The GWS Giants prevailed over Essendon, but could be without one of their key forwards for next week’s match.

The GWS Giants have prevailed in another heart-stopper against Essendon, but could be without star forward Jeremy Finlayson after an ugly off-ball hit.

Finlayson kicked three goals in the Giants’ 16. 11. (107) to 16. 9. (105) win at GIANTS Stadium, but it was his first quarter bump on Essendon star Zach Merrett which could see him suspended.

The incident occurred when Merrett was attempting to switch the play on Essendon’s halfback line, when Finlayson arrived late after the left-footer had kicked the ball away, collecting him in the head with a stray elbow.

While the incident is likely to be graded as low impact due to Merrett being able to run out the match, if Finlayson’s elbow is deemed as intentional conduct and high contact, he will receive a one-match ban.

The hit was heavily criticised by AFL great Gerard Healy, who was on commentary for Fox Footy.

“That is just sloppy stuff. He may get down on low impact (and be fined), but one week for dumbness,” he said.

“He’ll probably only get a fine, it ricocheted off the shoulder, but he’s got to be smarter than that.”

However, despite the Finlayson hit, the Giants picked up their fourth win of the season courtesy of a strong opening quarter which saw them build a 31-point lead.

The Giants’ high-powered midfield trio of Tim Taranto (29 disposals), Josh Kelly (30 disposals) and Tom Green (28 disposals) were outstanding, with Kelly also adding two goals in a complete performance.

Essendon was gallant all afternoon, and threatened a late upset with a six-goal final quarter despite losing Jake Stringer to a hamstring injury in the second half.

A long-range Kyle Langford goal inside the final two minutes brought Essendon within two points of the Giants, before Jacob Hopper kicked the sealer with just over 40 seconds left on the clock.

Playing in his 150th game, Merrett was prolific again with 37 disposals, while Darcy Parish continued his career-best form with 35 disposals of his own.

With their ledger squared at 4-4, the Giants will travel to Melbourne to take on Richmond at Marvel Stadium in Round Nine, while Essendon will also play at Marvel Stadium, hosting Fremantle.

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