A hellish May has the Giants staring at a lost AFL season, or worse

Ryan Buckland Columnist

By Ryan Buckland, Ryan Buckland is a Roar Expert


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    They’ve been wrecked by injuries. But that’s not the whole story. The GWS Giants aren’t the team we expected they would be, and their season is rapidly slipping away.

    The pressure will come the way of Greater Western Sydney this week, because that’s just how this caper works. The pundits will look at where we were, where we thought we’d be, and where we are now, and wonder how it could come to this. They are questions that the Giants will need to answer – my two cents are above.

    Leon Cameron re-signed as GWS’ head coach last year, extending a previous contract end date of 2018 to 2020. At the time, GWS were sitting third on the ladder, despite being in the midst of a more significant injury crisis than the one which has plagued them this year. We knew what the Giants were then. Now, with ten rounds of evidence under our belt, we cannot be so sure.

    Make no mistake, the Giants displayed some of the worst form in the competition over the month of May. They went 0-4 with a percentage of 57.5 per cent, numbers which harken back to the days of Folau and Cornes and Palmer and McDonald.

    Leon Cameron

    (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    For any other team on four wins (and a draw) through ten games, this might be a eulogy. But it isn’t for the Giants, because we know what they are capable of. Two successive preliminary finals, beaten by the eventual premier in both, and a list profile suggestive of a more traditional team’s apex. This isn’t how it was supposed to go.

    And for the Giants, the worst bit of it is their malaise goes beyond the availability of key players, and gets to a loss of their football identity.

    That’s not to underplay player availability. The injuries hurt, and for GWS perhaps moreso than for any team other than Adelaide and Carlton. The Giants have been without two of their most important ball movers, Zac Williams and Tom Scully, for all but 30 minutes of the 2018 season. They’re also missing Nathan Wilson from their renowned slice-and-dice unit. The Giants haven’t really been able to replace them.

    Heath Shaw hasn’t been able to pick up the slack, and rightly so perhaps given he’s 32 years old. Lachie Whitfield has been shifted back to help out, but it has come at the cost of reducing his influence in the forward half. Otherwise it has been left to the tall defenders to create some drive coming out of defensive 50; GWS can do that because their tall defenders are among the most skilful with the ball in hand in the game.

    Defence isn’t the Giants’ issue. They’re sixth for points conceded per game through ten rounds, and are conceding scores on fewer than 40 per cent of opposition inside 50 entries – the best mark in the league.

    It isn’t their midfield either. GWS has maintained their edge around the clinches, and have a very healthy +9.1 adjusted contested possession differential on the year. They’re dead even on clearances (through nine games, pending a data update) too. Here, player availability has been far less of an issue: Stephen Coniglio, Callan Ward, Dylan Shiel and 2016 Pick Two Tim Taranto have played every game.

    2017 All Australian Josh Kelly has missed more than half of the season and has looked far from healthy for much of the time he has played. That certainly hurts, but it’s like taking the dessert off of a five-course meal: it should still be enough.

    We cannot say the same about the forward half, of course. Injuries and absence have played their part here too. Toby Greene has played three games due to injury. Jonathon Patton has barely spent time as the focal point forward due to form. Rory Lobb has been injured, and shouldered more of the ruck burden following the retirement of Shane Mumford. There’s been lack of continuity, too. It has manifested in the Giants collapsing from 95 points per game scoring in 2017 to 76.9 in 2018.

    Jonathon Patton

    Jonathon Patton (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    The Giants’ forward half woes are both a symptom and underlying cause of their confused football identity. Gone is the daring corridor-centric play of 2016 and 2017 – the overlap run, the long kicks to leading forwards, the side steps and shimmies by the star-laden midfield. It has been replaced by tentative shorter kicks and a tendency to handball when confronted with some frontal pressure.

    In losing about 20 points per game of offensive potency, GWS has lost its way altogether. I’d fancy Champion Data statistics would probably say the Giants are scoring less frequently from both stoppages and possession chains which begin in their defensive half – both the hallmarks of a team with precision skills and a clear game plan.

    They are breaking down around centre and in the forward half, and it is leading to a near-total discombobulation.

    There is time to patch things up. The Giants have been slowly piecing together their best 22 as the season has progressed, but it remains some way off being fully formed. That was the case last season too; the Giants fell at the penultimate hurdle after they overcame their injury challenges in the final rounds of the year.

    The Giants have the third toughest fixture to come, according to my strength of schedule calculations. In their favour are four games against the current bottom four. Out of their favour are two trips to Adelaide, a trip to Perth to play West Coast, a date with the reigning premier and a Round 23 away game against Melbourne at the MCG. Boy that’s tough, and it’s not as though the Giants have had it all their way fixture wise so far in 2018.

    We cannot write the GWS Giants’ 2018 season off the books. We know what the team is capable of when it gets its act together. But time is rapidly running out for that to take place.

    Ryan Buckland
    Ryan Buckland

    As an economist, Ryan seeks to fix the world's economic troubles one graph at a time. As a sports fan, he's always looking one or two layers beneath the surface to search for meaning, on and off the field. You can follow Ryan here.

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    The Crowd Says (100)

    • May 28th 2018 @ 8:07am
      1der said | May 28th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      The other 3 games for GWS outside of the nine mentioned are home games against Sydney, Adelaide and Hawthorn.
      Need to turn it around very quickly and are unfortunate that the games against Gold Coast Suns and Lions is separated by the round 13 bye.

      Will not be able to continue possible winning momentum leading into the tough fixtures of rounds15 through to 18 inclusive. Season could well be over by round 18?

    • May 28th 2018 @ 8:43am
      I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      The pressure won’t be on GWS, because nobody cares about them. They had yet another dismal crowd on the weekend. It occurred to me that the seats in the top tier of Spotless stadium have probably only ever been sat once for a footy match; the 2016 Prelim….anywho, the downfall couldn’t have happened to a suckier club so I’m happy.

    • May 28th 2018 @ 9:07am
      I miss the force said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      Lucky they have got 21000 members
      Not sure how many of their members are cats or alive ?

      • May 28th 2018 @ 9:33am
        Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        They also have a women’s AFL team and a Netball team in National comps, 4,500 Canberra members and across all indicators AFAIK are up year on year including the very important junior team numbers in WS which bodes well for the future.

        • May 28th 2018 @ 9:50am
          I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

          That’s all well and good, but none of those things actually make an AFL club viable. They need to get bums on seats if they’re going to be relevant.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 10:46am
            TheBigFish said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            The NRL seem to do alright!

            • May 28th 2018 @ 11:13am
              I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              Yeah but people actually watch the NRL on TV. GWS has no support anywhere. They’re a completely hollow club.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 12:20pm
                TheBigFish said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                Ok. Seats and couches . Understand.

              • Roar Guru

                May 28th 2018 @ 4:02pm
                hairy fat man said | May 28th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

                The Giants are getting decent ratings on FOX, esp. compared to Rugby Union.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 8:42pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                I dont think the creation of GWS is any different to the creation of Claremont FC in many ways, at one stage in the WAFL there was 3 Fremantle teams, South, East and across the river a tiny little working class suburb in North Fremantle which serviced the docks which now home to a very big amatuer club was never a big enough area for a WAFL club.

                Claremont football club using your theory should never have existed as they were a club that was born of a need for football to service an area of Perth that was at one stage not a particularly strong football area, one of the reasons was based around getting football into what was then a teachers college in the area that had many teachers from a English rather Australian background and was a strong soccer area.

                They got flogged in early years and never had a big supporter base, should see their ground now, it is absolutely fantastic surrounded by high rise units that overlook the ground.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 9:48pm
                Rick said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

                Seriously the creation of the Claremont football club was nothing like the creation of GWS.

                There was already a strong amateur side in Claremont/Cottesloe opposed to what in Western Sydney?

                No millions pouring into Claremont to make it sustainable, try taking GWS’s war chest away and that venture wouldn’t have got off the ground let alone survive.

                Missed the point of its ground now being surrounded by high rise units – so? – any early suburban football ground that originated way back is worth a fortune now, that’s just basic economics nothing to do with a correlation between Claremont and GWS.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 10:18pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

                No, it was just originally Cottesloe, before being called Cottesloe/Claremont it was a weak footy area, the decision was based on untapped talent and demographics rather than talent.

                “”The decision by the neighbouring Claremont Council in 1925 to spend 5000 pounds on Claremont Oval and
                evict Claremont Soccer Club from the ground is evidence of a council decision that changed a communities
                sporting interest.
                So why did the Claremont Tigers get established in a region that was an island of British Soccer hegemony?
                Much like the establishment of Greater Western Sydney Giants, Claremont Tigers came into the WAFL
                based on being an untapped population, despite other sides based on talent and interest being more
                applicable to join the top league. It was an Australian Rules Football administration decision to be
                represented in every district and thus Claremont was the only district which was not represented in the top
                This administration decision changed the region from Association Football to Australian Rules Football and
                thus a ground that used to hold three football codes, with soccer being given priority has only the Australian
                game being played on it today”


                GWS is based on a national comp rather than a suburban one.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 10:28pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

                Chris Egan is a Passionate Peel supporter, but also has an big interest in soccer.

                WA Founder of the Australian Society for Sports History, WAFL radio commentator, Perth Glory fan.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 11:28pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:28pm | ! Report

                This may interest you Rick ….



                The Daily News reported on the 19th May 1900 that British Association Football had approached Australian Rules to allow a game to be played at the WACA on September 8th 1900.

                Australian Rules rejected this request and so the round ball code used its political advantages to usurp this decision and utilised a day on the sporting calendar that had been reserved for finals.

                Soccer and its officials had political advantage, particularly for games that were to be played at the city’s premier enclosed facility. Harry Brown’s actions were defended in the Daily News, who did not disclose the conflict of interest between his roles as a member of the management of the British Association and as Secretary of the WACA.

                This would have created tension between the codes in a city where the population was increasing due to the gold rush. Australian Rules Football was a game not played by the gentry of Perth and for Brown, a servant of the British empire would be determined to give every advantage to British sports.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 11:53pm
                Rick said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

                ” the decision was based on untapped talent and demographics rather than talent” – where did you get that from? Cottesloe had being trying to join the WANFL for years, they were a strong club in the amateur comp and finally got accepted in 1926 – hardly a weak football area – so they didn’t win a flag for 13 years and then they won a hatrick of them.

                The evolvement of the competition to include other suburbs based on there already being established sides and support was common sense, it meant clubs like Claremont could survive without immediate success.

                Expanding the AFL to non aussie rules cities was always going to be problematic because once the success isn’t there, neither is the support base, this is why the creation of Claremont and GWS is nothing alike.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 1:11am
                Rick said | May 29th 2018 @ 1:11am | ! Report

                “It was formed as the amateur Cottesloe Beach Football Club in 1906, and joined the peak amateur competition, the Western Australian Football Association the following year. The club dominated the WAFA from the outset, winning premierships from 1907–1910, and in 1908 it beat WAFL club Subiaco in a challenge match”

            • May 29th 2018 @ 12:01am
              Rick said | May 29th 2018 @ 12:01am | ! Report

              Honestly Aligee you can copy and paste all you like about someones summary on what happened 100 years ago but that hasn’t given any weight to your original statement that the creation of GWS and Claremont are similar.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 12:24am
                Aligee said | May 29th 2018 @ 12:24am | ! Report

                IMO it does give some weight to it, both it seems were decisions based on both the future and the state of the game in that particular area,

                Today instead of looking at suburbs joining a city wide comp we look at cities joining a national comp and for every club that joins there are specific reasons.

                Feel free to dispute Egans claims, but you are going to need a bit more than just stating Cottesloe was a strong club 100 years ago.

                I can see the similarities it is just on different scales.

                WS was not a barren footy outpost Campbelltown at one stage in Sydney’s SW was so dominant it joined the Canberra league.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 12:33am
                Aligee said | May 29th 2018 @ 12:33am | ! Report


                This quasi-mythological view of Claremont as ineffectual weaklings might arguably be said, in part, to have a geographical basis: the suburb of Claremont is one of the most tranquil and outwardly genteel in Perth. Moreover, Claremont was, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, one of very few genuine soccer strongholds in the colony/state of Western Australia,


                Article also goes onto state that Cottesloe FC was not actually that strong and in and out of recess

              • May 29th 2018 @ 12:59am
                Aligee said | May 29th 2018 @ 12:59am | ! Report

                @ Rick, I retract my comment regarding Cottesloe being s weak club, they were not, I misread the article.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 10:59am
            clipper said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Certainly won’t get many fans if they continue to lose – Sydney’s fickle fans only like winning teams. Last year their average was ahead of 3 NRL teams. Compare that to the Storm, who have been the best NRL side over the last decades and have yet to pass one melbourne AFL team in attendance.
            Western Sydney is a very hard area for AFL – Soccer is taking over out there and the NRL will pull out all stops to make sure GWS doesn’t get a foothold.

            • May 28th 2018 @ 11:54pm
              Virgil Starkwell said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

              The NRL has its own problems, far greater than those the AFL has to contend with. They’re not pulling out all stops at all. They tend to sit back & wait for State of Origin to roll around, & pat themselves on the back when it does. The rest of the year is a ramshackle, poorly attended mess beset with off-field controversies.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 11:37am
            Christo the Daddyo said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            The Giants are a 10-20 year project. I thought that was clear right from the start?

            • May 28th 2018 @ 11:49am
              I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

              I understand that, but the AFL has had a team in Sydney for 30+ years; there’s no reason to think that another team will change people’s attitudes towards aussie rules footy, particularly when the prevailing culture is 100 years of a different sport and the new people coming to the area are from countries that are passionate about soccer.
              Even if the AFL spends $50M a year on GWS, that’s $500M over 10 years to peg back before they even break even. Ignoring the other opportunities that that investment has taken away (eg.supporting the areas that actually provide the AFL its revenue) it’s a terrible business decision.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:03pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                Were the Swans a bad business decision?

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:42pm
                I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

                The Swans are a different proposition – they already had a supporter base. But they still struggled for many years. They have fair weather supporters who turn up when they’re winning; GWS doesn’t even have those.

            • May 28th 2018 @ 12:20pm
              TheBigFish said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Got to wonder why people keep forgetting that?

              • May 28th 2018 @ 2:40pm
                I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

                People don’t forget that, they just think it’s a stupid plan.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:22pm
                John Ryan said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

                Ask again when they start loosing regularly then see if they can sustain themselves with out the AFL drip

              • Roar Guru

                May 28th 2018 @ 8:20pm
                Cat said | May 28th 2018 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

                No club in the AFL would survive without ‘the drip’. There isn’t a single club that turns more than a $10 m/yr profit. If we are just talking about the ‘uneven’ part of the AFL distributions then NM, Melbourne, St Kilda and the Bulldogs wouldn’t last two years either and they’ve been living on it for 100 years each! So that’s 6 teams gone and with only 12 left the next media deal would be half what it was. This means less money for those left and another round of teams that can’t pay their own way folding.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 7:29am
                I ate pies said | May 29th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

                Let’s get one thing straight Cat; the AFL doesn’t generate any income. The clubs generate income for the AFL. The method of distributing the income seems to confuse people into thinking the clubs are living off the AFL when the truth is the exact opposite.

              • Roar Guru

                May 29th 2018 @ 8:51am
                Paul D said | May 29th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                That’s like trying to separate taxpayers from the government. You can’t have one without the other, because the method for these clubs to earn money doesn’t exist without the AFL

                you’d have every club running around trying to stitch up it’s own TV deal, it would be an absolute shambles.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 12:44pm
            Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            What makes a team really viable is sponsorship, membership, attendance and direct merchandise sales combined with getting out in the community.

            How the Giants survive is in the back of the AFL $$$ – but plenty of clubs like that.

            If we dumped every club that survives on AFL $$ we would have about 6 clubs.

            GWS moves 3 steps forward on the field and perhaps this year 4 steps back but off field I think they continue to go forward, perhaps that is my positive projection but IMHO the club will ultimately be successful on and off the field.

            • May 28th 2018 @ 2:01pm
              I miss the force said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

              Good to have a true believer on board Aligee
              I particularly love your excuses
              How many of your pets are members ?

              • May 28th 2018 @ 2:38pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                you really do miss the force don’t you ?

                What we can say about the AFL regardless of its many mistakes IMO is that it will leave no stone unturned to grow the game, GWS unlike the force will be around for a long time.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 2:42pm
                I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

                What’s with the obsession with growing the game? It’s done fine so far without throwing good money after bad into areas that just aren’t interested.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:01pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

                i would have thought that an Australian game should be relatively strong across the whole country and if you want to play it, support it or have decent pathways then a side is needed in WS.

                Historically it is expansionist like every other sport.

                What is the difference between getting new Australians interested in the game in traditional areas and putting a new team in non traditional areas ?, ultimately they are both the same idea.

                You need to keep new generations interested in the game, that is just a fact of life for any sport and indeed any product.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:43pm
                I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

                Why should it be strong all across the country? It never has been; there’s no reason to believe that it will be in the future.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 5:28pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                Why shouldn’t it be is a better question ?.

                Why shouldn’t the biggest football league in Australia not have a team in WS ?.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 12:01am
                Josh said | May 29th 2018 @ 12:01am | ! Report

                That’s easily Aligee.

                Because no one in Western Sydney wants them.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 7:20am
                Aligee said | May 29th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

                Facts and figures say otherwise, but keep up with your fake news pushing Josh which I note is less and less these days

              • May 29th 2018 @ 12:31pm
                Josh said | May 29th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

                It’s almost as if someone is getting paid to talk up GWS….

              • May 29th 2018 @ 6:13pm
                Aligee said | May 29th 2018 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

                Far from it, i always try to deal in facts, the facts tell me the game has never been in better shape in NSW, and if it was the opposite i would say that as well.

                I made my own investigations about the state of the game

      • May 28th 2018 @ 7:33pm
        Tom said | May 28th 2018 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

        I think that the saints and North Melbourne are also irrelevant they are a drain on the games finances too, so let’s get rid of them. As for Tasmania, there are more people in The Liverpool and Campbeltown council area than the entire Tasmania. Also with all this information about Melbourne being bigger than Sydney in 10 years time, sounds like the southerner will be escaping the crowds and heading north, to the promised land of western Sydney. Prediction in 15 years the next Brownlow medalist is now playing for the Baulkham Hills Hawks.

    • May 28th 2018 @ 9:22am
      Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Every club with good lists that been up for awhile have bad seasons ( usually).

      Injury and the fact they have less depth and been trending upwards for a few seasons says that they probably will slip.

      Pretty sure they will be back, a cursory glance at Essendon says they can turn it around.

      I think it is good for the club for the spotlight to be thrust upon them

      • May 28th 2018 @ 10:10am
        Kangajets said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        I love your defence of Western Sydney afl , all the way from Western Australia.
        Every footy fan I know in nsw wants Gws to fail . We don’t need them .

        So even if they win flags , no body in nsw will care . Do you want the free tickets they sent my junior club ?

        • May 28th 2018 @ 11:04am
          Sydneysider said | May 28th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          Aligee from WA defending GWS Giants. You have to laugh.

          Come to Sydney and see how disinterested the majority of Western Sydney population are to the game of AFL.

          They would be lucky to have 5,000 genuine fans who live in Sydney, specifically Western Sydney.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 12:50pm
            Roger of Sydney said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

            What an absolute crock: I have been in Sydney for 20 years and seen multiple people who used to take the piss out of AFL now have their sons and daughters playing. It will take time but AFL is growing and NRL is not. Soccer is the big problem, but GWS will get there, they are slick run organisation and Sydney does need a second team

            • May 28th 2018 @ 1:55pm
              clipper said | May 28th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              That is the reality – Sydney is now an all code city and Soccer is making huge inroads. The problem is that, thanks to the areas that support the Swans, AFL is perceived as a middle class game in Sydney – they need to remove that perception that doesn’t exist elsewhere to try and make gains out west.

            • May 28th 2018 @ 2:46pm
              I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

              People in NSW and Qld let their kids play aussie rules because they think it’s soft and they don’t want them to get hurt playing League. Once the kids grow up they’ll turn to playing League.
              Girls playing footy is irrelevant; they will never play in the AFL and women’s footy will never be a mainstream professional game (just like every other women’s sport on earth). If anything, it will detract from the actual nursery of the AFL – boys playing footy in aussie rules states. No money, no support, having to play with girls and competing for access to facilities will lessen the standards of junior footy and turn boys away from playing. This will in turn lower the standard of the AFL.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:49pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

                I don’t buy that at all, if kids grow up playing footy they will stick with it, same as other sports.

                I have said it before and will say it again IMHO and I do keep a very close eye on grass roots community football that Australian rules football is as strong in NSW and Sydney as it has ever been in the history of the game.

                That doesn’t mean it is first or second or maybe even third in the football pecking order, but across the state in general has had very good growth.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 3:57pm
                clipper said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                Think Women’s Tennis is a ‘mainstream professional game’

              • Roar Guru

                May 28th 2018 @ 3:58pm
                Paul D said | May 28th 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                I can only go on my experience – there are quite a lot of guys in my masters team here at Aspley who took up afl only in their adult years or once hitting the magic age of 35 and masters, as it is a lesser contact more skill based game

                I know a few guys who played league and they said there is almost zero take up beyond age 30 of new players. They all play touch footy once you get beyond the age of waking up bruise free

              • May 29th 2018 @ 7:36am
                I ate pies said | May 29th 2018 @ 7:36am | ! Report

                Where do you live Aligee? Your understanding of the culture of NSW and QLD is way off the mark.
                Yes Clipper, women’s tennis is professional, but have a look at the attendances and TV audiences outside the majors compared to the men – they drop off significantly when the men aren’t playing. I should have been clearer though – I was talking about team sports. People are delusional if they think that AFLW is somehow going to save or reinvent footy areas.

              • May 29th 2018 @ 6:19pm
                Aligee said | May 29th 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

                I live in your mind by the sounds of it, i lived in NSW for quite a number of years, far longer than in WA, i have also lived in PNG. and Melbourne.

                If you play a sport as a kid, chances are when you are an adult you will still play the same sport IMO, when you are 35 you may take up tennis or touch footy or jogging or super rules etc but when you are at your peak in terms of sporting excellence you tend to play the sport that you grew up on and learnt as a kid because that is what you know and your skill set lets you.

            • Roar Guru

              May 28th 2018 @ 4:20pm
              Penster said | May 28th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

              Have to agree with you there Roger. I’ve been in Sydney 30 years and the Swans were a complete joke in the early days, took ages to be successful on and off field, now our kids are playing and the sport is growing at a rate of knots. Can’t see why Western Sydney with it’s population growth won’t do the same in time. Like any big venture, it’ll be a slow burn.
              Have been very impressed with how GWS is run as a club, from a member perspective, they’re throwing everything at it. An academy system in western Sydney would benefit it.

              • May 31st 2018 @ 1:53pm
                Post_hoc said | May 31st 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                will they pay for it themselves or beg the government for the money, like they have done for 2 stadiums and a training centre?

        • May 28th 2018 @ 12:09pm
          Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          It is actually a viable defence of any team that has a decent list but multiple injuries, even Collingwood has used it.

          I was in Sydney 2 weeks ago – and even if I wasn’t am I barred from having an opinion backed up IMHO by facts.

          Year upon year attendance, membership, membership renewals and kids playing the game on weekends in CLUB teams in WS have gone up.

          Team numbers in junior football in WS correlate to membership rises, they are 10/15% increases yearly, not sure whether it is a clear link but it certainly makes sense to me.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 12:49pm
            Kangajets said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

            West Sydney is rugby league and soccer crazy .
            Penrith are top of nrl
            West tigers are vibrant
            Parramatta get their stadium back next year
            Canterbury have a massive following
            Even south Sydney are massive in Sydney’s west
            Blacktown and Sydney United npl etc have bigger support then Gws

            My footy club is 4 hours away in Northern nsw and the giants are emailing us free tickets. That desperate for sure .

            The swans are the only New South Wales team , that anyone cares about ,
            and only expats like myself support the kangas or Magpies etc

            • May 28th 2018 @ 1:04pm
              Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

              Perhaps you can point me to all the posts that dispute that WS is not the epicentre or self anointed epicentre of RL and Soccer in the world in one codes case and Australia’s the other.

              GWS is slowing grinding out an existence, I don’t see that changing.

              They will not get smaller, so you can huff and puff all you like about free tickets and no one cares etc etc.

              The AFL has themselves said 20 years to become viable etc, although I imagine hoping quicker but realistically realising what is and what is not achievable.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 2:47pm
                I ate pies said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                GWS isn’t grinding out an existence though; it lives solely off handouts from income generated by other clubs. Socialists would love GWS; it’s the Tasmania of the AFL.

              • May 28th 2018 @ 6:14pm
                Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                If you investigate the politics of anything you can guarantee it will be unsavoury or messy, sport and the AFL is no different.

                Personally as someone who lived a fairly long time in Canberra and surrounds i think GWS was actually overdue.

                there was a 2018 interview between Mike Sheahan and retired CEO mike fItzpatrick who stated that the new clubs had already payed for themselves via the TV rights.

                Now perhaps he was full of B/S and just said it, but perhaps he was fair dinkum and the new clubs have payed for themselves, you have any figures to dispute his claims ?.

            • May 28th 2018 @ 1:45pm
              Rob said | May 28th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

              The then bears also had to give away tickets when they were based on the Gold Coast. Robert Walls was famously offered a free ticket when he coached them! Fast forward 15 years and they were selling out the GABBA most weeks due to sustained success. They dont need a hell of a lot of the population on side to be successful and they will get there eventually.

            • Roar Guru

              May 28th 2018 @ 4:15pm
              hairy fat man said | May 28th 2018 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

              West Sydney is rugby league and soccer crazy


              • May 29th 2018 @ 9:21pm
                Josh said | May 29th 2018 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                Of course it is, that’s why AFL will never be accepted.

          • May 28th 2018 @ 4:52pm
            Sydneysider said | May 28th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

            “I was in Sydney 2 weeks ago”

            Nice, keep believing the propaganda fed to you by head office.

            Sydney Swans have a solid fan base, GWS do not and will struggle to attract for the next 10 years minimum.

            • Roar Guru

              May 28th 2018 @ 5:04pm
              Cat said | May 28th 2018 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

              Tell us something we don’t know. AFL knew full well going in that GWS and GC were 20-30 year projects. The only ones who are kidding themselves are you people who think it somehow it would happen overnight.

            • May 28th 2018 @ 5:57pm
              Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

              I was in Cottesloe today, Exmouth last week and go to Melbourne a few times a year, Sydney less so and around once a year the GC.

              Pretty similar to millions of Australians i imagine who have family scattered around the country and can if they so desire get a decent grip on local issues or even sport.

              How about you repeat to me exactly what propaganda i have bought.?.

              On my own volition i have gone into websites such as sporting pulse which keep ladders, team numbers, club numbers in some cases for up to 10 years, as such you have a historic guide which give you a great indicator on how the game is going from year to year.

              In WS junior footballs case they have ladders and fixtures going back 8 seasons.

              In 2012 there were only 67 teams from under 10’s to under 17’s

              In 2017 – 155
              in 2018 – 180 from under 9’s to under 17’s

              If we compare that to the Swans Sydney zone ……Eastern, inner Western, Northern Beach Suburbs

              2012 – 210 teams
              2017 — 366 teams
              2018 — 438 teams.

              So in effect WS is now approaching team numbers that the Swans zone had around a decade ago and now regularly throws up high draft picks and very good academy selections.

              If we look at GWS being a 20 year project then those figures make sense.

              • May 31st 2018 @ 2:11pm
                Post_hoc said | May 31st 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

                You are dreaming jum0ped into that sporting pulse Under 10 South there are 6 clubs, stretching from Wollondilly, which is Picton and Camden to Bankstown. That is a massive area of Sydney 6 Clubs in a population of in the order of 800,000 people. 6 Clubs.

                Under 10 west Grey 7 clubs, stretching from Blue Mountains to Kellyville in the North West and Parramatta in the East a population of 600,000, 11 Clubs

                Sorry but that is no presence at all.

                Football (Soccer) on the other hand has 22 Clubs just in the Hills Area population of 166,000 22 Clubs in one of the smallest areas of Western Sydney.

                Aligee you don’t have a clue

              • May 31st 2018 @ 2:27pm
                Aligee said | May 31st 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

                As per usual, you are missing the point, in 2012 there were 67 teams, today in the same league there are around 180.

                By any measure that is impressive growth, in 5 years time it will again be bigger, i am not comparing it to the behemoth that WS soccer is or even RL.

                This year or late last GWS drafted its first WS academy member, as per the Swans zone in future years there will be more.

                It will never be as big as soccer or RL in WS, no one said it would be.

              • May 31st 2018 @ 3:51pm
                Post_hoc said | May 31st 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                I think you are better off measuring Clubs. The sad fact remains despite the millions of dollars and the complete free kicks that AFL have gotten they are basically invisible in Western Sydney

              • May 31st 2018 @ 4:08pm
                Aligee said | May 31st 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

                Why should I measure clubs, clubs can have one team or 50.

                What I do agree with is the relative infrequency out west between clubs, as more clubs entice more kids who then don’t have to travel as far.

                But as far as growth goes out west there is still plenty to come and available within the clubs that do exist.

    • May 28th 2018 @ 9:49am
      Tom said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      I think for the Giants this is important. Stay strong with the coach. All good teams this is what happens to them. Leon is a good people person and a good coach. Stick with him. Sack a few assistants though that does wonders.

      Their form is down. In 5 mins on the weekend they lost the clearance and the quick ball led the defence scrambling. Result Essendon 3 goals and game over. The mids are going ok, but I agree it’s the forwards that are a real problem. They just don’t take their chances, Himmelberg is too unreliable. They had plenty of chances in the third quarter to put a lead on but just blew it.

      Also I think that they need Lobb to impose himself. Mummy protected the mids. There was no pressure in the centre bounce in the weekend when the game was in the balance. Rory needs to do that. He is a good player needs more continuity.

      • May 28th 2018 @ 1:28pm
        Gecko said | May 28th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Ryan I think you’re right to point out GWS forward deficiencies. These are partly due to having forwards who haven’t spent much time together and partly due to having a dinosaur (Patton) who leaves them with only 5 mobile forwards. But they’re also partly because of GWS delivery into the forward line.

        GWS relied too much on Scully, Whitfield and Kelly as their link players but are now having to rely on Shiels, Hopper, Ward and Coniglio (who are fine hand-ballers but can rarely break into space and then deliver well by foot). I think the change in midfield personnel is why they’re not running the ball through the middle so often.

        And Tom’s right about Lobb needing to show more presence. Even if he can’t bullock like Mumford, he can still hit packs harder and take more marks around the ground.

        • May 28th 2018 @ 2:48pm
          Aligee said | May 28th 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

          I don’t think we can expect much more from Lobb, built like a basketballer is a fine contested mark but when someone like Mumford is in the team plays better.

          He is not a physical presence, when he plays well looks like a world beater but needs a bit of a jump st the ball

    • May 28th 2018 @ 10:14am
      Pope Paul VII said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      I went for a look. A bit turgid as most games are with the ultra defence of today but also pretty spicy with Dev Smith playing against his old club.

      Essendon played pretty well. Great pressure.

      GWS meanwhile had plenty of opportunity but butchered almost everything coming into the 50. Toblerone Greene is clearly missed.

      A race against time to see if they get enough back to make September.