North Melbourne takes on the Bulldogs at Manuka Oval in 2004, back when the Kangaroos called Canberra 'home'. Photo: Getty Images
AFL legend Kevin Sheedy has urged Canberra footy fans to vent their anger at North Melbourne for turning its back on the national capital.
The Kangaroos are sure to receive a hostile reception when they return to Manuka Oval for next year's round 20 clash with the GWS Giants.
The Giants arrived in Canberra on Monday for a two-day community camp, visiting schools and making a number of public appearances as they continue to build their relationship with the region.
Former GWS Giants coach Kevin Sheedy. Photo: Anthony Johnson
They are rebuilding the damage done by the Kangaroos, who spent nine years playing regular games in Canberra before walking away in 2006.
Sheedy coached the Giants in their first two seasons and was influential in building the decade-long partnership between the expansion club and the ACT.
''They [the Kangaroos] are the club that let you down, so you should come to boo them and barrack for us,'' Sheedy said.
''We're the ones who have said we're coming and we're staying forever.
''Canberra holds a very important position for our club and there's a lot of good fans yearning for that.''
The Giants have played four games in Canberra in each season year since their inception in 2012.
Next year's schedule kicks off with a blockbuster NAB Challenge encounter with the Sydney Swans on February 20, followed by premiership fixtures against the Western Bulldogs (round four), Port Adelaide (round seven) and the Kangaroos.
While they are making huge strides in attracting fans to games in Canberra, there is still a lack of young players graduating to the AFL.
Not one player from Canberra was selected in either the AFL draft or the rookie draft.
''What that says is that we've got a lot of work to do,'' Sheedy said. ''We've got a couple of boys in the pipeline in the academies.''
Sheedy has an ambassadorial role with the Giants after ending his glittering coaching career at the end of last season.
He has handed the reins to Leon Cameron, who has an improving squad at his disposal.
Swans ruckman Shane Mumford, dual Geelong premiership defender Josh Hunt and former Collingwood star Heath Shaw bring a wealth of experience alongside All-Australian forward Jeremy Cameron and exciting No.1 draft pick Tom Boyd.
Sheedy predicted the Giants would be capable of winning up to six games next year, up from just the one victory last season, as they continue their long-term development.
''All three [Mumford, Shaw and Hunt] have played in a number of grand finals and we've also brought in young Jed Lamb from the Swans, so we're adding a lot of experience,'' Sheedy said.
''It's important they can lead the way, along with Callan [Ward], Phil Davis and Tom Scully. All of the sudden you're getting a nucleus, and that'll be very important in various parts of the ground.''