Sorry Blacktown, you didn’t deserve this
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Farewell to Blacktown International Sports Park from GWS? (Slattery Images)
I am very sorry Blacktown. In January I visited you and your modest neighbours, Rooty Hill and Doonside – quite by accident – and wrote a piece on it.
I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t very nice.
Bleak, isolated and windswept were the dominant descriptions.
Jonny G , a Roar respondent, commented: “Going by this article, it sounds like the area I live in is actually the set for some post apocalyptic film”.
I apologise sincerely for that Jonny – and for the prison analogy.
The reason for my contrition is an article penned by the Roar’s Billo Boy almost two years to the day – a piece that at the time smacked of low self-esteem and slight paranoia – that has proven to be entirely correct.
It was titled: “Is the AFL Too Good For The Sydney’s West?
Billo Boy, of course, was referring to the outer West.
As we all know by now – and sorry for another article on it – the GWS Giants have abandoned their multi-million dollar training facility in Blacktown and skedaddled twenty kilometres closer to the centre of Sydney.
They will now set up base in the Olympic precinct of the inner west.
Apparently, their precious little high draft pick wunderkinds don’t want to live in Blacktown, and the club wants to attract more support from the moneyed residents to the east and in the Hills District.
The first reason given for the move, however, by Chief Executive Dave Matthews was the absence of “a summer training facility for us at Blacktown International Sports Park”.
A summer training facility? What’s the difference between a winter and a summer training facility?
In my day you trained outdoors in summer: i.e ran. If the ovals at Blacktown aren’t big enough, the players could just do more laps; or run to Penrith and back.
If by a “summer facility” he means the presence of a body of water to cool down in, or perform recovery sessions, there’s always Prospect Reservoir to the south.
Or they could construct a bl**dy swimming pool.
It would be a lot cheaper than the millions being spent on the new venue.
For off-season altitude training the players will be in Arizona anyway. And if a player gets injured during the season and requires high altitude rehabilitation he can meditate on nearby Mt Druitt.
There’s also a Shaggers Ridge about.
Matthews said that the club had been “open and honest as we possibly can to the people of Blacktown about what the needs of an elite team are.” It’s a shame it wasn’t open and honest from the start and said: “An elite team doesn’t belong here”.
He also cited the modi operandi of the two largest and wealthiest clubs in the land, Collingwood and Essendon, as an excuse, claiming they are the “benchmark for the best young players in the country”.
Now I’ve been a big fan of the GWS players in their debut season but this constant emphasis on them being the anointed ones is starting to gall.
The players have never adopted Blacktown as home. Instead they have resided in the prefabricated horror show of Breakfast Point – a “housing community” overlooking the Parramatta River.
Lounging on their sunny verandahs being served protein shakes and bowls of Just Right by nannies, the spoiled little sh*ts look at catalogues for Maseratis and Aston Martins – which will be paid for by their increased contracts after threatening to leave for their original homes and a competitive team.
It they don’t want to live there let them go, I say.
Look at the significant number of NRL players who were stung by rejection and so journeyed south to the Bleak City to become champions for the Melbourne Storm.
If your players aren’t there for the weather or the lifestyle there’s a good chance you’ll develop a worthy team.
GWS will be “leaving” its Blacktown facility for its AFL academy staff.
I wouldn’t blame the Blacktowners, Rooty Hillers and Doonsiders if they burned the thing to the ground.
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