Round 2 – GWS v North Melbourne: Nothing Can Replace Real Supporters At the Game



When the season started back in March, it started in a dread silence that matched our mood.


Locked out of the grounds, watching on telly as our players played to empty stands. No crowds, no atmosphere, just a bleak silence. As further restrictions were added to our lives every quarter; and the season was stopped before the round was finished.


The eerie silence matched the mood of the nation. Forced into seclusion, with our sporting love taken away from us. And it looked like we wouldn’t be back this year; maybe not ever.


Gloom and silence, as the Sword of Damocles hung over us all. Watching that opening round on telly was not fun.


Especially as a GIANTS fan. We’d built momentum as a club last year. This was going to be our year.


And after working so hard to build support for a new club, it was demoralising to think that years of work would be lost and it would likely be a long year before we could go back to square one. In my weaker moments, I didn’t know if I had it in me to see the club have to start all over again.


And for two months, our sporting lives were in limbo.


But last weekend saw the first tentative steps towards awakening from our nightmare. The footy was back. All 18 clubs were back. None had died in the deadly cloud of gloom that had encircled us.


But it was tentative steps. Still played to empty stands. But the mood was brighter. This time we were on our way back up. Finally cause for optimism.


But the deathly silence of the opening round couldn’t be repeated. We needed some sense of excitement.


And so the telecasters dubbed crowd noise into the broadcast. Much more atmospheric than the silence of the opening round. But far from a triumphant atmospheric return.


In Adelaide, a small crowd was allowed. And on the broadcast, the difference was clear. Calls of “Ball” when a tackle was laid. Booing as the away side received free kicks. Chants and hand-clapping.


Certainly not the full effect, and most seats remained empty. But even with the small gathering in Adelaide, the contrast to the previous games was clear.


You can try to add crowd noise. But there’s no substitute for the real thing.


Sunday afternoon saw the GIANTS take on North Melbourne at GIANTS Stadium.


The GIANTS had found a loophole in the easing of restrictions. The corporate entertainment areas were designated as restaurants, this allowing up to 50 people into each.


And a small number of club members were allowed to attend in the corporate areas. I was fortunate enough to be chosen. And very grateful that St George, a GIANTS sponsor, had given up the Skydeck so Orange Army members could attend the game.


It was certainly a different perspective. Perched high over the wing, instead of our normal seats at ground level behind the goals. Looking down over expanses of empty seats where the orange faithful would normally populate.


It was a different view of the action, seeing things we wouldn’t normally see from the cheer squad bay. And, being a corporate area, lunch was served; which was nice.


And we had a game to watch, and a team to cheer on. And despite reduced numbers, and the sound having further to travel and echoing around an otherwise empty stadium, we enjoyed the experience.


Cheering on our team. Booing myriad free kicks against us, screaming as the ball moved forward. “Here Come the GIANTS” rang out when the goals went through.


But our team never really looked right. They hit the lead in the third quarter, and got within a kick in the last; but the tsunami never got going. The Kangaroos were ready, the GIANTS weren’t. And the first game back ended in defeat.


Disappointing to lose. But losing beats not playing at all. It was so good to be back.


It was a tentative return, and we’re far from back to normal. But we’re getting closer.


Restrictions are easing. We’re getting closer to the stands opening.


It shouldn’t be too long before we’re allowed more people to the ground. That the members and supporters who missed out on Sunday can come. And the Orange Army can return to our home behind the goals. ScoMo and Gladys are talking around July, just in time for the game against Hawthorn.


And then the broadcasters can turn off the fake crowds. Because if we’ve learned anything from the desolate silence of round 1 and the artificial atmosphere of round 2, we’ve learned that nothing can ever replace real people going to the footy.


And we’ve learned that fans matter, that the game is poorer when they’re not there.


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY      1.4    2.6    5.10     8.12 (60)
                      1.2    2.6     6.8      12.8 (80)



Greater Western Sydney: Finlayson 2, Perryman 2, Himmelberg 2, Ward, Cameron
North Melbourne: 
Zurhaar 3, Thomas 2, Goldstein, Brown, Pittard, Taylor, Scott, Polec, Ziebell 



Greater Western Sydney: Ward, Whitfield, Coniglio, Caldwell, de Boer, Perryman.
North Melbourne: Higgins, Polec, Atley, Zurhaar, Goldstein, Tarrant, Dumont.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Michael Shillito

GWS Giants foundation member and cheer squad member. It's been quite an adventure so far, and the best is yet to come.


  1. “But losing beats not playing at all”. A pertinent comment, Michael.

    Great that you got into the game. But I cannot understand how corporate areas are deemed safer by the government than the outer?

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    I’d have preferred not playing at all Michael!

  3. Dr Rocket says

    Here Come The Giants!

    Keep up the good work Michael!

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