May 15, 2012 by dixwah
If a contrived team of unrecognisable players wins their first game outside of their ambiguous geographical heartland, does anyone within their imposed fan catchment notice?
No doubt about it, the GWS Giants did a great job to chalk up their first AFL win over fellow project team Gold Coast Suns.
The historic victory came at a cost, however, as playing the match in Canberra meant the massive fan base the AFL is attempting to infiltrate did not get the opportunity to associate with ‘their team’ in its finest moment so far.
The AFL has undeniably given the Giants a massive leg-up. Their huge investment in playing and support staff, the underwriting of infrastructure at Homebush Bay and Blacktown and a share in the duopoly on the game’s best talent shows the AFL want to make inroads out west.
Yet the same decision makers dropped a handball by not having the Giants’ stadium ready for their biggest chance to develop and expand their core fan base.
The perimeters and demographics of Greater Western Sydney are shaky to begin with. As a constructed region within a sprawling city, encompassing smaller cities, GWS was always up against it in getting people on board the western express.
Here comes the broken record. The fact the team is establishing its home ground at Homebush, on the eastern point of their boundary, does nothing to suggest a commitment to the region.
Even if this makes them inaccessible for most of the ‘community’ they claim to represent, not having the new stadium ready for the team’s most winnable game was another step in the wrong direction. Worse than Blacktown, Canberra was effectively no man’s land.
GWS is kicking goals on the field. However the league’s passive approach to giving the key population a chance to see their team reeks of an arrogant belief in their product, almost an ‘if we build it, they will come’ mentality. Gaining a share of the already flooded Sydney sporting marketplace needs more.