From this weekend, the honeymoon period is over for the GWS Giants. With a host of new faces and young talent to burn it’s time for the AFL’s easybeats to finally get serious.
However, the task to get the year off to a good start won’t be all that simple as the Giants face the man that turned them down, Buddy Franklin, and the rest of his Sydney Swans teammates in the traditional Battle of the Bridge season opener.
The Giants enter Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Swans at Spotless Stadium (formerly Skoda Stadium) as heavy underdogs but promising pre-season trial form – including a huge 68 point win over St Kilda a fortnight ago as well as narrow loss to Adelaide last Friday – will give them plenty of confidence to compete against the 2012 premiers.
Giants Chief Executive David Matthews said fans of both sides should get out and pack the Sydney Olympic Park venue this Saturday afternoon, considering it’s the first time the round one fixture has been played away from the rather large ANZ Stadium.
“This is one of the biggest AFL games in Sydney this year and we are aiming for a sell out. The Sydney Derbies are going to become big events regardless of ladder position,” he said.
“Key forwards provide great entertainment and we have All-Australian full forward in Jeremy Cameron, whilst AFL fans in Sydney will get to see Lance Franklin up close – just two of the reasons why this is a game you have to be at.”
Along with their recent number one draft pick in Tom Boyd, former Swans premiership-winning ruckman Shane Mumford is also set to play his first game for the Giants against his old side, while other star recruit Heath Shaw will go head to head with brother, Rhyce.
“The Swans have been in Sydney for more than 30 years and are a strong, established club that has achieved tremendous success on and off the field, and we want to continue to collaborate with them off-field to grow the game and on-field to grow the rivalry,” Matthews said.
The GWS Giants battle the Sydney Swans at Spotless Stadium this Saturday, March 15 at 4.40pm.