Craig Bolton. Photo: Simon Alekna
As verbal barbs fly between Greater Western Sydney and Sydney, former All-Australian Craig Bolton has urged more regular games between them in Canberra so the AFL cashes in on the fan base both clubs have in the ACT.
The Giants might only be entering their third AFL season, but their rivalry with the Swans has already reached spiteful proportions.
As free agency was born in the AFL last year, the Swans swooped to sign Lance Franklin on a $10 million, nine-year deal when everyone expected him to join the Giants.
Giants chief executive David Matthews labelled the mega-deal ''silly'' and ''absurd'' as GWS proceeded to pinch Swans premiership ruckman Shane Mumford from their rivals.
Early last year, Matthews suggested Sydney had done a poor job promoting and growing the game in the Harbour City.
And the Swans didn't take too kindly to the Giants' suggestion to call their derby clashes the ''Battle of the Bridge'', with former Swans midfielder Jude Bolton calling it a ''crock''.
Now Greater Western Sydney wants the AFL to scrap Sydney's controversial cost-of-living allowance, but let the Giants keep theirs.
The teams will play each other in Canberra for the first time in the NAB Challenge on Thursday.
''I'd like to see a regular Swans-Giants fixture in Canberra, I think it'd be great,'' said former Swans premiership player Bolton, the newly appointed AFL NSW/ACT boss.
''They've both got strong supporter bases, but there's obvious scheduling difficulties around doing that.
''This Thursday night's a fantastic opportunity to see the two sides that are probably most supported by Canberrans play against each other and if we can do that on a more regular basis - it might not be every year, but do it here as much as we can. Obviously a regular season game would be fantastic.''
Bolton thinks it won't be long before the rivalry between the two Sydney clubs becomes more than just talk, predicting the Giants would ''cause a few upsets'' this season.
The Giants have only won one game against Sydney - a 24-point victory in a shortened NAB Cup game last year. Every other encounter has been one-sided with margins of 79 points, 63, 94, 30 and 129 in favour of the Swans.
''With the list the Giants have and the success they have already in growing these young players, they'll be a top-four side in the next few years,'' Bolton said.