If the kids of Swans’ legend Brett Kirk are any indication, interest in the Sydney AFL derby is soaring to new levels.
Former Sydney captain and current Swans’ forward coach Kirk never played in a Sydney derby, retiring less than two years before the first game in 2012.
However, his name is inextricably linked to the fixture, as the best on ground receives the Brett Kirk Medal.
“Whilst it’s quite an honour it’s probably the furthest thing from my mind leading into the game,” Kirk told AAP on Friday, on the eve of the SCG clash between the Swans and Giants.
Kirk can only recall presenting the medal on one or two occasions.
After retiring following the 2010 season, he travelled overseas, worked as a consultant on leadership and as a TV commentator before spending three years as an assistant at Fremantle.
NSW-born Kirk has to look no further than his own home to realise the Sydney AFL rivalry is gaining traction in the congested harbour City sporting marketplace.
“My kids going to school are talking to other kids about the game this weekend, sort of having a bet that the loser do push ups,” Kirk said.
“The kids are talking about it at school which is great. When I was playing, at schools it was only just touching the surface but there’s a lot of kids playing now.”
Most talk about the Sydney forwards under Kirk’s charge focuses on Lance Franklin.
However, Kirk is delighted at the emergence of some young offsiders for `Buddy’ and the big early season spread of Swans goalkickers.
“What we’ve seen in this start to the season is we’ve got some young guys come into the forward line and really provided a spark and enthusiasm and passion and excitement,” Kirk said.
“Tom Papley and George Hewett and Daniel Robinson has spent a bit of time down there and those guys have really set the scene early, with Isaac Heeney.
Papley kicked 5.3 across his first two games, giving Sydney a specialist small forward, something they have lacked in recent times.