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GWS Giants want Sydney derby at Manuka Oval

Greater Western Sydney players Devon Smith and Dylan Addison at Manuka Oval on Friday.

Greater Western Sydney players Devon Smith and Dylan Addison at Manuka Oval on Friday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Greater Western Sydney has challenged the Sydney Swans to bring the Battle of the Bridge to Canberra during the AFL season proper.

As the senior and more established club, the Giants think it is the Swans' responsibility to help grow the game and play their home clash against GWS at Manuka Oval.

That would enable the Giants to continue to build their following by holding their home tie against their cross-town rivals at Blacktown.

The two teams will face each other for the first time in Canberra in a pre-season NAB Challenge game at Manuka on Thursday.

Swans co-captain Kieren Jack said earlier in the week he backed turning the Sydney derby into a Battle of the Lake in future seasons and Giants forward Dylan Addison agreed it would be great for growing the game in the region.

But with GWS looking to establish itself in Sydney's west as well, he felt the Swans were better placed to bring their home derby to the nation's capital.

The Giants are into their third season of a 10-year, $26 million deal to play one pre-season and three home-and-away games in Canberra each year.

''I think it'd be great, the more footy that's played in Canberra the better,'' Addison said.

''Obviously we've got the agreement to play four games a year down here … but if they were to sell their home game to play a game in Canberra that would be great.

''It would be great for Canberra football, but we think it's important we play our local derby game, the Battle of the Bridge, up in Sydney and build our base in Sydney.

''As a young and establishing club it's important to play those important derby games at our home ground.''

Addison and emerging midfielder Devon Smith were in Canberra on Friday before next week's game.

Smith is one of a number of Giants hoping their third AFL season will be when they start to put their mark on the competition.

He's managed 38 games in his first two seasons and, while he hasn't set any goals, he'd love to play his 50th game this year.

''I wouldn't have dreamt about that, I still pinch myself and still feel like a little boy,'' he said of possibly reaching the milestone.

''But even the other day I felt like I'd got a lot older in the intra-club match [on Wednesday], a third-year player and having guys like [No.2 draft pick] Josh Kelly asking questions about structures it makes you feel a lot more confident in what you're doing.

''Hopefully us third-year players can drive a lot of improvement.''

THURSDAY

NAB Challenge: GWS Giants v Sydney Swans, at Manuka Oval, 7.10pm. Live on Fox Footy. Tickets from Ticketek.

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