Toby Greene’s controversial one-week ban had the AFL community up in arms this week as he missed the Giants’ preliminary final against Collingwood.
GWS chief executive Dave Matthews is taking no delight in 16th-placed Sydney’s slide down the AFL ladder, also suggesting it’s too early to rule a line through the Swans’ season.
Sydney’s hopes of a 10th consecutive finals berth are in dire straits after a 41-point loss to the Giants last Saturday.
John Longmire’s team, who face Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday, are 1-5 for the year while GWS are nestled in the top four and widely regarded as premiership contenders.
Pundits have started to pick apart the Swans but Matthews offered nothing but supportive words.
“I’d never underestimate them,” Matthews said.
“They’ve been in a position a bit like this before and they charged home (to finals after an 0-6 start to 2017).
“They’ve got one of the best players in the game (Lance Franklin) and who knows whether his presence gets their season back up and going.
“They’ve defied gravity and continued to compete in finals for such a long period of time, we have enormous respect for that.”
Matthews noted the Swans, like GWS, have suffered because of the AFL’s decision to scrap the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
Matthews suggested Saturday’s SCG derby crowd of 29,780 was below expectations but it’d be wrong to read too much into the number.
“They’re one of the biggest sporting clubs in Australia … sometimes there’s a difference between support and attendance,” he said.
“We noticed when we had a bit of a flat patch two years ago that it affects your attendance, but I don’t think people stop supporting a club … they’ve got a supporter base that is rusted on and embedded.
“They’ve had 36 years in Sydney to develop that, they’ve still got a lot of fans in Melbourne. I don’t know that that’s necessarily the issue that would be concerning anyone just at the moment.”