The Tasmanian AFL bid now has real momentum behind it with 48,140 supporters now signed up on the ‘United We Stand’ website.
GWS boss David Matthews has hailed their team culture as the best of any playing group in the AFL.
The Giants chief executive was nursing a hoarse voice after GWS staged a massive upset win over Collingwood on Saturday to reach their first grand final.
It has been a big week for Matthews, who fumed at the AFL over the Toby Greene suspension and failed appeal.
“We’ve made a lot of good decisions, but we’ve had some adversity and it’s built some resilience,” he said.
“The bond between our players is stronger than any other team in the competition, because they’ve had to do it together, they’ve had to become close friends.
“At times there’s a mentality that gets developed of a very, very tight bond behind closed doors and that’s what you’ve seen tonight.
“I don’t think any club has really had this situation before and in a short space of time we’ve become a genuine footy club – that’s what we want people to see.”
Matthews added the furore around Greene’s suspension did not distract the rest of the team.
“It’s probably one of the benefits of playing football in Sydney, you can just get on with the job at hand,” he said.
“They’ve prepared themselves very well and they were very strong on the fact that we needed to challenge (the Greene ban) a couple of times, they knew that, they understood why.
“They were supportive of that and in the end, the result galvanised the group.”
There was nearly another massive controversy, with Josh Thomas’ last-quarter goal allowed to stand despite replays appearing to show it was touched off the boot.
“You won’t believe this, but I was in the lift, I was on the way down to the race,” Matthews said.
“I got told about it … there are swings and roundabouts in every game.
“We got the rub of the green today – probably Toby Greene.”
Saturday’s grand final against Richmond will have a strong family element for Matthews, given his brother is head of communications at the Tigers.
“I just hope Simon Matthews goes home in tears,” he said.