Old enemies, new season: AFL returns this weekend

Callum Mills of the Swans and Josh Kelly of the Giants. Photo: Matt King/AFL Photos.
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There’s nothing better than a good old fashioned local derby, but this weekend’s is set to be even more special between the GWS Giants and Sydney Swans.

For the first time since June 2021, footy is returning to Sydney with the old foes doing battle at a very familiar stomping ground.

Accor Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park will be the scene for this Saturday evening’s season opener between GWS and Sydney.
10 years ago, the very first game between the two clubs was played there and a decade on both teams will return to the famous pitch, not only chasing their first win of the season, but important bragging rights as well.

“It’s going to be huge,” Giants co-captain Josh Kelly said.

“New South Wales and Sydney, in general, is really looking forward to it, as are we. It’s an exciting way to start the year.”

GWS have the wood over the Swans in recent years, with the pair most recently going head-to-head in last year’s Finals Series. The Giants prevailed by just one point in the Elimination Final, proving it’s anyone’s game when these two sides lock horns.

“I think the rivalry is getting bigger and bigger. Both teams naturally brought into it and, like I said, the people of New South Wales, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney really feel that now as well,” Kelly said.

“Year on year it grows, and the games are always tight. It’s always a physical brand of footy, which I think is good for everyone to watch and to be a part of.

“I think it’s just going to keep going, there’s no doubt it’s the biggest it’s ever been and we as players love playing in it and love the atmosphere that it brings.”

A strong crowd is expected for tomorrow’s Round 1 clash, with footy starved fans set to storm through the gates in their droves.

No matter who wins between the Giants and Swans on Saturday, footy being back in New South Wales is the real winner.

“It’s amazing being back in New South Wales,” Kelly said.

“We love our fans here, it feels like forever since we’ve played in front of  them. Hopefully they are looking forward to it as much as we are. We are expecting to have a big crowd, seeing a lot of Orange out there.”

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Weekender's Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.

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