The Tasmanian AFL bid now has real momentum behind it with 48,140 supporters now signed up on the ‘United We Stand’ website.
When GWS announced in 2009 that veteran coach Kevin Sheedy had joined the club on a three-year deal to be their coach, there were a lot of sceptics who said the move was only about generating publicity in Western Sydney. After all, Sheedy is one hell of a character.
Indeed, the long-time Essendon coach had been a huge promoter of the game and the AFL throughout his tenure at the Bombers, with his likeable but controversial personality.
However, his coaching ability towards the end of his Essendon career was brought into question.
Had the game gone beyond him? Perhaps so.
So the appointment of former premiership coach Mark Williams as Sheedy’s assistant in 2010 only fuelled those thoughts, with the ex-Port Adelaide mentor said to be pulling the strings.
Many believe that this is still the case.
So there is a certain amount of scepticism to a lot of the noises and grumblings Sheedy makes as ‘GWS coach’.
The latest comments from Sheedy came following a controversial week for the Giants, who many believe aren’t endearing themselves to the public.
Firstly, there was the odd hiring of gun recruit Tom Scully’s father as a scout; then there was the resignation/dismissal of CEO Dale Holmes, which may or may not have been related.
Following that, Sheedy came out and slammed any suggestions of a crisis at the club. Not for the first time, he did so by threatening to sign up more uncontracted players from rival clubs.
“So, (the critics) can just keep going. I will get all the newspaper articles, all the TV clips and listen to all the comments, and file them away. I would say to them, ‘Don’t smack the baby Giant in the cot too hard, otherwise it will grow up grumpy’,” he said.
“Every person who keeps chipping away at us, we will be having a look at their uncontracted players next year, so they should be edgy and nervous.”
These comments came a little over a month after Sheedy slammed Fremantle for sacking former Bombers defender Mark Harvey in favour of Ross Lyon.
At the time, Sheedy said: “They’ll get their whack, don’t you worry about that. It would be great to see every club in Melbourne take a player and see how they suffer. We’ve already got ours, so we can’t take another one, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll find one.”
To be fair, Harvey’s sacking was tough.
But few people would share Sheedy’s sentiments, which seemed a stretch too far.
And it’s exactly this kind of thing which is turning people off Sheedy and, by association, the Giants.
Indeed, there is a very different feel to the Giants than there was about the Gold Coast Suns a year ago.
The Suns kept it pretty simple and were a lot more conservative, while it seems the Giants have adopted the philosophy that any publicity is good publicity as they try to make an impact in the difficult market that is Western Sydney.
Perhaps that has something to do with creating awareness in the region about the club. But is it doing more good than harm and turning people off?
We’ll have to wait and see.