AFL Round 1 – GWS Giants v Sydney: From little things

Off to ANZ Stadium for the first game in 2013 for the Swans and the Giants. And how would you describe such a stadium? A ground where most spectators face straight into the sun. A stadium so large and flat that a crowd of 30 000 might get lost within it and never be seen again. A ground where the surface looks like our lawn under the liquid amber. A precinct made up of interesting places to go to after the game; like car park A. A stadium so loved that it went broke. And when it did, a lot of people hoped that they might make it into something useful; like filling it with water and trout fingerlings. You always wondered whether Sydney wanted it and whether it was worth the cost.

A bit like the Giants. It all seemed such a difficult place and time to start a team when the city was never really calling for it and there were some serious competitors. But if the AFL was to continue to grow, Western Sydney was the place.

So out we went. My son said he hoped that the Giants would be competitive but that Sydney would get a big percentage booster. He knew in his heart that you could never get them both. The last thing that I wanted was a lopsided game. The problems about those games is that you can lose interest and your mind can drift off to trivial and unimportant distractions like the Australian Cricket team tour of India and the origins of the word ‘lopsided’. And before you know it, you’re wandering off to car park A.

Its different when its a team that you hate. I could stay focussed if Sydney were 200 goals ahead of Collingwood. The Giants are different. No one hates the Giants. Their fans are friendly. Skoda Stadium is just fantastic. Everyone loves Sheeds. Even that ridiculous G Man mascot brings a bit of a smile to your face. With its blindingly white teeth, its frozen smile and wrinkle free face, they could swap it for Shane Warne and only the most observant would notice.

Things all seemed to go to plan in the first quarter and the Swans zipped away like the premiers that they were. All Canadian Mike Pyke kicked one within a minute. The old crew of Kennedy and Goodes kept the scoreboard ticking over. And on the other side of the ledger, Brogan missed his kick for goal and put the yips into his teammates. By the end of the first quarter, it was four goals to zip and starting to look dire for the westerners.

Yet when the game looked like becoming a huge blowout, the Giants came alive in the second quarter and their young stars kicked five straight. I could have sworn that their supporters even got a chant going. When the Giants hit the lead, the game was balanced like a ballerina on a pointed toe. And who else but Razor Ray walked over to the spinning girl, raised the whistle and just pushed her over.

I saw the tackle on Bolton and wasn’t sure that it was a free kick. When the replay came up, it looked to me like that Bolton had been turned on his side. But that now matters not. Bolton took the kick and kicked the goal. From then, the Swans just took control and were never headed in a game where they had the skills but had forgotten how to use them and the Giants didn’t quite have the skills but tried their hearts out.

So in the end, it was as it should be. Sydney won and GWS did much better than expected. Both will get better as the year goes on. But I would rather have seen it at a packed out Skoda Stadium. And I would rather that the whistle hadn’t been blown at a time that changed the game. As I left, I turned and remembered how much there was to dislike about ANZ stadium but how much there was to like about the Giants. They’re not going to win the flag this year but they are going to stretch a few teams. And in the future, they are going to do a lot more than that.

Match details
Greater Western Sydney 0.4    5.4    7.8     11.10 (76)
Sydney                  4.5     9.7   12.9    16.10 (106)
Greater Western Sydney: Patton 3, Sumner 2, Treloar, Smith, Shiel, Greene, Giles, Cameron
Sydney: Jack 3, Reid, Pike, Bolton, Goodes, McGlynn 2, Mumford, McVeigh, Kennedy
Umpires: Leppard, Fila, Chamberlain
Sydney Jack, O’Keefe, Goodes
GWS Treloar, Shiel, Ward

Malarkey Medal: 3. Jack (Syd), 2. Treloar (GWS), 1. Shiel (GWS)



  1. PeterSchumacher says

    Certainly hope that GWS win a few, just not against us!

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    GWS will come and ironically are far closer to a Premiership than many teams well above them at present that is when the dislike from the rest of us will kick in at the moment it is good try from the new boys that will change ! Haven’t been to the stadium yet but it is undoubtably too big and vast for there supporter numbers at present . Pure population and stats wise it makes sense to have a team in Greater Western Syney but a bloody tough market to crack that is what the afl have gambled on , give em heaps of top draft choices inevitably success comes , supporters and members arrive we will wait and see
    Thanks Ian

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