GWS kids do Western Sydney proud

Andrew Sutherland Roar Guru

By Andrew Sutherland, Andrew Sutherland is a Roar Guru

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    I think many people expected the GWS Giants to embarrass themselves in their historic first match last night. Instead they did themselves proud.

    With 17 first gamers and 14 teenagers in the side, expectations were not high. Only 2 of the 52 tipsters from The Age and the Herald Sun picked GWS to beat the Swans. They were the Kiss of Death and The Village Idiot.

    But the lads from Blacktown (actually Breakfast Point) showed a manic intensity in the opening exchanges as well as slick skills to stay with the older Sydney enterprise. They trailed by just 17 points at quarter time and a not too shabby 31 points at half time.

    Even when the Swans kicked 5 straight goals in the third term to lead at the break by 64 points, and a repeat of the Suns’ horrible debut was on the cards, it didn’t quite seem to reflect the state of play – although showing signs of fatigue, the Giants were still getting plenty of the ball but were made to pay for their errors and lack of key forwards by the skilled and efficient Swans.

    In a promising display the Giants outscored the Swans in the last quarter by a point. Their tenacity was highlighted by a powerful tackle by Israel Folau on a hapless Dan Hanneberry who lost the ball and temporarily the use of his body.

    So what could be said about the GWS Giants after their baptism of fire? One aspect of their play that stands out is the hardness at the ball which reflects the head of development Alan McConnell’s belief that “teams who win premierships win the contested ball”.

    They must be careful that by replicating this physical style of play they don’t damn their young players’ bodies to premature chronic injury. Many youngsters have already emerged from the TAC Cup with osteits pubis and poor shoulders.

    They’re a long way off a premiership but with the addition of the experienced Luke Power and Dean Brogan, the classy Tom Scully and the man mountain Jonathon Patton (who was seen dwarfing Matthew Richardson and Brian Taylor in the commentary box) they are going to give a few teams a torrid time of it.

    It’s a shame, but not a surprise considering the conservative nature of AFL footballers, that a few more experienced players didn’t make the move to GWS. The fear of moving away from home, club loyalty and not wanting to play for a struggling venture, no doubt all played their part.

    So how do we describe this historic night in western Sydney? The crowd of over 38,000 was a healthy one and the evening, with the help of the slightly chaotic but mirthful new Channel 7 commentary team, had a carnival atmosphere.

    Hopefully some kids from rugby league households with bodies not suited to that game will have watched and had their interest piqued.

    Or, perhaps some of them saw the lights on and wandered over to see what all the fuss was about – just like those Melburnians in 1998 who popped into Olympic Park to see the city’s new rugby league team play for the first time.

    Finally, to the boys wearing the orange and charcoal (colours that go surprisingly well together), you did yourselves and western Sydney proud.

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    The Crowd Says (101)

    • March 25th 2012 @ 7:40am
      Cameron said | March 25th 2012 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Since this group is so young (and so promising), watching them develop over the next few years will be very interesting. It will also give opportunity for their new fans to really follow a team, as in watch a group of young playes grow and develop. I think their eventual success will be that much more rewarding to see for the fans just because of this.

      • March 25th 2012 @ 8:55am
        Xman said | March 25th 2012 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Agree. The easy way out with expansion teams is to fill them with mature players so they are competitive from the get go. But I think filling the team with potential star teenagers will result in a greater eventual following because the fans will grow to love a team that is seen as their own development.

      • Roar Guru

        March 25th 2012 @ 9:24am
        The Cattery said | March 25th 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        I agree Cameron, it will be a great journey.

      • March 25th 2012 @ 11:49am
        Westie said | March 25th 2012 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Would have expected at a minimum 50,000 playing out of that 80k venue. What was the tv ratings in greater Sydney? They are the true indicators.

        Looks like another 30 odd years to make any headway here.

        • March 25th 2012 @ 12:22pm
          Nathan of Perth said | March 25th 2012 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

          I read that as: “I will always place the goal-posts of success to feet to the right of wherever you are”

        • March 25th 2012 @ 12:49pm
          Ted Skinner said | March 25th 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

          82K in Sydney – shown on 7 Mate.

          Mediaweek ‏ @MediaweekAUS Sat TV: #AFLGiantsSwans 574k (Mel 361k Ade 116k Per 97k) 7mate 115k (Syd 82k Bri 33k) AFL Pre 404k AFL Post 329k #BeforeTheGame Mel 135k

          Pay TV to come.

          BTW the Channel 7 News which would have competed with the game got 319K last week (last night’s figures not available yet.)

          • March 25th 2012 @ 6:06pm
            Ted Skinner said | March 25th 2012 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

            Sat #AFL TV ratings #AFLGiantsSwans Seven + 7mate 689k @FoxFooty 196k Total 885k

            Note Pay TV 196K Nation-wide. The Sydney component might be 20K –40K??

            FTA + Pay = 885K

            • Roar Guru

              March 25th 2012 @ 7:34pm
              Redb said | March 25th 2012 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

              Given the game was between a Sydney team & a new Sydney team those ratings are pretty good. The traditional base will tune in greater numbers for Carl v Rich and then Coll v Haw.

              • March 25th 2012 @ 9:43pm
                Ted Skinner said | March 25th 2012 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                What’s your take on the Sydney & Brisbane numbers – 82K & 33K?

              • Roar Guru

                March 25th 2012 @ 10:33pm
                Redb said | March 25th 2012 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

                Game was over by half time. I’d like to see the peak numbers. 3 hour game tends dilute the average especially if casuals.
                A portion of Foxtel viewers would be Sydney.

                The game was considered a no contest in most AFL fans eyes, those that watched were looking at the kids, novelty factor, etc.

                Good crowd, media for GWS – something to build on.

    • March 25th 2012 @ 8:17am
      Titus said | March 25th 2012 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Ummm….they lost by 68 points. The contest was as good as over after 10mins.

      Can’t understand why everyone is talking them and the game up, it’s truely bizarre.

      • March 25th 2012 @ 8:41am
        Chris said | March 25th 2012 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Because many were expecting a 100+ point thumping.

        I was pleasantly surprised by the level of competitiveness shown by the Giants. Although I was also very disappointed by the Swans – particularly in the final quarter. Their skill level was abysmal.

      • Roar Guru

        March 25th 2012 @ 9:23am
        The Cattery said | March 25th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        it’s about understanding the game. They’re just kids, they stuck at it till the end, they had one really bad patch when the Swans scored 7 unanswered goals, which is unsurprising.

        Last year the Suns were starstruck from the opening minute and completely decimated – that didn’t happen last night, it could have happened, but it didn’t.

      • March 25th 2012 @ 10:58am
        The Guru said | March 25th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        I found it very annoying Titus, I was watching what looked like a turd on a stick and the commentators were telling me it was a toffee apple. If they’re not good enough for first grade, they shouldn’t be playing first grade.

        • Roar Guru

          March 25th 2012 @ 12:15pm
          Andrew Sutherland said | March 25th 2012 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          Guru, it is a shame that a team in the elite competition is chock full of novices, and that every possession is greeted with “great effort for a first year player”. That’s partly a result of them grabbing all the draftees but also due to the unwillingness of class players to leave established clubs.
          Still, considering their lack of experience and size, I thought they were exceptional.

          • March 25th 2012 @ 12:24pm
            Nathan of Perth said | March 25th 2012 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

            Alas, I think free agency would have been useful for them to have had before coming in.

            • March 25th 2012 @ 1:08pm
              ChrisH said | March 25th 2012 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

              Titus, Guru, you lose all credibility taking such an extreme position. They were very competitive, make of that what you will, but turd on a stick they were not.

          • March 25th 2012 @ 7:26pm
            Australian Rules said | March 25th 2012 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

            Agreed AS

            The above comments must be from people who do not understand the complexities and nuances of Australian Football (which admittedly, would form a large part of last night’s target audience).

            The difference between last night’s game and the Suns’ opening shellacking against the Blues in 2011, is that the Giants actually knew what to do and how to play…they just aren’t good enough at it yet.

            Promising signs for the young club.

            To put it in perspective for non-Australian football folk…it’s like fielding a League side with 11 ex-high school kids (who have never played first grade) and 2 retired players and pitting them against the Storm. What would the score be?

      • March 26th 2012 @ 10:36am
        Macca said | March 26th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        I have to agree with Titus, they lost by 10 goals, the Swans had 30 scoring shots to 12 and went insdie 50 71 times. People also have to remember that they were playing a side who will quite likely miss the 8 this year, if they had of played a Carlton like the Suns did last year the margin would of been 120 points the same as last year.

        Their 2 key forwards struggled, Reid had 19 possessions againsst Davis so how many will a Franklin or Cloke have?

        Yes they battled hard and gave it their all but the media seem to be contracted by the AFL to constantly talk them up. You also have to ask if the more defensive style when compared to the suns might shave a few goals off the margins each week but will it win them games?

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2012 @ 10:48am
          The_Wookie said | March 26th 2012 @ 10:48am | ! Report

          60 points is nothing. Carlton beat Richmond by 100, and Essendon by much more than 60 IN A FINAL! 10 goal losses happen. Clubs get over them.

          • March 26th 2012 @ 10:56am
            Macca said | March 26th 2012 @ 10:56am | ! Report

            The Swans are no Carlton though are they! And the stats point to the loss flattering the GWS, 71 inside 50’s for just 14 goals? And they had 30 scoring shots to 12.

            Plus as I said if the GWS plan to just roll numbers back and try to minimise the margin how are they going to actually win a game?

    • March 25th 2012 @ 8:40am
      mick h said | March 25th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      the crowd had a lot of red and not much orange it must be a major concern and why haven’t all of the foundation members from last year signed up yet

      • March 25th 2012 @ 3:11pm
        mattamkII said | March 25th 2012 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

        yes and much of the Orange look very, well should I say ”positioned” fans.

        The banners looked purposed made by a (clueless) marketing department and what looked like a cheer squad ended up being parents and family kitted out.

        • Roar Guru

          March 25th 2012 @ 7:36pm
          Redb said | March 25th 2012 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

          How’s the tin foil hat fitting.

      • March 26th 2012 @ 12:05am
        western sydney boy said | March 26th 2012 @ 12:05am | ! Report

        Simple, cost of membership too high. Also home game schedule is all over the place which means individual tix become an easier option.

    • March 25th 2012 @ 8:57am
      Fitzy said | March 25th 2012 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      Sheeds went very defensive, being at ground at Swans end for last qtr there was 36 players in Swans fwd 50 for most of qtr. Sheedy said didnt want 100 pt thumping and bottled it up. The really surprising thing is that such a young group stuck to the game plan! Cornes was GWS best leading back line under constant pressure. Sammy Reid had 2 or 3 getting back on him, struggled at times. They need another key Fwd NOW, Saw Jesse in 2’s kick a bag might be ready to come back into line up.

    • Roar Guru

      March 25th 2012 @ 9:26am
      The Cattery said | March 25th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      for those interested, Folau’s stats from last night:
      one kick, one mark, two handballs, seven hitouts and one tackle.

      unspectacular, but his strength actually helped create two goals.

      It’s a year of learning for him, there will be plenty of games where his stats are every bit as low, he will be better for the return of Setanta and Brogan who can share some of the big man burden, and let the kids do what they do best – run.

      • March 25th 2012 @ 9:55am
        Ian Whitchurch said | March 25th 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Im happy with how Izzy went – the other point is thet are hitouts he won against Mumford.

        A point a lot of people are missing is that the Giants list is awesome potential all the way down … Im not sure I’d want to cut four or five of the kids just to fit in good-average AFL footballers.

        Rigth now, Im also thinking that extending five kids for 300k a year each might be a better deal than Cloke for one and a half a year – Cameron and Folaun have both shown they can play KPF, and Patton is looming in the wings as well. Would more beef fit ?

        • March 25th 2012 @ 2:57pm
          Simmo said | March 25th 2012 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

          that makes a lot of sense. GWS needs to guard against the circling vultures and locking down the most talented kids asap. It may mean overpaying them now but it’ll be easier to retain the ones you really want to build the team around. Compare that with paying the league’s highest income for a proven peformer, but who is after all, just one man.

          It’s applying the business maxim of it being far more cost effective to retain existing customers than trying to get new ones (although we’re talking about staff rather than customers). How about “not putting all your eggs in one basket”.

        • March 26th 2012 @ 10:47am
          Macca said | March 26th 2012 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          Ian – Three possessions from 83% of game time and you are happy, Matty Lloyd was pretty emphatic in saying he isn’t in their best 22 and said that both Folau & Cameron struggled in the key positions and they should throw whatever they had at Cloke.

          Also earlier in the year you tipped GWS to be competitive against the bracket of sides pushing for the finals, given the Swans are probably going to miss the finals shouldn’t they have been more competitve?

      • March 25th 2012 @ 6:21pm
        GrantS said | March 25th 2012 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

        I was very impressed with the GWS players and their skills. I was also pleased with the way Sheeds played Izzy in the ruck to help him improve his game.
        I was not impressed by the way Mumford kept pushing him under the ball on the boundary throw ins. Folau is big and strong enough to handle opposing ruckmen so the ruck coaches need to put some work in with him to assure this does not happen in the future.
        All in all a very impressive debut.

    • March 25th 2012 @ 10:01am
      GrantS said | March 25th 2012 @ 10:01am | ! Report

      Anyone wishing to pit their Toyota AFL Dream Team against mine then you are welcome to join my comp.

      Code is 680384.

      The more the merrier!

      • March 26th 2012 @ 8:44am
        GrantS said | March 26th 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        “Anyone wishing to pit their Toyota AFL Dream Team against mine then you are welcome to join my comp.

        Code is 680384.

        The more the merrier!”

        Welcome Cameron, David and Ben !

        Still room for plenty more.

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