Sydney Swans legend Paul Kelly says the club's grand final appearance will help the code make headway in the battle to capture hearts and minds in the city's west.
Kelly, the 1995 Brownlow Medal winner, was in Canberra last night as the guest of honour at the GWS Giants' Brownlow dinner.
He said the Swans' grand final match up against the Hawks at the MCG on Saturday afternoon was good news for the Giants too, as both teams battle for support in rugby league territory.
"I'm sure the awareness will be bigger [in western Sydney] than what it would've been if the Swannies weren't in the grand final . . . people out that way would be watching the Swannies and find an interest in it and go out and watch a few Giants games, being from out that way," he said.
It's no surprise he tipped Sydney to beat Hawthorn and claim its second premiership in seven years.
"Being a Swans person I'm going to tip the Swans, obviously it's from the heart, but I think we can beat 'em," the former Sydney captain said.
"If we can be within striking distance, in front or not too far behind at three quarter time, I just feel if we can get enough scoreboard pressure on 'em, we might be able to beat 'em."
While his allegiances are clearly in the Swans camp, Kelly still found plenty of time to watch the Giants this season.
The man widely known as 'Captain Courageous' was impressed by the Giants' style of play.
"The boys that they've got, they're in and out, they were exciting to watch, you didn't mind watching the Giants, because you knew they were going to have a crack, but they just ran out of petrol," he said.
"They're a group of young boys that just aren't conditioned to playing the full game out or the full season . . . you've just got to get those miles in your legs and get the weight on the frames and the strength and all that and it takes time.
"They're obviously a really talented group, so if they can keep all the talent together and get a few seasons under their belt, you'd think that they're going to be a pretty exciting outfit in the next few years."
Kelly says he is now "on the mend" after he was housebound for months this year as he recovered from a motorbike accident which left him "in a pretty bad way" with a broken hip and pelvis.