FoTony Squires is massive Swans fan but he was persuaded to don Giants colours ahead of Saturday’s AFL Grand Final. Picture: Tim Pascoe
FoTony Squires is massive Swans fan but he was persuaded to don Giants colours ahead of Saturday’s AFL Grand Final. Picture: Tim Pascoe

Even Swans fans are getting behind Giants

Tony Squires makes the clear point. He's got nothing against GWS. He just doesn't want to start a family feud by cheering for them.

Squires is one of the thousands of Sydney-siders with divided loyalties this week, not quite sure how they should feel.

The master quipster from Fox Sport's The Back Page is an absolutely die-hard Sydney Swans fan who when others raise problems with Lance Franklin's nine-year contract, will argue the only thing wrong with it is it's too short.

Giants Godfather Kevin Sheedy retorted at a grand final lunch on Wednesday that, "A Swan is a duck with a stretched neck."

 

Tony Squires is massive Swans fan but he was persuaded to don Giants colours ahead of Saturday’s AFL Grand Final. Picture: Tim Pascoe
Tony Squires is massive Swans fan but he was persuaded to don Giants colours ahead of Saturday’s AFL Grand Final. Picture: Tim Pascoe

Swans chairman Andrew Pridham expects some Swans fans would think it's terrific and others horrific that GWS are heading to the MCG. But he has nothing but admiration for an "unbelievable achievement."

"I wish them all the luck and they've worked hard to get there and it's incredibly hard to get there and even harder to win it. So I wish them all the best," said Pridham, who sent counterpart Tony Shepherd a well-wishing text.

"It's a long process. If you win it you'll see a real spike in support but if you don't keep succeeding, ultimately, in NSW in particular, you'll head south. It never ends. Every season is a new season, every week is a new week.

"But NSW is big enough for two clubs."

The conundrum of a Sydney AFL team not wearing red and white representing the city in the grand final is stretching Swans fans to their absolute limit.

 

 

The Giants’ inaugural coach, Kevin Sheedy, swings the club scarf at the GWS Grand Final luncheon in Sydney on Wednesday. Picture. Phil Hillyard
The Giants’ inaugural coach, Kevin Sheedy, swings the club scarf at the GWS Grand Final luncheon in Sydney on Wednesday. Picture. Phil Hillyard

"To be honest … my father-in-law is a massive Richmond fan, so I tend to jump on that bandwagon in the unlikely event of the Swans not being in the big games," says Squires, who has reached for the 'happy wife, happy life' excuse.

"There's certainly pride amongst Swans fans about not being just localised to eastern Sydney or the northern beaches - the Swans are for all of Sydney.

"Plenty of Swans fans feel that they're moving in on our footprint so there are those that would probably not wish them all the best.

"But no matter how much trouble you are, there's something in a great story and this week they're a pretty, pretty damn good story."

Sometimes grand finals are about who you want to win the least.

Former Swans No.1 ticket holder Adam Spencer says he can only hope "football is the winner."

 

Test cricketer and Giants fan Mitchell Starc at Wednesday’s lunch. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Test cricketer and Giants fan Mitchell Starc at Wednesday’s lunch. Picture. Phil Hillyard

For rusted-on Swans fans still having trouble swallowing the directive that they've got to support the second Sydney team, Giants fan Mark Costello has some advice.

"They did a poll in Melbourne of neutral supporters and 67 per cent of neutral supporters are following the Giants. If 67 per cent of Melbourne can get behind the Sydney team then the Swannies have to jump on us as well," Costello said.

Squires does not subscribe to the theory that Sydney ain't big enough for the two of us.

But is he threatened by the Giants' sudden rise?

 

 

Swans chairman Andrew Pridham (left) sent GWS counterpart Tony Shepherd a congratulatory text. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
Swans chairman Andrew Pridham (left) sent GWS counterpart Tony Shepherd a congratulatory text. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

"I've been out to beautiful Giants Stadium and look it's really easy to get four or five good seats," says Squires, tongue in cheek. "I don't have that fear. There's room for them to grow."

Spencer says the struggle to support GWS shows that the Sydney rivalry is "genuine. It's real now."

The final word goes to the Swans most iconic supporter, 90-year-old club-song leader Kenny Williams, who followed the team to Sydney from South Melbourne.

"I've been asked that question all week and I've said to them, you've got to get behind the Giants because they're a Sydney side."

And there you have it.

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