AFL Round 12 – GWS Giants v Port Adelaide: Boys against men

It’s been a beautifully mild Sydney June, today was no exception.  The sunlight reflected off the peach fuzz of the GWS kids as they trotted onto the field.  Hopes were high, they’d given the might of Geelong a bit of a fright last week, today was Port Adelaide, maybe they might, maybe they could…

But, bloody hell, it’d be good to have Brogan and O’hAilpin out there.  Older, toughend blokes that can take the hits and dish ‘em out.  They don’t need to be huge talents or quick and nimble, they need to be a presence on the field.

”You wanna mess with my little brother, eh?  Well, you’re gonna have to answer to me.”

The trouble for the Minnows was that little brothers was all they had.  It was all Port from the very start.  Took ‘em a while to get their first goal, maybe 5 minutes, to the bearded Westhoff – and why are beards so fashionable these days?  Don’t these blokes know that young women do not want a beard rash?

Port were slick, a length of the field goal.  They were tough; close checking, gang tackling, the kids were rattled from the outset.  Port had a strategy, handballing fast and smooth, the kids were bamboozled.

The kids were sloppy, too.  Late in the second term, they strung together some good play to set up a possible goal that went out on the full.  Other options were ignored.  Port ran it back for a set shot.

There’s talent there amongst those kids.  JC made a good lead, out ahead and not triple-teamed for once, but the kick was screwy and hit the ground ahead of him.  He still got to the ball and managed an off-balance kick to the square.

Where it was marked by a black jumper and, as they swept back upfield, the kid with the beard and donny-tail atop his head gave away a free.

“These kids jumped Geelong, stayed within a goal or two until the last term!”  The ground clouded over.  I went for a walk and bought a doner kebab roll – of course!

After half-time, Port seemed to slack off a bit.  Maybe it was Mad Sheeds coaching from the boundary.  Imagine being shirt fronted by your grandad?

Chad Wingard dumped his breakfast on the turf.  JC laid an almighty tackle.  The kids won the last term, 3.4 to 2.2.  I can’t bear to read my notes otherwise.

I want West to succeed, I want to see them get a toehold in western Sydney and draw crowds of folks whose parents grew up in India and Fiji and Lebanon and Nigeria and Venezuela.  I don’t know how many schools the players visit, but I know it won’t have the same effect as Jude Bolton or Adam Goodes dropping over for a kick at lunchtime.  Schoolkids want winners.

There are gaping holes in the Minnows.  Read between the lines, there’s hints of mismanagement in the football department. The back six is a chaotic mess, there’s a chasm where the in-and-under midfielders should be and, while I love Giles’ attitude and work ethic, he’s not a first string ruckman.

We left the cosy Stooges Stadium, the best football ground I’ve seen, and walked into a barren wasteland of concrete.  There was a symbolism – leaving the SCG we walk into a park older than the Member’s Stand.  The Sydney Swans may have been there just 30 years, but the Swans have a history and so does their ground.  West have neither.

Let us not drop our heads.  Twelve months ago, Gold Coast were about as useless as West are now – things can turn around pretty quickly.  Thursday week marks the Twentieth Anniversary of the Swans’ solitary win of 1993 – three years and three months later they played in a Grand Final.

West need at least three very good players with 120 games behind them, a coach with credentials, Mad Sheeds to graciously accept a role as chief spruiker, a redesign of the jumper.  Straightforward orange and black in a simple design that kids can draw pictures of.

A new song and nickname wouldn’t hurt, either.


Port  :      6.5   12.7   17.9   19.11   (125)
West:     1.1     1.5    3.10   6.14     (50)



Port – Wingard, Cornes, Boak, Monfries

West – Scully, Giles


Votes: 3 – Wingard, 2- Cornes 1 -Scully



About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. aussie80s says

    If GWS want greater acceptance they definitely need a better jumper. Port Adelaide got a better jumper when they went to a design of black with a white and aqua “v” designed by a 7 year old girl. The Brisbane Bears odd Queensland map design with a Koala head imbedded c1987-91 also made way for a simple maroon strip with a gold “v” and white trim.

    Jumpers look so much better when they have a simple design.

    GWS should have an orange jumper with a charcoal (apparently that is officially the colour) “v”. It will look much more identifiable to sports lovers in rugby heartland to have a design in line with what they are used to. This would be similar in design to the old Balmain Tigers League strip. That stylised “G” is just weird, what were they thinking?

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    I doubt anyone was thinking, aussie. They handed it over to a graphic designer who took a truckload of money for coming up with yet another terrible design.

    I like Port’s new strip, it’s a simple, straightforward design. I heard she was 12. Point is, kids don’t overthink these things. The later Bears strip was the work of a professional, but, yes, he got it right.

    The official colour can be changed by a signature on a memo. Charcoal grey is a good colour in some respects (cf, my Italian suit jacket) but terrible on a football strip. I like your thinking about the Balmain reference, that such an idea would occur to us and not the company pumping millions into GWS says volumes about the cluelessness of the whole venture.

  3. Kath Presdee says

    Some food for thought there Earl. In my view the player the Giants are missing most is Chad Cornes. He and Luke Power were on-field tutors to Phil Davis for running the defensive men last season. It was expected that Chad had another season in him, which would enable him to take a step back but still help out. Brogan and O’hAilpin are also missed but we miss Chad more. Particularly since we’re without Davis and Gilham has not really stamped his authority in the backline.

    I think we need five 120+ players brought into the team – two will need to replace Cornes and Brogan (and potentially O’hAilpin) and yes, they need to be a ruck and key defender, plus another three to sure up around the ground. That said, I don’t particularly want to lose people like Taylor Adams and Josh Bruce to pick them up; although they’re likely to be the ones that are most tempting from our uncontracted players.

    There’s two thing that will get the crowds into games in Sydney. Winners. Doesn’t matter what code, Sydneysiders are huge bandwagon jumpers and fairweather followers. Teams in Sydney would kill for the “crowds” that Melbourne FC draw. The second is a top player – but usually once only and usually only after the team starts winning. Although I do recall being accused of following Cronulla just for Andrew Ettingshausen when I was growing up, so maybe someone like Dom Tyson should be trying to catch the attention of the girls of the west. I doubt the jumper is going to be the issue. Balmain is in what the Swans fans like to call Swans territory (and they get annoyed if other people try and claim them) and the Penrith Panthers, for example, have had so many different colours over their 45 year existence that a jumper with a “V” is not going to make much difference to the “rugby” following public. If the people of the greater west can accept teams with teal in their jersey (and yes, it’s teal not aqua), and buy said jersey, they will accept a really weird “G” on a guernsey as well.

  4. Earl O'Neill says

    Good call on the players, Kath, tho I think that a definite strip design will help a lot. Penrith have been there since 1967, they started w brown and white!
    Look east, add Mumford, Richards, Kennedy to West , they’d be a competitive team. Not that THAT will happen, but they’re the kinda footballers West needs.
    Slinging millions at Franklin or Riewoldt J aint the way to go.

  5. Tasman Hughes says

    I actually like the giants song, even though it is hard to sing.
    I’ve been having a lot of trouble naming the Giants’ colours so thanks for that.
    I think having a strip with nice easy colours is a good idea.
    “Charcoal” sounds a little bit snobby.

    I definitely agree with the jumper design, but some popular teams have difficult jumpers to draw (I know, I’ve spent a lot of time drawing them).

    I don’t know much about the city of Sydney or anything about rugby league (not many people follow it in Tasmania), but having a strip which is familiar (and for old Balmain supporters, lovable) is a really good idea.

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