GWS is a Menace


by Dave Nadel

It seems to me that Greater Western Sydney has taken a different approach to its pre-draft recruiting than Gold Coast did last year. The two best players that Gold Coast took, Ablett and Harbrow, were taken from clubs who had played off in the Preliminary Finals last year. Two other players, Fraser and Campbell Brown, also came from clubs in the Eight although Fraser would have been “retired” if the Suns hadn’t wanted him. Of the entire eight players, only Harbrow was under 23. While Geelong would have hated to see Gazza go, they had got two Premierships out of him.

All four pre-draft players that Western Sydney has recruited are under 23 and come from clubs that finished outside the Eight. Kevin Sheedy and Gubby Allen are plundering the weaker clubs while Guy McKenna and Scott Clayton took (part) of their players from the top clubs. GWS will get long careers out of Scully, Ward, Palmer and Davis while the clubs that put in the basic development on these boys will get….a chance to put in another 2-3 years developing high draft picks.

Most supporters (even some from Geelong) wish the Suns well. GWS may find itself hated by supporters of other clubs even before they kick their first kick in the AFL. Of course Sheedy and Mark Williams probably prefer it that way!



  1. Andrew Fithall says

    Dave – I think you need to take into account the drip-feed approach GWS is taking to the announcements of the recruits. They want to continue to be in the news over the next few weeks/months so will stagger their revelations. Only two teams from the top eight are no longer participating so you cannot expect anything to come from teams still in the hunt. Also you have ignored the age of Brogan and McDonald (and Cornes?).

    I am still struggling to believe that Kevin Sheedy will be their match-day coach next year.

  2. Agree.

    Young and old now.

    The 24-27 year olds next year.

    Scully is a risk.

  3. Brogan,Cornes and McDonald are players that have already retired. I think it smart of GWS to take them as mentors for their young players but Melbourne and Port Adelaide will get no compensation for giving GWS players that had already retired. Compare this with Collingwood, Gold Coast and Fraser. Because Fraser was still on the list when the deal was made (even though everyone knew he had played his last game when the club allowed him to play his 200th) Collingwood were able to draft Andrew Krakouer and John Ceglar as compensation for giving Gold Coast Josh Fraser. Both clubs and all three players benefited from the deal. Everyone was a winner, except perhaps other clubs that might have hoped to draft Krakouer. I somehow doubt that GWS wil be as generous to any of the other AFL clubs.

  4. Agree with Pete.

    GWS have tied up lots of cash in Scully, and it makes it harder for them to retain talent. Karma is a bitch, so to speak.

    GCS do have more of a gentler vibe about them. Maybe it’s the Sun and Surf image versus the working class stereotype.

    I think once teams start dropiing out of the flag race we’ll see a few more players. There’s got to be more than what has been announced. I’ve heard a certain Cat who is nicknamed after a 90’s sitcom character is linked to the new team.

  5. Dave, we do not need any conspiracy theories that West Sydney’s recruiting strategies involve plundering weaker clubs. I believe that the initial strategies of both Gold Coast and West Sydney are similar with most of their recruitment being young players and their development being assisted by 8-10 experienced strong mature footballers. The initial recruiting of the uncontracted players is dependant on who is available at what price. The only A grader to move to either club to date is Gary Ablett jnr. and this took a ‘bucket load’ of cash; it was reported in the media last year that it was in the range of $1.8M per year for 5 years. Tom Scully’s reported offer is $1M per year for 6 years. Most of Gold Coast’s other uncontracted players are in the age range of 24-27 and there is a probable expectation that they will give 4-5 years service. The only exception is Josh Fraser who may only have one more year, if that! Fraser’s recruitment may have been the only available experienced AFL ruckman. I think Gold Coast also recruited 4-5 unlisted players including Nathan Ablett, Daniel Harris, Danny Stanley and a bloke named Iles, none of whom are A graders and Nathan Ablett’s recruitment was nothing more than a favour to his brother.
    I am sure that West Sydney would like an experienced A grader like Gary Ablett jnr. and there were media rumours that approaches were made to blokes such as Jimmy Bartel, Joel Selwood, Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury, Dale Thomas, Sam Mitchell as well as no. 1 draftees Marc Murphy and Matthew Kreuzer. I also think that I have heard a rumour that Brendan Goddard may be approached next year. Their plan B of securing some promising relatively inexperienced blokes in their early twenties such as Davis, Ward, Scully and Palmer is risky as is the playing value of Luke Power, Dean Brogan, Chad Cornes and James McDonald, who all may only have 1-2 years left. I think they will need some 100 gamers in their mid twenties.
    It will be interesting to see who both clubs trade and draft in the next couple of years. Both clubs have done most things well so far with their coaching appointments and recruiting and I believe with the young talent available they both should challenge for a top 8 position within 3-4 years and a top 4 position within 5-6 years.

  6. Whaddya mean “we,” Mark? I need as many conspiracy theories as I can get! I love ’em!

  7. GWS need new recruiting people already. As a Fremantle member who watched all games that Palmer played in either live or on tv I cant believe our good fortune to obtain an early draft pick for him. What were they thinking to offer a player with such erratic disposal and a lack of pace such huge money.Reece was battling to get into Freos team even with huge injury numbers. Unfortunately he never came back from his knee reconstruction the same player that won the rising star award as we all hoped he would.

  8. I don’t think Sheeds is out to win the popularity stakes.

    He is smart enough to know that the AFL want the intrusion into western Sydney to work and they would sell their mother’s souls to make it work so Kev knows he will get what he wants.

    He is also smart enough to know that the up coming draft may not have the quality (I said may not) so he is concentrating on more experienced recruits this year and will have a grab at better kids next year.

    Love Sheeds or hate him, he should not be underestimated.

  9. Just like the dark side, ey Phantom?

  10. watt price tully says

    Mrk Doyle,

    you note that we do not have to have conspiracy theories, go on to mention that both GWS & GC have similar “initial” strategies by drafting young players bolstered by more experienced types. Unfortunately, you overlook the obvious point here – indeed the one made by Dave.
    Some of those young players are from the weaker clubs. Call it plundering, call it active recruiting, which ever way you look at it, the recruiting of Scully, Palmer & Davis marks the point of difference between the two clubs.

    In my view , it is an accurate observation.

  11. Goodness, let’s go back to the end of the 1986 season and the bedraggled bunch of players the 12 VFL clubs unloaded to the Brisbane Bears. True they picked up some handy playes like Frank Dunell, Jim Edmond and Ken Judge, but there were far more who sunk without trace after arriving at Carrara. I certainly can’t recall talented youngsters of the ilk of a Tom Scully, or Callan Ward. Of course both Queensland clubs had a Brownlow medallist in their ranks, Bard Hardie in the case of Brisbane, and Gary Ablett Junior at the Gold Coast, though Hardie never reached the heights of 1985 again. It took the AFL a lot of $$, and effort to buy the players required for Brisbane to achieve their trifecta. How long will it be for these two newcomers to hold aloft the cup?

  12. I remember last year when opposition supporters were gloating on forums over the possibility of Ablett leaving Geelong, and I remember how so many people told the Cats and Cats fans to suck it up after we learnt that we were getting two draft picks only for him.

    It seemed odd to me because the Ablett thing was not a Geelong issue, it was an issue for all teams and Blind Freddy could see that there was a possibility that weaker teams could lose their young first round draft picks. Obviously, the gloaters were blinder than Freddy.

    There are a few elements to success. One of those is a culture of success. The players the Suns picked up came from cultures where success was recent. The GWS players have come from Clubs where success has not been. Will be interesting to see the difference, but I’m tipping the Suns will win a premiership soon and the Giants will not.

  13. Glen, the difference between 2011 and 1986 is that most of the VFL clubs had little interest in the fortunes of the Brisbane Bears (even though eight of them had voted to admit them to the VFL). Each club had to provide the Bears with three players who had either played at least one VFL game or had played in the VFL Reserves finals series. Collingwood included Tony Burgess who had already told the club that he was returning to the SANFL. Carlton’s three gifts to Brisbane included Bruce Reid (father of Ben and Sam) who had retired from football and had declared his intention to spend 1987 backpacking overseas.

    There has to be a compromise between the 1986 approach of dumping unwanted or unavailable players on a new club and the 2011 approach of allowing expansion clubs to plunder lower clubs of young talent

  14. Collingwood is not a lower club of young talent Dave.

  15. I think it’s clear that players aren’t too keen about going to GWS.

  16. Despite your constant hopes of GWS doing to Collingwood what Gold Coast did to Geelong, it hasn’t happened Phanto, and I doubt that it will happen. You will note that all the players that you predicted that we would lose, Swan, Pandlebury and Thomas, all re-signed. I am actually showing sympathy to clubs outside the eight not whingeing on behalf of my own club.

  17. I like the situation at Catville Dave it worked out well. No complaints from me.

    Pendles signed for a year and Daisy for two if I remember correctly. They obviously know what they are worth and they know what Mick’s up to me thinks.

    Ducks on a still pond look static but all the movement is generated from below the surface.

  18. Dave, honest question with no agenda (as I’m a bit behind the times this year) but how long were those extensions/new contracts for?

    I’m marginally nervous about players out of contract at the end of next year, as that is when GWS is tipped to go after the “prime” players.

    I’m not sure that clubs whose players have extended their contracts (til the end of 2012) are entirely out of the woods yet.

    GWS clever with … I forget the term – front-ending? … their contracts. Lots of players well paid in 2012 allows for more room in cap in 2013 to entice second batch of players.

  19. Never mind, Phantom answered my question :P

  20. Happy to be of service to a fellow feline Susie.

    How is the nervous threshold at the moment?

  21. And it’s always appreciated, Phantom :-D

    Well …. like I was saying, I hadn’t really followed all the off-field stuff for most of the season (catching up now) on account of ridiculous amounts of work at uni, and a weekend internship (currently know more goss about the GDFL than the AFL), so …

    When does Selwood’s contract extension expire again? I know he’s committed to the club, etc etc, but my confidence is shaken after the double-banger last year.

    Sheeds made no secret of the fact he was after Selwood. Extending his contract til the end of 2012 (as I believe is the case – could be mistaken) does not give me any peace.

  22. Let’s be fair dinkum! We may have an overreaction here to clubs losing players. The rules are fair for all clubs with both Gold Coast and West Sydney both being restricted to recruiting one uncontracted player from each club; Gold Coast had one year to do this and West Sydney have two years. Gold Coast only managed to entice 7 or 8 uncontracted players from a maximum 16. No club will be plundered! The most players that a club can lose is two. So far there are only two clubs who have lost two players and about half the clubs have not lost any players.
    The club that I support is Geelong and they have probably been the most affected club with losing players to other clubs for more money over the years. We have lost two captains – Doug Wade and Leigh Colbert to North Melbourne. We lost three players to Sydney in the 80’s – Greg Williams, Bernard Toohey and David Bolton. We lost a promising young ruckman to Sydney a couple of years back – Shane Mumford. Last year we lost Gary Ablett jnr. to Gold Coast. The loss of these players was not the end of the world!

  23. Yes Mark, I’m with you there but step back from it and relax, relax, relax just like the Cats this weekend.

    Last year when the reality of the grand plan was manifested and we were stuffed there was no reason why, and no friends.

    Now the reality is obvious and GFC has moved on. We now understand the reality and are geared up to that change.

    There are a few who could see that there was always going to be a problem. There are now many with vested interests that are a bit spooked and others who have had their pockets well and truely picked.

    Sit back and enjoy the ride. We don’t know whether we will crash or reach utopia just yet but we at least have a chance. We have licked our wounds and drawn strength.

    Dont worry about the others. We were skun, gutted and hung out to dry. Biltong is very useful when times are tough and you are hungry.

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