing to teammate Cam Guthrie in a belated one-two attempt that went horribly wrong as the ball came back red-hot to Enright, who was caught with the ball. Gary Rohan pounced to take the advantage and kick a goal. The Cats were never coming back after that.

Jeremy Cameron (GWS)
Saved one of his worst games for the biggest game of his career. Got his first kick for the match in the last quarter and had no impact on the game whatsoever in an embarrassingly poor performance. It's a wonder his team managed to kick enough goals to get as close as they did, given his lack of output and the absence of Steve Johnson. He will get more chances to redeem himself in the coming years, no doubt, given how good the Giants are, but Cameron has, for now at least, got the unwanted asterisk next to his name of being a very good player who has failed in a big final. 

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