GWS gives way to a global giant
THE AFL has bowed to the pulling power of soccer powerhouse Manchester United, rescheduling a Greater Western Sydney match to avoid a head-to-head clash.
The English Premier League giant will visit Australia for the first time in 14 years to play an exhibition match against an A-League all-stars side at ANZ Stadium on July 20.
The Giants, wooden spooners in their first season this year, were scheduled to host Essendon at neighbouring Skoda Stadium on the same night. But that match has been shifted to a 2.10pm timeslot at the Giants' request.
A St Kilda-Port Adelaide match at Etihad Stadium on the same day has moved from 2.10pm to 7.40pm.
GWS will try to piggy-back on Manchester United's popularity, planning a special ticket offer to encourage those attending the Manchester match to come early and also watch the AFL game.
''To have a sporting club of Manchester United's profile come to Sydney is a good outcome and we want to work with the New South Wales government and Destination NSW to allow sports fans to attend both if they want,'' Giants chief executive David Matthews said.
The clash with the Bombers will have special significance for Giants coach Kevin Sheedy, as it will be his last time coaching against the club he led to four premierships.
The Giants have invited United manager Alex Ferguson to visit their club after Sheedy recently visited Manchester United.