Round 17 – Brisbane v Greater Western Sydney: We Might Be Giants Too

Brisbane versus Greater Western Sydney

4.40pm, Saturday, 17 July

The Gabba, Brisbane

Jamie Simmons


I was a 3rd generation Fitzroy supporter and one time Beta Max owner, so I know a thing or two about disappointment.


Granted my beloved Lions season teeters on the ridiculous and closing out the season minus another win would see our club’s status downgraded from “unstable” to “Brexit” but all we need is a little inspiration. For some, inspiration might hide inside a bottle of peach schnapps or maybe it’s mornings in front of a Stefanovic that gets you up and about. The way I see it, the Lions need look no further than West of Sydney for their inspiration. Drummoyne? No, although The Oxford Hotel does a lovely Mushroom Risotto there, I’m thinking slightly further West. Keep going until you hit Spotless Stadium. That is where the glimpse into our potential future lies.


Think Sheils, Greene, Coniglio, Devon Smith and co. Not so long ago in the AFL playground, these were the same kids that were getting pushed off the monkey bars by all the older clubs. Fast forward 3 seasons and this club is the one kicking turf into the faces (it’s only sand when they’re playing at Etihad) of so many of the other clubs now.


The lesson here is simple: Things change. Fashion, attitudes, hairstyles (although Trent Cotchin appears set to challenge me on this) and when change comes, it can come quickly.


Returning from someplace trivial in 2011, I saw these same lads at Brisbane airport standing next to the father like figure of Kevin Sheedy. Sheeds owned trousers older than most of his playing list that year. Wide eyed, fresh faced and clutching colouring books, I wondered aloud that day how long it might be before those wispy seedlings would take to bear fruit. Well, the very answer to my own question parades itself before me now.


Today, I am en route straight to the Gabba from the airport which means no time for an easily digestible lunch. Instead I am forced to settle for a Sausage Roll shaped tennis shoe smeared in what claims to have been a vegetable in a past life. I considered leaving the uneaten portion for the pigeon community roosting in the rafters behind me but I fear they too have standards, which would only make for an awkward exchange between us.


There is a lot to like about the Giants and just as much that we can learn from them.


The team, their support network and above all their culture are up and about. They have seemed determined from the outset to forge their own discernibly unique identity. The club song barrels along in a kind of Eastern European style that makes me want leap spring heeled from my seat like the drunk Uncle at a Cossack wedding, if only I had the knees for it.


And who’d have dare consider a jersey spruiking orange, barring the odd rogue Hari Krishna of course, anywhere near tribal enough for our game? The club opted to move away from the straight lines of the more traditional stripes and sashes and offered a more contemporary strip and, as it happens, I rather like it.


The blueprint has been unfurled before us today and we should copy eagerly from its pages: They have size where they need it, speed on the outside, hard heads around the stoppages and multiple avenues to goal. Their clearance work is beautifully regimented. They are quick, bold and they move the ball with clinical efficiency. They have become everything that we should aspire to be.


Callum Ward, basking in the afterglow of a long-range goal, waves off a runner brandishing two bottles. Outward appearances would suggest that neither is likely to contain shampoo or conditioner. That said, it does lend him a slightly brutish, Tarzan-like exterior. A quality his game has always possessed.


Mumford is big. I’m talking Game of Thrones big…, but not quick. Any slower and village women would gather to bang their wet laundry against him but he has an undeniable presence. Fleet footed minions buzz around him, safe in the knowledge that the ball will seldom fall far from his feet.


Much of the Lion’s list offer a raw-boned contrast. Hipwood and Andrews display talent but if they wanted to double their weight, they need only wear sunscreen. It is sobering to witness their toil in these conditions against better engineered bodies.


Today’s attendance is on course for a new low. It leads me to ponder how we get patrons back through the gates once more. Naming Pikachu on the half back flank might get a few thousand frenzied teenagers back for a short while but the long-term solution appears more complex than that.


Ward, Coniglio and Kelly are best for the Giants.  Their precision and composure go unchallenged by the curtains of water draped across The Gabba after half time and Coach Cameron would have nodded agreeably at the scoring output of so many without either Jeremy Cameron or Patton clearly stamping their authority on the contest.


So what of finals for the Giants? Are they ready to journey deep into September action? I will let those with more pedigree than myself to more accurately ponder such things. What I know for certain is that although I don’t carry a whole lot of orange in my wardrobe, come September, I believe it will be my colour of choice.



Brisbane   3.1   5.5   8.8    9.13 (67)

Greater Western Sydney 3.7  13.8  20.10  22.14 (146)



Brisbane- Schache, Rockliff 2 Mathieson, Hanley, Zorko, Hipwood, Bewick 1

Greater Western Sydney – Cameron, Kelly, Ward  3 Greene, Patton, Smith, Haynes 2 Patfull, Kennedy, Lobb, Johnson, Shiel  1



Brisbane–  Rockliff, Zorko, Mayes, Hanley

Greater Western Sydney–  Ward, Kelly, Coniglio, Shiel, Greene, Smith


Umpires: Brown, Harris, Pannell                                                                                  Crowd: 10,195


Our Votes: Ward (G) 3, Kelly  (G) 2, Coniglio (G) 1


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About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    A brave commentary, it’s interesting to remember as well how initially at least Ken Hinkley turned Port Adelaide around. I suppose that more pertinent to Brisbane one need look no further than Leigh Matthews.

  2. Mark Duffett says

    Thanks Jamie, some nice lines amongst the manifest resilence.

  3. Brin Paulsen says

    Great stuff Jamie, thanks. Rather telling that as a Lions supporter you’re forced to look outside the club rather inwards to find some insight into the future.

    The Lions’ ability to retain the youngsters at the club in 3-4 years will determine whether a corner is ever turned. I have fears that most will depart back to their state/s of origin and Brisbane will once again have to face overpaying to retain or blooding a whole new crop.

    We should probably order some new carpet for this cellar we’re in… may as well make things comfy as it appears we’ll be here for a while.

  4. kath presdee says

    Forget Adam Treloar; the Giants’ biggest loss at the end of 2015 was Craig and Mel Lambert to Brisbane. After being foster mum and dad to about 30 teenage boys at the Giants, they’ve now gone to try and generate the same Club feeling and commitment at the Lions. That’s an excellent place for the Brisbane rebuild to start. The fabled mass exodus at the Giants hasn’t happened; those who are leaving are rarely leaving because of homesickness alone; it’s homesickness *and* lack of senior opportunity; or lack of opportunity or better money elsewhere.

    I really hope that the Lamberts can help to turn Brisbane around. After all, GWS knew exactly what they were after when they went to Brisbane and got the Lamberts to set up the Club.

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