Giant Buzz

Everything comes to those who wait.

Living in NSW for nearly 25 years has caused much angst where football is concerned. Telecasts at unreasonable hours despite having a so called national game has been frustrating. But with the introduction of GWS now I have an AFL team to follow in this state. I haven’t followed the Swans because I barrack for Essendon.  I can now attach myself to a new team because geographically they are attached to me.

Canberra is two hours from where I live in the Snowy Mountains, so the Giants have become my local AFL team. I’m a GWS member. I feel connected.

Tonight will be an historic one for football as the league’s newest team, the  Greater Western Sydney Giants play their first  game in the 2012 home and away season. Not only do I feel great about being at this historic  game I’m one of the lucky people going out onto the ground before the game. Part of the pre match entertainment! Oh my goodness!
We’ve been asked to wear black pants and shoes, and no high heels !  No problem there, I’ll be in sensible flat shoes.

Upon arriving at the meeting spot  I meet other excited GWS fans and we chat about where we all began our football lives.  Gunbower, Wodonga, Maryborough, Fremantle, Brisbane to name a few. Now we all share a common cause- supporting the Giants. The organisers arrive and give us orange T-shirts and caps and brief us. Ooooh! This is like a pre game warm up.
Our job is to help lay out the big giant orange G on the ground. As we will be out on the ground when the teams run out we have been instructed that if a ball comes our way to be sure to handball it  back-not throw it!
It’s a glorious night to start the football season and I’m happy to be out on the oval absorbing the atmosphere.
With the G mission accomplished I rush back to my seat and the game has started. I’m in the GWS orange section of course and I marvel at the fullness of the crowd.
There are fans exhibiting dual football citizenship everywhere. Ladies in home knitted Geelong scarves , men in Hawthorn jackets, people wearing Swans jumpers but all wearing orange Giants membership caps. The people behind me have bought memberships for both Sydney teams. They want to watch footy every weekend.

The Giants do well to contain the Swans to less than 10 goals before half time. The Giants first goal is greeted with jubilation- as are their subsequent goals. They will be hard to come by this season and therefore precious. The third quarter is a blow out as the Swans pile on quick goals and it’s awful footy to watch. In the last quarter  tired bodies make mistakes but the Giants provide a spark of excitement when they score 2 goals. The Swans are eventual winners by 63 points.

But the  night has been about more than the score.

As footy fans paid tribute to Jim Stynes’ football journey and reflected on the way he embraced our great game, a new team beginning its journey was embraced by  footy fans. The game is the big winner.

 

Comments

  1. Do GWS have their version of the Swannettes Pamela?

    I am sure that you would be able to get plenty of referees from the Knacker inner sanctum if you were to apply.

  2. pamela sherpa says:

    Phantom, my sensible flat shoes can easy double as dancing shoes. I’ll have them on when the Giants win their first game.

  3. On ya Pam!

    My mate, Ab the concreter from Cherrybrook is also on board, having dumped the Pies after 40-odd years.

    All those blokes having Another Go at GWS on another posting are WRONG in suggesting there are not footy supporters in the GWS catchment area.

    Bet North don’t get 38,000 to a home game this season – unless they play Collingwood!

  4. Richard Naco says:

    The only other time GWS will get a crowd as big as that this year will be against the Swans on June 30 at ANZ. All of their other home games will be at venues with considerably smaller capacities – even the Pies will be played at Skoda Stadium (a cosy 25k seater, but the 3 game memberships can’t be used at that game).

    Context though, is everything. The NRL simply does not draw big crowds in Sydney (Parra v Penriff’s much hallowed Western Derby drew only 14k on a wonderful Friday evening, which is pretty standard). The Giants will probably average bigger home crowds than every NRL team outside of Brisbane, and will give the Super Roman Numerals a fair ole shake as well. (We’ll be kind and not mention the a-League, huh?)

    And they will sell out their smaller venues. The Collingwood game’s a gimme; Essendon at Skoda & the Gold Coast in Canberra will go very close (granted, Manuka’s capacity only slightly exceeds that of a postage stamp); while the return match with the Swans will crack the 40,000 mark, easily. Geelong would also probably pack out Skoda, but the Giants only dose of cat scratch fever this year will be at the Simmonds Stadium construction site (in June, no less).

    The obvious Cunning Plan is that even with smallish crowds, those cosy home venues will all look packed, making for great looking TV. And most importantly of all, they will build momentum. I would expect them to out-do the returns of the Gold Coast’s inaugural season, and as the year draws by, some of their young guns will begin to make a significant mark on the collective consciousness of footy fans everywhere.

    And playing with the guts & brains of Saturday night will boost their fan base no end. Saturday night was very much a win-win situation for all concerned.

  5. pamela sherpa says:

    Rocket, like you I think some people underestimate the support for Aussie Rules north of the border. It has been played all over the place as you know but just not developed to the extent that the other codes have over the years. The AFL are joining the dots now.
    It will be interesting to see the crowd numbers as the season unfolds. When other teams get thrashed I’m sure the headlines will be muted.
    There was a great vibe amongst the Giants crowd on Saturday night.

  6. This is a really exciting time for AFL. That’s what I’m taking from this whole expansion. Maybe the bubble will burst, but I’m enjoying the ride.

    This is really the first time we’ve had teams come into the comp since the internet flourished, so we have great so many great accounts (like yours Pamela) that will provide rich fodder for Knackers in 2112!

    Ed
    PS: Can’t wait to hear that song! I’m a big wrap for Harry Angus and I think he’s done a great job in creating a song with all the hallmarks of classic AFL theme song.

  7. Mark Doyle says:

    Pamela, Good luck on your aussie rules footy ‘journey’ for the next few years following West Sydney in the AFL! I believe that West Sydney will be successful in a few short years; this success will be both team competitiveness and development of a niche support for members and sponsorship. West Sydney may challenge for a top eight position or even a top four position in four or five years. This success will also be an annoyance for the parochial conservative Melbourne people, who continue to think that Melbourne is the centre of the aussie rules footy world.
    The club has been well resourced and set up with excellent people such as David Matthews, Kevin Sheedy, Mark Williams, Graeme Allan, Stephen Silvagni, Craig Lambert, Alan McConnell and others.

  8. pamela sherpa says:

    Likewise Ed, I’m going to enjoy the ride. It does feel exciting to be on board and part of it .

    Mark, the Melbourne media should actually be happy that they have a new target to bag. One of the benefits of living up here is that I don’t have to put up with them!

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