Sydney set for its biggest AFL day

At last.

That’s the feeling across players, coaches, officials, fans and media heading into Saturday’s AFL qualifying final Sydney derby between the Swans and Giants at ANZ Stadium.

The hype and anticipation before an AFL game in the harbour city has hit new levels and the sense is all that’s left now is to play the game.

The first all-Sydney AFL finals derby has attracted unprecedented media coverage in the city and expectations have only been heightened by the bye week.

“The buildup has been huge in Sydney, which we would have never seen before,” Swans’ co-captain and midfielder Kieren Jack said.

“We’re happy to be a part of that and build it up, but now it’s almost like the buildup and rivalry is done.”

A crowd of around 60,000, the biggest in Sydney for at least nine years, will witness the final Australian rules game at ANZ Stadium, which is going to be redeveloped into a rectangular venue.

The significance of the first all-Sydney finals derby has escaped no one, with the Giants ascension from easybeats to contenders confirmed by their top four finish.

“This will definitely be the biggest crowd for an all Sydney game, for a GWS game, so it’s going to be an awesome experience,” Giants All Australian forward Toby Greene told AAP.

The fact that the game is in western Sydney means the underdog Giants should enjoy more support than if it was played at the SCG, where their fans don’t seem to congregate in big numbers.

Both the Giants and minor premiership-winning Swans are among the best stoppage and clearance teams in the competition.

The battle for supremacy in the crucial inside skirmishes and the extra intensity of finals should ensure a bone-rattling, body-bruising contest, especially early on.

It should ultimately decide the outcome of the most significant of the 11 Sydney derbies, eight of which have been won by the Swans.

Although GWS have only six players with finals experience, compared to 15 for Sydney, the Giants have just one first-year player in their side compared to five for Sydney.

Whatever the outcome, Sydney is guaranteed of hosting a final for the next two weekends, so the hype and hoopla there will continue to the preliminary final stage and then beyond, if at least one of its two teams makes it through to the grand final in Melbourne.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!