“From Little Things, Big Things Grow”

For the second straight season, the AFL welcomed in a new club built in the heart of the traditionally non – Aussie Rules wilderness.

In 2011, it was the Gold Coast. Spared public scrutiny by being granted a bye in Round 1, they were blooded on a balmy Saturday evening in Round 2, smashed to the tune of 119 points by Carlton in front of a crowd of just under 28000 (in, it should be pointed out, Brisbane – which as is spiritually and geographically not a part of the Gold Coast as Geelong is no suburb of Melbourne). Built with a fair emphasis on offence, the Suns ended up having 17 scoring shots, but their defence just plain ruptured, conceding at least five goals every quarter (including nine in their first stanza).

Zoom forward a year, and in the supposed heartland of a rival code, the Greater Western Sydney Giants were granted no skerrick of anonymity, but endured their trial by fire as a stand alone game in front of a morbidly curious national audience. And in a Sydney supposedly totally apathetic to our indigenous code, 38203 fans turned up for the show. It was, as a wag sitting behind my family’s contributions to the head count (ie: the 3) commented, a crowd equal to any that would attend said rival code’s semi finals.

As much as I like the Swans, this was not their night. Sure they won, but their banner was just plain wrong when it proclaimed “This Is Our Town”. Its belligerence was not mirrored by their creators’ actions, as a couple of the Swans’ cheer squad ably directed their opponents’ raising of the own banner (which bore a tribute to the late Jim Stynes). The Swans looked more efficient & cohesive than last year, and I think that they will do better than in 2011. Adam Goodes appears significantly beefier, Lewis Jetta is still quicksilver quick but is composed, confident and accurate, and Sam Reid (the Sydney one) still flies like a bird but kicks like a duck. Their third quarter of 5 goals to a solitary behind smashed the game beyond saving for GWS, and they basically then shut up shop, allowing the Giants to win their first ever quarter.

As I scribe this, the GWS website proclaims that there are 7755 members. Tonight, there were far more than that in the stadium bedecked in their dire orange coloured members’ baseball caps (and as my wife pointed out, the GWS colours could only have been designed by somebody reviewing the end result of an almighty bender from the night before). Never has anything orange looked so drab.

And, like poisonous fungi, those toxic orange heads multiplied throughout the evening. People wearing interstate club’s shirts & scarves would disappear mid game only to reappear soon after with their own citrus topping. Even followers of other footy codes were clearly far from immune: if the battle is for hearts & minds, the Giants have quite obviously targeted the heads first. There were a few people in orange shirts and Swans’ caps at the start of the game, but the inverse dress code certainly prevailed by the end. The GWS cheer squad also notably trebled in size during night.

Coach Kevin (“I’m not dead yet”) Sheedy has always proclaimed that GWS would be built from defence up, and this was pretty obvious. The back six played well for most of the night, and the transition from backline to forward line was often spectacular and highly attractive. It tended to break down on the half forward line, but credit that to the Sydney backs as much as GWS’s inexperience – Teddy Richards had a superb game, with some pretty sound aerial efforts of his own.

In the end it was boys vs men, or, as C19 colonial warfare was often described, a matter of science triumphing over pluck. GWS may not have scored as much as the Suns did 12 months ago, but they kept a very sound Sydney unit to 12 goals less than Carlton. Ward, Davis, Hampton (mistaken for Israel Folau by fans every time he went near the ball all night), Giles & Chad Cornes were all excellent, while Sam Reid (the GWS one – there were two on the park) played like Teddy Richards with a beard.

There’s a lot to like about this GWS team, and even more to expect in the foreseeable future.

And I’m off now to pay my membership and get me some of those flash citrusy fashion statements.

Our votes: Kennedy (Swans) 3; Richards (Swans) 2; Reid (GWS) 1.

About Richard Naco

We are Geelong.

Comments

  1. Richard Naco says:

    I got my beards mixed up. Where I cited Sam Reid (GWS), the praise & points should have been directed to Tim Mohr. There’s obviously mohr facial fungus among the very young cohort of Giants than I could comfortably cover.

  2. John Butler says:

    Thanks for opening the season’s batting Richard. How do you look in orange?

    The GWS weren’t disgraced. Actually, there was plenty to like in their play.

    But it’s going to be a long season for those young players.

  3. “This Is Our Town.”

    A statement of intent it may have been, but perhaps it wasn’t directed at GWS.

  4. Richard Naco says:

    I can speak from experience here as my house colours at school were orange.

    It’s taken 38 years, but I think I’m just getting over it now. But being colour blind would have helped.

    (Actually, come to think of it: no it wouldn’t. A mate of mine in the same house was colour blind, and he still can’t look a mandarin in the face.)

    The stadium staff very cleverly sent General Admission patrons to the end of their choice, so we were at the GWS end. Which annoyed my wife no end, but there were considerable numbers of Bloods in our vicinity anyway. I somehow doubt that I would have observed the interesting sub-plot of the spread of the toxic orange head gear over the duration of the game from the strawberry fields at the opposite end of the park.

  5. Could not help thinking of the Dutch national soccer team during the game.

    Being colour blind is great Richard. It would have got me out of nasho if plan 1, Gough, had not transpired.

    It is quite wide spread as well. There are apparently hundreds of thousands of Collingwood supporters.

  6. Rick Kane says:

    Hi Richard

    Good review of a game that will carry meaning well into the future of footy. I am also appropriating your discussion to include a link to a speech I read this morning. I thought it appropriate to include the link here as it pertains to the disputed history of the birth of Australian Rules.

    Cheers

    https://theconversation.edu.au/with-the-debut-of-gws-aussie-rules-comes-home-to-sydney-4700

  7. Danielle says:

    i was partying away at my cousin’s 21st birthday in Sydney the night of this match and no body seemed
    to even care about the Swans! The DJ even stopped the music for my cousin to announce that Saint George dragons had won their game, letting everyone know the score to crazy cheering which soon lead to chaotic chanting….
    Poor Swans and poor poor Giants….

  8. Poor Danni.

  9. Danielle says:

    lol nah i had a great time Phantom! ;)

  10. Good to see Danni.

    I just can not imagine that if it was your 21st and the DJ stopped the show to announce that the Pies had beaten Carlton that you would be party to ‘crazy cheering’ and ‘caotic chanting’

    You should come on the knocker trip to Tassy in June. There are some fine ladies coming over to provide feminine support. Some of the Wynyard Cats players are drop dead gorgeous (so I have heard the ladies say – not that I encourage gossip), very well behaved and clever too. There are a few around the 20yo five foot six mark that barrack for the Pies.

  11. Danielle says:

    Phantom why would i have my 21st on the same night as a Collingwood game?!! no way dude!
    lol great advertisement there Phantom have you got profiles of these mentioned players? lol

  12. Phanto – Freudian slip in your first sentance of the last paragraph.

  13. Stop being such a ‘knocker’ Gigs.

    Danni, Google Wynyard Football Club and look at the players. I apologise for the Carltonish look about the colours. It hurts me to see my son in those colours.

  14. Danielle says:

    hahahaha gigs!
    Phantom,
    had a look. not bad! did u know you have a H.Shaw? HAHAHA

  15. Danielle says:

    …awks that was Dips not Gigs! still good call lol!!

  16. Danni, that would be Hamo.

    24 yo, high school teacher, single, polite, reserved and just a genuinely decent bloke. Sat opposite him at the gurnsey presentation last week. He demolished a 750 gm rump steak and then looked around for more.

    Probably one of the better players in the competition but greatly underestimated and has played for Tassie Mariners. Might be a bit tall; about 6’2″. (190mm?)

    About a 9.

  17. Danielle says:

    haha how do you know all that information on the bloke?!
    any doctors, lawyers in the group?

  18. Close knit local footy club.

    Every player is someone’s friend, brother or son. Haven’t got any doctors or lawyers but do have a few big raw boned lads who like surfing, the mosh pit, going to Melbourne, always remember their mother’s birthday and treat women with respect.

    I will be able to do introductions on June 2nd and get you in to sing the song after the game if they win.

    (Did you happen to notice they were all monocranial)

  19. Danielle says:

    lmao well i do like big eaters haha dunno why but i find it cute…and i can never finish my own meal…
    nah my singing is shockin ;)

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