In this world of newborn clubs, there is something slightly more ominous about the Greater Western Sydney Giants than their older sibling Gold Coast Suns, and for that we can thank Kevin Sheedy being at the helm.
The AFL’s appointment of Sheedy as inaugural coach of the Giants is a masterstroke. The AFL’s appointment of Sheedy as inaugural coach of the Giants is a masterstroke.
That he has already riled enough people internally and externally of the Australian Football League to regularly make front page news (in Sydney) makes his appointment a success already.
The contempt building for the Giants from fans of clubs whose players are targets and from fans of rugby league for daring to pinch players, suggests they can make a statement in the heartland and that they have built an identity for a club that had none.
Having a culture is what is important for a football club and if the rest of the country is ganging up on Western Sydney – both the club and the location, as Eddie McGuire alluded to on his radio program this week – then this might help the locals of that region get behind their team and area by supporting the club.
Which uncontracted players move to Sydney will be interesting, but the feeling is that the buying power in terms of dollars is more than what the Gold Coast offered, and the targeted players are of no less pedigree than Gary Ablett was before he took the money and the challenge of moving north.
Melbourne’s second year player and former number one draft pick Tom Scully will most likely stay at his club, but uncertainty looms over the targeted big three at Collingwood.
Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas have all been identified targets by Sheedy and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of them depart at the end of this year.
Collingwood is in a slightly different position to that of Melbourne.
The players have played in a premiership and may win another this year, so that box is ticked. The money will no doubt be attractive and despite the media’s dismissal last year of Ablett identifying the challenge as an attraction, there is merit in a gun player wanting the challenge to be involved in a start-up club.
Despite this though, the telling possibility for one of these players to sign with the Giants is at the end of this year Mick Malthouse will no longer be coaching the Magpies.
The three mentioned targets all played with their future coach Nathan Buckley and their relationships with him might determine if they stay or not. It is an unusual one.
The players love Malthouse, know his game plan and will in many ways start again under Buckley.
If players are to re-adjust to a new coach and new game plan why not do it with double the money and the captaincy of a new club in your back pocket as well. Beware for the swooping Magpie, sorry Giant, in the early weeks of October.