Giants thrill Demetriou

Giant steps: Kevin Sheedy and Andrew Demetriou on Monday. Photo: Ben Rushton
Giant steps: Kevin Sheedy and Andrew Demetriou on Monday. Photo: Ben Rushton

Greater Western Sydney may have been beaten to silverware by another football club in the region but AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has given the newest team in the competition a glowing report card.

Western Sydney Wanderers' achievement in winning the Premiers' Plate in the A-League and ability to draw better-than-expected crowds has not gone unnoticed at AFL headquarters but Demetriou is nonetheless impressed by the Giants' progress.

Demetriou also said GWS, winless after two rounds, had shown they will become "an AFL force to be reckoned with" in the coming years once their host of young stars mature.

The league has assessed the Giants, who have received $220 million in AFL funding, along with fellow newcomers Gold Coast, on off-field areas such as memberships, sponsorship, corporate hospitality, club culture and their performance on the field.

Demetriou said he was "absolutely thrilled" by the Giants, which has broken through the 11,000-mark in memberships and increased their on-field competitiveness in their second year.

"We always knew it's going to be hard to win football games but this club is not just about winning games but building a community and building a supporter base and connecting with the community in the greater west of Sydney and Canberra," Demetriou said. "On all the measurements we measure we are really thrilled and we're thrilled because this is a really hard competition and they have won the respect of the other 17 clubs very early on in the piece.

"They're going to win a lot of football games at some point this club and I'll be there supporting them and jumping on their bandwagon when they do."

Work has begun on the Giants' new base in Sydney's Olympic precinct, which was launched on Monday by Demetriou and federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy.

The $11.6 million facility, funded by federal and NSW governments, the AFL and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, will feature an AFL-sized oval and a high-performance training and administration centre. It gives the club's players an all-year-round access to a training venue, which the Giants did not have at Blacktown.

This story Giants thrill Demetriou first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.