GWS Giants living up to their name

mastermind5991 Roar Guru

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    Kevin Sheedy coached the Giants in 2012 and 2013. (Photographer: James Elsby)

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    Despite the mounting number of lopsided losses, I was very impressed by what I saw from the GWS Giants against Geelong on the weekend.

    For three quarters the Giants threatened the upset of the millennium, not only matching the Cats on the scoreboard, but also in statistics such as contested possessions and tackles.

    I went to the match hoping to see a Geelong blowout victory, but it almost didn’t happen when GWS kicked the first five goals of the match.

    This prompted me to say that “this will be front page headlines if GWS beats Geelong.”

    The Giants have proven in their two contests against the Cats to date that they aren’t scared of playing such a well-disciplined team; a team that has enjoyed sustained success since 2007, winning three flags in the past six years.

    In their only previous meeting, at the Cattery, the Giants were level with the then-defending premiers at quarter and half-time, before experience shone in the second half, allowing the Cats to pull away to win by 65 points.

    But this was some sort of start for the Giants, and after such a brilliant first quarter the new team led by 18 points at half-time.

    While I was not close enough to the Geelong huddle to hear what Chris Scott had to say to his troops, it was clear that he was not impressed with what his boys served up in that first quarter.

    I was sitting at the southern end of the stadium, right next to the visitors’ tunnel and just to the left of the Giants’ cheer squad which continued to let their voice be heard frequently throughout the match.

    Every time the Giants kicked a goal, the crowd would lift their voice and the flags would wave proudly. I was even lucky enough to take several photographs of the cheer squad with the scoreboard in sight when the Giants were leading.

    And when the Giants were still in the contest, the crowd were still up on their feet, trying to keep the team in the game when the upset of the millennium was still there for the taking.

    The Cats eventually lifted their game in the second quarter, kicking eight goals to four to turn the match in their direction.

    It was only an eight-point buffer at half-time, but the Giants were impressing with every piece of play.

    I was able to meet Barry Hall during the half-time break. While I did not ask him any questions, what I would have asked, had I been able, was if he had regretted the way he left the Sydney Swans in 2009.

    Hall, of course, left the Harbour City in messy circumstances that year following an incident involving Ben Rutten in a Swans loss to Adelaide midway through that year.

    It was his last game for the red-and-white, following which he would serve for two years at the Western Bulldogs before retiring at the end of 2011.

    Hall has stated that he always wants to be remembered for being a Western Bulldogs player, despite captaining Sydney to its’ 72-year drought-ending premiership in 2005.

    He states this because it was the Footscray club who were willing to give him one last chance, and he paid the club back with over 100 goals, making him the only man to kick a ton for three different clubs.

    It was the third quarter and the Giants were still in the contest. Even though they were unable to take the lead back from the triple premiers, they showed some fight by levelling the scores twice, entering the final change trailing by 12 points.

    But as has become customary this season, the Giants’ notorious fourth-quarter fadeouts crept in again. Against Melbourne at the MCG in Round 4 they led by 19 points at three-quarter-time but lost by 41.

    The fourth quarter blues struck again when Geelong restricted them to just one goal in the final quarter, kicking nine themselves.

    Unfortunately, I had to leave the ground midway through the final quarter – well, I would have left anyway because it was obvious as to who would win.

    Jeremy Cameron was very impressive for the Giants, kicking 4.4 (28). I noted during the match that he had the potential to become “the next Matthew Lloyd or Jonathan Brown.”

    As it stands, he is equal third on the Coleman Medal tally, with 31 majors for the season, an impressive return from a forward whose team is still winless approaching the midway mark of the season.

    I won’t be surprised if he one day makes it into the All-Australian team, and he could launch a club forward the same way Lance Franklin launched Hawthorn forward almost a decade ago.

    When Franklin started at Hawthorn the club was still languishing in the bottom half of the ladder, but he has since become a superstar in his own right and today he is one of the power forwards in a side that is in premiership contention.

    Cameron could launch GWS up the ladder if he continues his impressive form throughout his career. The question might need to be asked: who needs Buddy Franklin when you have Jeremy Cameron?

    The next match I will attend is the Giants’ Round 17 match against Essendon. Let’s hope that the Giants can once again live up to their name by the time they meet on July 20.

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    The Crowd Says (84)

    • June 10th 2013 @ 2:51am
      Steve said | June 10th 2013 @ 2:51am | ! Report

      So last time GWS lost by 65 points, but this time the Cats played like crap and only came out 59 points ahead.
      That isn’t really *that* impressive is it?

      Maybe I’m being a bit sour- probably am, but I can’t help but feel that hoping for a losing margin of 60 or under against Essendon isn’t exactly the sort of thing a team of bona-fide ‘Giants’ should be aiming for.

    • June 10th 2013 @ 7:29am
      Gurudoright said | June 10th 2013 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      I love these should ‘av, could ‘av, would ‘av Giants stories. It is always about the ‘potential’ of the team. We are not quite there yet but one day….. yep one day, you watch. I remember the potential the Labor Party had in 2007 when they first came to power, look how that has turned out. I still wonder how many actual fans went on Saturday and not the 7,800 the Giants claim to be there. Actually how many free passes were given away. Before anybody doubts the free tickets, I’m a high school teacher in the Western Suburbs and everyday in roll call when I read out the daily notices there is a notice about free tickets for the Cats game and over the last week for the Port game coming up(actually thinking of grabbing these as I have a soft spot for Port). All students have to do is see the P.E. staff to collect

      In theory the Giants have the ‘potential’ to one day beat decent teams but the reality is that a 59 point lost shows that they are anything but likely to beat the Cats, Swans, Hawks of this world.

      • June 10th 2013 @ 11:39am
        andyincanberra said | June 10th 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        My goodness, a high school teacher dismissing the word potential. I fear for Australia’s youth. On the plus side, given the amount of comments that any Roar article about the Giants seem to generate, at least we can’t say that the team is not resonating with some people at west.

        • June 12th 2013 @ 2:27am
          Allan said | June 12th 2013 @ 2:27am | ! Report

          I don’t see how any publicity is good publicity.

    • June 10th 2013 @ 8:09am
      Jimbo said | June 10th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      They will turn the corner, just like GC Suns appear to have this year.

      Thus setting themselves up for many years of being a competetive team, with probably a premiership window at some stage.

      Just like the GC Suns, the crowds, and rusted on support will appear, except GWS has the potential to be far bigger, a monster perhaps.

      In the wise words of Neil Young ….. rust never sleeps.

      • June 10th 2013 @ 8:38am
        Gurudoright said | June 10th 2013 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Ah yes, there’s that potential word again. Potentially I will win $20million on Oz lotto on Tuesday. The reality is that I won’t. Potential is funny like that.

        • June 10th 2013 @ 8:56am
          Gurudoright said | June 10th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          Again the difference between the Suns and The Giants is that the Suns have a freak player in Ablett who can win games. The Giants have no freak players just “potentially” one day freak players who aren’t good enough to beat the Dees. In fact let the Dees run up 74 points in a single quarter, the highest in Demon history. I would be embarrassed if I was the AFL, $20 million a year to receive the lowest ground attendence in 17 years. But hey potentially they will be great

          • June 10th 2013 @ 11:32am
            Ian Whitchurch said | June 10th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

            • June 10th 2013 @ 12:56pm
              Gurudoright said | June 10th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              A freak goal doesn’t make a freak player.

              • June 10th 2013 @ 1:37pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | June 10th 2013 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                Second year player in a crap side. Only threat in the forward line. Other two big forwards are injured. Still third in the Coleman.

                Not a freak player. Sure.

              • June 10th 2013 @ 3:11pm
                Gurudoright said | June 10th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                So he is in the same league as Ablett, Goodes and Franklin? Fair enough.

              • June 10th 2013 @ 5:44pm
                Tax but no rep said | June 10th 2013 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

                I remember the Balmain Tigers playing someone at Carltons Princes park in about 1990 in front of less than 1K and the crowd was recorded as 4969 which make it appear a big crowd. These sowed the seeds of the Storm of today so a long term plan. And when people criticise the RL WC for its flag of convenience teams , people like Sterlo say its just in its beginnings and will grow. So maybe the same applies to the Giants but when they are a strong team the critics will have moved on to criticise something else because thats how they enjoy life…

              • June 10th 2013 @ 6:25pm
                Jimbo said | June 10th 2013 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                @ TAX, very good post.

        • June 10th 2013 @ 2:39pm
          Stavros said | June 10th 2013 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

          Massive difference in probability between you winning Oz Lotto and GWS winning a flag in the next decade. Instead of running the game down, why don’t you get behind it. Go along to the GWS v Port match. Like you said, it won’t cost you anything.

          • June 11th 2013 @ 6:51am
            too many knock ons for me said | June 11th 2013 @ 6:51am | ! Report

            people wouldnt cross the road to watch the game

      • Roar Rookie

        June 10th 2013 @ 9:09am
        Connor said | June 10th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        And why does GWS have the potential to be a “monster” and GC does not? Apart from the ridiculous level of funding that GWS are getting at the moment (at the expense of traditional clubs like us, North and Footscray), what gives GWS the God-given (or rather, Demetriou-given) right to be the biggest club in the league?

        • June 10th 2013 @ 9:16am
          Jimbo said | June 10th 2013 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          GWS has a much bigger population base, as well as bigger corporate and sponsorship potential.

          It is all before them, remains to be seen if it happens.

          • June 10th 2013 @ 3:13pm
            Fuz said | June 10th 2013 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            … he says, conveniently ignoring the lack of popular support of AFL in Sydney

            • June 10th 2013 @ 4:29pm
              Daryl Adair said | June 10th 2013 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

              Ah yes, no-one goes to see the Swans. They have higher crowds than any other club in any other code. And, of course, this comes on the back of years of hard work and playing success. That’s what the Giants will need to do to come any where close.

          • June 11th 2013 @ 12:09am
            Knoxy said | June 11th 2013 @ 12:09am | ! Report

            Yes they do have a large population to work with but Sydney is a very tough market. For the sake of the game I hope they succeed but they will never be a power house club. The Swans have been there for thirty years and won two premierships. Yet they still only have a moderate fan base.

            • June 11th 2013 @ 12:44am
              Daryl Adair said | June 11th 2013 @ 12:44am | ! Report

              Yes, Sydney is indeed a tough market for any sport. However, the Sydney Swans have the largest number of fans at games – 28k average last season. Not quite what the clubs in Melbourne get, but by Sydney sport standards that’s the top of the tree. Few clubs in the other footy codes come close. Which is a mystery to me. For all the fanfare about the Wanderers they averaged 12.5k – pretty damn good in their first season. But half of what the Swans garner. Don’t get me started on poor NRL crowds. The Bulldogs (23k ave in 2012) and the Rabbits (19k ave in 2012) can draw a decent audience, but the clubs out West are pitiful (my Eels included). And the Waratahs, about 15k average this year. Sydney is, as you rightly say Knoxy, is a very hard market to crack. And lure fans that show up week in, week out.

              • June 11th 2013 @ 8:51am
                Post_hoc said | June 11th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                And the stadium for the WSW only holds 20,000 (which they sold out 3 times in their first year, whilst the Swans play in 42,000 to 45,000 so averages are very misleading aren’t they.

                Wouldn’t it be more fair to compare WSW with the Giants (both supposedly western sydney teams, both young and both play in stadiums with close to the same capacity.

                But that is inconvenient for the AFL isn’t,

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2013 @ 9:19am
                SportsFanGC said | June 11th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

                Post_hoc – hasn’t the SCG had one stand knocked down for the past 2 seasons (including this one) so the total capacity is somewhere around 30K? Therefore a average of 28K would be almost a full house for the past 2 seasons?

                In comparison WSW also had a very successful season last year but averaged 12.5K in a 20K stadium? Therefore the average is only slightly more than half for the ground that they are playing at?

                Happy to be corrected if any of the above is not what has happened…

              • June 11th 2013 @ 9:53am
                clipper said | June 11th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

                Depends on what stage they are with the development. At worse capacity is down to 34k, but it has to be remembered that 8k are reserved for trust members, so usually 28-30k will be a full house.
                Knoxy – if the Swans only have a moderate fan base, yet have the most members and highest average attendance of all codes in Sydney, what does that make the fan base for the other clubs in Sydney?

              • June 11th 2013 @ 11:00am
                andyincanberra said | June 11th 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

                Posthoc, not inconvenient at all. We’re talking about a team that due to the global trade in players, was able to build a mature list from day 1. Was competitive from day 1, then was able to come very close to winning a title in its first year. Combined with the strong historical links to soccer in Western Sydney. It’s absolutely not surprising that they had a strong following straight away.
                Compare that to the Giants. There’s very little Aussie rules played out in WS. As the AFL has the draft, the team was always going to have a lot of kids for the first couple of years. We’re talking about a young inexperienced side, it’s absolutely not surprising that they’re getting thrashed for the first couple of years.
                People that want to make the lazy comparrison between WSW and GWS seem to ignore that the AFL has always said that this will be a 20 year project.

              • June 11th 2013 @ 11:26am
                Post_hoc said | June 11th 2013 @ 11:26am | ! Report


                The thing is, last years regular season home average for the swans was only 25,000 (24,900 something), so looks a bit different now. The 27,000 figure is home games including finals.

              • June 11th 2013 @ 11:50am
                Knoxy said | June 11th 2013 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                Yes Sydney do get very good crowds in comparison to other Sydney clubs. This is a fantastic achievement. But from what I’ve heard, the TV ratings for their matches are still pretty average. They have a very strong, core group of supporters who turn up every week but not much interest in the city beyond that. I think this is the best GWS can hope for. I think that with enough work they will be able to build a strong, loyal, core group of supporters like the Swans. Like I said though, I don’t expect them to become a power house.

      • June 11th 2013 @ 7:56am
        warren said | June 11th 2013 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        So Jimbo what do you think will happen when they start winning games. Do you think that all of a sudden they will start getting crowds of 25-30k? It is simply not going to happen.

        Sydney people do not care about sport the way that Melbourne people do. The Swans have been going for 30+ years and they are to some extent part of the Sydney sporting culture but I would be lucky to name 3-4 players in the team and I am someone who has played the game and watch the better games on a weekly basis.

        Also in my opinion the best thing to happen to RL was the introduction of the Giants. It finally made the NRL take notice and put in place programs like the membership structure that the AFL has been so successful at.

        Yes the GWS will get bigger and better but do not kid yourself that they will become a dominate force in the Sydney sporting landscape anytime in the near future.

        • June 11th 2013 @ 8:52am
          Post_hoc said | June 11th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          What memberships for pets?

          • June 12th 2013 @ 1:06pm
            warren said | June 12th 2013 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

            What are you talking about? The GWS have been giving memberships to those kids who take part in their Auskick program. Where are there 12k members? What a joke.

            Please if you want to talk about spin the AFL are the best at it. Even last week there was an article in QLD that stated more kids are playing Aussie Rules than RL. It was based on kids spending six weeks on schools program.

            This type of rubbish gives the AFL no credibility and even works against the

            • June 12th 2013 @ 1:23pm
              Post_hoc said | June 12th 2013 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              Totally agree, and my jibe about pet memberships was just that a jibe at the AFL

    • June 10th 2013 @ 8:41am
      Brendan said | June 10th 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      Midway through the last qtr the Giants are four goals down and after Johnson and Christensen are concussed Geelong are reduced to one interchange player and the Cats step up and kick the last six goals.A ten goal loss under those circumstances is not to be applauded.

    • June 10th 2013 @ 10:17am
      c said | June 10th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      In fact let the Dees run up 74 points in a single quarter – woowee shows what happens when a team really tries when playing gws. the true game results could be mindboggling

      • Roar Rookie

        June 13th 2013 @ 5:42pm
        Connor said | June 13th 2013 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

        That was a great day. One of our two great quarters this year.

    • June 10th 2013 @ 11:27am
      Daryl Adair said | June 10th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      The only proof in the pudding will be a few years down the track. I’m old enough to remember how awful the Swans were in the 1980s here in Sydney. The Giants aren’t going away. They may take another five years to be competitive. But there hasn’t been a relocation of a Melbourne team to allow for that. In the short term, if you like close contents, it is pretty difficult to watch. Kids playing adults. Hard to be enthusiastic. Short term pain; long term gain. That’s the hope, anyway. But no-one should doubt how difficult it is now for players and fans.

      • June 10th 2013 @ 3:11pm
        Fuz said | June 10th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

        Unlikely to be another super league war to help the Giants out though.

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