DURING the late 2000s and early 2010s the Hawthorn-Geelong rivalry captivated the AFL community with its enthralling clashes and constant tight finishes.
But a few years on and the budding rivalry between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs has all the potential to rival the one the Hawks and Cats developed.
And it's a rivalry that has been forged in the heat of battle, rather than a boardroom at AFL headquarters.
The Giants, in their first Friday night clash, earned some sweet revenge on Friday night, holding off the Western Bulldogs by two points at Manuka Oval.
In an epic preliminary final re-match, the sequel was just as good as the original, with both teams fighting themselves to a standstill.
Giants forward Jeremy Cameron starred with four goals, while Toby Greene and Jonathon Patton added three each as the equal-premiership favourites came back after trailing by 11 points early in the last quarter.
Dylan Shiel was enormous in the final term, gathering 11 disposals to finish the game with 29. He had great support from Callan Ward (27), as well as defenders Zac Williams (25) and Heath Shaw (24).
The Bulldogs will rue their poor kicking, finishing 9.19 to the Giants' 11.9, while they also had 13 more inside 50s than GWS.
The game was ruthless, with eight players - four from each side - picking up injuries throughout the night, with Tom Liberatore (shoulder) perhaps the most concerning.
"Speaking to some of the boys after the game, we're all spent," Giant Jeremy Cameron told Fox Footy post-match.
"It was a great battle, but they're the games we want to play in."
The Giants have only been around since 2012 in the AFL, but already they have developed a fascinating rivalry with the Bulldogs, with the two sides widely regarded as having the two best lists in the competition.
The infamous Tom Boyd-Ryan Griffen trade between the two clubs, as well as former Dog Leon Cameron's move north to coach the Giants have also added to the intrigue.
But above all, the two teams continue to produce close games, with Friday's two-point win to the Giants the fourth time in five games that a GWS-Bulldogs clash has been decided by one goal or less.
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