Greater Western Sydney are hoping to secure a match against Richmond in Canberra next season as they push to bring the AFL’s biggest clubs to the nation’s capital.
Giants CEO David Matthews on Monday met with ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to discuss the 2016 draw and which three premiership games they’ll play at Star Track Oval as part of their 10-year agreement.
Saturday’s crunch clash with Geelong will mark their biggest fixture in the ACT, with a top-eight berth on the line and almost all tickets sold.
The club played Gold Coast and Melbourne in Canberra earlier this year, and the Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide in 2014.
Matthews said he won’t be seeking to host the Suns next year after a disappointing turnout for their dominant 66-point win in round four, with his sights set on bigger fish.
“When we play Gold Coast it’s a bit like the Year 11s playing the Year 12s – there’s a natural rivalry but they obviously don’t have the supporter base,” the chief executive said.
“We’d love to see a club like Richmond, who’s heavily supported, who is successful in building on the field.
“Next year it’ll be our turn to have them back into a home fixture and I’m sure that they’d support an opportunity to come to Canberra and develop their fanbase as well.”
Matthews said the key to getting big clubs to the ACT was big crowds, and hoped this weekend’s match would go some way to proving that.
Barr said it was important for the Giants and ACT Government to have a joint approach with the AFL in securing future fixtures.
“We can’t obviously see every team every year, but as we look over the next four or five years, it’s definitely worth charting a range of matches that see teams who haven’t played in Canberra at all or for quite a long time rolling out against the Giants at Manuka,” he said.
“What’s great about the Giants trajectory, though, is that people want to see them play as much now as they want to see other teams come out of Melbourne or the others states.”