Port Adelaide president David Koch. Photo: Pat Scala
Port Adelaide chairman and TV celebrity David Koch, who has helped turn the Power's fortunes around in two years, has praised Greater Western Sydney's start but believes they face a long, hard road ahead.
He was confident the young Giants were on the right path, having seen first hand the struggles their cross-town rivals Sydney Swans went through trying to establish themselves.
Koch's father Dean played for the Port Adelaide Magpies before the family moved to Sydney, where his dad was on the marketing committee for the Swans.
He said having a traditional football city helped with Port's rise, something the Giants do not have as they battle with rugby league and soccer in Sydney's west.
"When [Richard] Colless took over the Swans [chairmanship] my dad was on his marketing committee for the first six or seven years," Koch said.
"I remember back to those times 20 years ago when the Swans were trying to break in to Sydney when they were getting 3000 at a game, exactly the same thing that's happening for GWS.
"The Swans have built such a powerful football club and program that it's been a benchmark for years and years and GWS have got to go through what the Swans went through early."
But he was confident the foundations were there, both on and off the field, for the Giants to follow that same path.
Port's resurgence can be traced back to the appointment of their almost holy trinity - Koch, coach Ken Hinkley and chief executive Keith Thomas.
Koch's high profile as Sunrise co-host has been one of the crucial cogs that has helped the club pass 52,000 members for the first time, relocate to Adelaide Oval and begin a financial recovery that is following a similar path to their top-of-the-table team.
But he didn't think the Giants needed a similar high profile leader.
He said in GWS chairman Tony Shepherd, chief executive David Matthews, coach Leon Cameron, master spruiker Kevin Sheedy and Koch's former colleague Mel Doyle they had a fab five to help lead them to become strong both on and off the field.
Koch also said the forward line of Jeremy Cameron, Jon Patton and Tom Boyd would be an iconic one in a couple of years.
Saturday's clash between the Giants and Port at Manuka Oval will bring together two former rivals for the Power coaching job, with Port interviewing both Cameron and Hinkley.
While Hinkley obviously got the job, Koch still held Cameron in high regard.
"When we were looking for a new coach [in 2012] Leon and Ken Hinkley were the two standouts for us of the coaches available," he said.
"They've put in the right foundations for success, it will come for GWS and you're starting to see it now."
Koch will speak at the Giants' pre-game function at Manuka on Saturday.
He said the Giants' move into the nation's capital was great for the game and wanted it to become as strong as Hawthorn's partnership with Launceston.
Obviously, Koch was happy with Port's season so far, but he said the playing group was under no illusions there was a long way to go.
Last season showed them that - winning the first five games before losing the next five.
"To be in a position to defend top spot is a real challenge for our guys, which I've got to say they're excited about and looking forward to," Koch said.
"The maturity of this team 12 months on is just extraordinary.
"This young bunch of blokes have got a dream and are committed to it."