Round 12 – Sydney v GWS: 19th Sydney Derby


Greater Western Sydney Giants v Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium, Perth (WA) Thursday 13th August, 2020.


Thursday night saw the 19th edition of the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ aka the Sydney Derby in of all places, Perth, Western Australia. What a crazy year.


I attended the first Derby back in March 2012 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Back then it was a lopsided affair; a fledging team the Giants were mostly kids taking on the seasoned Swans outfit who would go on to win that year’s flag. Any rivalry was largely contrived. Eight years on the Giants are a potential powerhouse with a strong list of hardened players. The Swans after two decades of success are in a rebuilding phase, and with several critical senior players out injured are now the firm underdog. Along the way a genuine rivalry has grown; both teams seem to find something extra for this confrontation.


For this game the Swans are unveiling their sixth debutant of the year, speedy half forward Zac Foot. A half dozen or more fresh faces are running around to comprise the team. However right from the outset the Swans play with energy and purpose, the Giants looking listless. Youthful exuberance is holding sway.


Wicks in only his second game wins the ball at half forward and hands off to Rowbottom who snaps across his body for the first goal. Rowie has quickly established himself as a hard at it midfielder in only his second year.  Foot is lively early and gets on the end of a nice sequence at half forward. He unselfishly hands off to Dawson who nails it with his penetrating and classy left foot. Dawso has been around the Club for a number of years though this is only his second full year after overcoming several injuries. He has become a dependable utility. He gets on the end of another nice play through the middle involving Rowie again. Dawso gets his second. We go in three goals to nil up.


The second quarter goes like the first with the Swans in control. The Giants get a lucky goal via a free wedged in between two classy goals to Nick Blakey, who’s back in this week after a game with the Twos. Our gun draft pick from last year, the Lizard is playing his best game for the year spending time up the ground and around the ball. We go in to the main break five goals to one up and well in command.


After the break the Giants find a bit, and get another lucky goal via a free. They are only 3 goals down despite our overall dominance.  However our defence is superb. Mainly comprised of players off the rookie list and totally undersized they are channeling the style and grit of those who have gone before like Grundy and Smith. They are again superbly led by Co-Captain Dane Rampe ….. the Clovelly Kid, the Estonian Marvel, the Gloved Wonder!


Just when we need to steady young Footy takes a superb contested mark and calmly slots his first goal in big time footy. He is mobbed by all his team mates. We go in 4 goals up. I’m not comfortable yet though.


Thankfully the final term is a triumph for our kids. They just keep running and overwhelm the disappointing Giants. Hayward takes a contested mark in the square and converts. He has been quiet in terms of numbers however has done a superb job in blanketing dangerous Giants intercept defender Nick Haynes.  James Bell, who the tracker stats reveal has run further and faster with more repeats than anyone else on the ground is rewarded with a goal courtesy of a pass from Tom Papley. Paps has been relatively quite with no goals though has contributed with knock ons, tackles and other pressure acts. He does not look like a player who wants to leave this club.


A four goal to one quarter delivers a seven goal win. All the kids have been excellent and well led by the Co-Captains with Luke Parker taking out the Brett Kirk Medal for best on ground with a superb performance. We have much to be excited about and to look forward to. We are building a great list. Go Bloods!



SYDNEY                                               3.1       5.2       6.5       10.6 (66)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY              0.1       1.3       2.6       3.7 (25)


Sydney: Dawson 2, Blakey 2, Rowbottom, Foot, Thurlow, Stephens, Hayward, Bell
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron, Finlayson, Langdon


Sydney: Parker, Rampe, Blakey, Rowbottom, Sinclair, Dawson, Melican
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Coniglio, Perryman, Whitfield, Williams


Sydney: Nil
Greater Western Sydney: Nil



My Votes: 3 Luke Parker (Syd) Dane Rampe (Syd) James Rowbottom (Syd)



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About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.


  1. Yes, we are building a great list, Keiran. Let’s hope I can see another Grand Final in my lifetime! Cheer cheer!

  2. John Butler says

    This was a fine effort by the Swans, Keiran.

    It’s a pity the media only seemed to want to talk about the Giants.


  3. You’re so right Kieran, this derby is for real, as I always said it would be…
    you could see the Swans really gee-up for this game.
    And delight in the spoils of victory.

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