Round 22 – GWS v Fremantle: Can Orange be the new Purple?

Greater Western Sydney versus Fremantle

4.35pm, Saturday, 20 August, 2016

Spotless Stadium, Western Sydney, New South Wales

By Dianne Waddingham


Can Orange be the new Purple?

I apologise to readers who have followed my Almanac contributions over the years.  My usual purpleness has been replaced with, to quote Ross Lyon, the “anus horribilis” year for the Dockers. This round 22 clash with GWS was no exception, though I knew I was being delusional, hoping for an unexpected win.  In fact, another loss would cement our lowly position on the ladder.  Bloody hell Dockers, from minor premiers last year to this year sharing bottom spot with the drug-cheat Bombers and the basket-case Lions, how was this possible? I will always bleed purple until I am carried away in a box, but the words that come to mind for this review are really not printable!!!

It was still exciting to finally experience a game at Spotless stadium.  Another AFL oval ticked off my footy bucket list!  It had only taken the AFL five years to fixture the purple and orange teams on the east coast instead of the Giants venturing half way across the universe to play in Perth.  With the Dockers already thinking about draft picks, I had no level of optimism or hope.

I had also ventured up to Sydney to catch up with friends.  Having moved up to Western Sydney over eighteen years ago, Cath and Ross had occasionally helped out with raising the Freo banner when in the early years, the Vic banner crew were a bit thin on the ground. Cath’s love for Richmond and AFL has rubbed off on their two sons – Dean and Mark, with her husband Ross slowly being converted from “Thugby League”!!  From goal umpiring to field umpiring and everything in between, AFL had infiltrated this household.  On the morning of the game, an “orange” mirage appeared.  OMG – a rugby league convert and a Richmond tragic, striding out in a vision of orangeness.  Cath had mentioned if someone had asked her eighteen years ago that a team dressed in orange, based in Western Sydney, would be taking the AFL by storm and playing finals within five years of conception, she would have fainted into her weetbix!

I was eager to arrive at the stadium for the curtain raiser.  I had known field umpire number twenty seven since his birth so I was rather proud (along with his parents), to watch him umpire the NEAFL game between the Giants and Lions.   I just wanted to make sure no one gave this umpire any lip.  I did not want to embarrass him but how I wish I had a banner to raise.  When he umpires at AFL level there will be no stopping me and stuff his embarrassment!!

What can I say about the game?  1st quarter – Dockers were OK, so were the Giants.  2nd quarter – Dockers were OK, Giants were a bit better, taking a three goal buffer into half time.  3rd quarter – Dockers were shite, Giants were more than better.  4th quarter – Dockers were even more shite and Giants finished off the game with a ninety two point flogging.  Our little gnome Lachie (Neal) and silky Hilly (Stephen Hill) tried hard but the orange team had what seemed like twenty eight best-on-ground players.  Cameron, Patton, Davis, Mummy, Scully and the list goes on with some experience in Shaw, Callen and everyone in between.  Stevie J still commanded an audience whilst our players were obviously planning their mad-Monday celebrations!!  What a load of crap from the purple team and what an amazing game from the orange team.

Normally I would hate being beaten but I was rather cool about this loss.  My purpleness, for just the finals, (and don’t think I am changing my purple allegiance for one minute), has changed into a shade of orangeness.  There is also a big transformation happening across Western Sydney.  They finally have an AFL team to call their own – set up from scratch and not a transplanted struggling Victorian team.  Smart marketing, a visionary first coach, great people management and clever recruiting has seen the Giants being embraced by the people out west.

I had a lesson from my friend Cath about everything AFL in NSW. She made a good point in response to Eddie’s whinging about the player Academies north of the border. It’s fine for Victorian clubs to access the pool talent from the likes of Calder Cannons and Northern Knights etc but these are strong “pools” within a well established AFL state framework.  Try finding a team like “Calder Cannons” north of the Victorian border?  If NSW and QLD don’t have a ‘similar’ pool, ie their AFL Academies, how can they draft “home grown” players, who will play and want to stay at home?  Why did Cath have to make such good sense? Eddie, I think you may have met your match!!

Venturing to Spotless stadium with my purpleness being outnumbered by orangeness, I had a sense of calm and this is usually not a word to describe me at the footy.  It was great to hear the thoughts of those Giant supporters and banner crew who almost had an innocence (and excitement) about them as they pondered their first final’s campaign. A very nice gentleman, decked out in all his orangeness, insisted he carry my case up the aisle and up all the stairs as he was just so happy with his team.  There was no arrogance, no aggression and certainly no bad or rude behaviour.  It made such a pleasant change I almost fell down the stairs!!  Even their banners have been great this season (so please Freo take note)!!

Good luck to all the teams in the finals.  I may have to take up knitting as my interest in the finals has gone missing, however there may be just a soft spot for that team decked out in orange.



GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY   5.4   8.7  12.18  19.15 (129)
4.3   5.5    5.6      5.7 (37)

Greater Western Sydney
: Patton 6, Cameron 3, Johnson 3, Greene 2, Hopper, Whitfield, Griffen, Lobb, Scully
Fremantle: Yarran 3, Neale, Apeness 

Greater Western Sydney
: Griffen, Patton, Haynes, Whitfield, Williams, Tomlinson
Fremantle: Neale, Weller, Hill

Greater Western Sydney
: Nil
Fremantle: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: O’Gorman, Fleer, Jeffery

Official crowd: 9,556 at Spotless Stadium


GWS – Ryan Griffen                                3 Votes

GWS – Jonathon Patton          2 Votes

GWS – Heath Shaw                  1 Vote



  1. Debbie Doyle says

    Another great article Di xx

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