We are not going to be a doormat, says Sheedy
Pin-up Giant … a leaner Israel Folau trains at Blacktown. Photo: Steve Christo
Like Bayern Munich's domination of their cross-town whipping boys 1860 Munich, most expect the AFL's Sydney rivalry to be mercilessly one-sided - at least in the initial stages. Naturally, Kevin Sheedy disagrees.
The Greater Western Sydney coach draws from his amusing collection of analogies to provide some hope for his young Giants in tonight's debut against the impressive Swans. ''The Americans thought they were going to spank the Vietnamese once,'' he says. ''But they didn't.''
The Viet Cong's triumph over the Americans was partly the consequence of an elaborate series of tunnels in which they hid from the enemy. However, unless the ANZ Stadium surface has deteriorated rapidly in the past few weeks, it remains uncertain how even old warhorse Sheedy and his experienced lieutenant Mark Williams could plan a similar ambush.
Particularly given the Swans will be eager to mark their territory. That the Giants have hogged the media spotlight during the off-season, at the cost of the Swans, has not gone unnoticed at the SCG. So Sheedy is well aware the Swans will be keen to put his newly unwrapped team back in its box. ''I think they will be,'' says Sheedy, when asked if the Swans will be heavily motivated to humiliate his team. ''But I don't think they are going to. We are not here to take a beating. We are not going to be a doormat.''
How the relationship between GWS and the Swans develops will be intriguing. There is mutual benefit for the clubs to co-operate in promotion and development, a relationship you would think mitigates against real acrimony. Yet, Sheedy insists, a fierce on-field rivalry will develop. ''There is no love between any club in any area in Melbourne,'' he says. ''Why should there be in Sydney? I will be looking to the Swans the way I used to look at Collingwood and Carlton. Why shouldn't I?''
Given some bookies have set tonight's line at 99.5 points, what does Sheedy think constitutes a par performance by his callow outfit? ''A respectable result would be a kick either way,'' he says. What is a realistic result? ''I don't know,'' he says. ''See how we go. I will be eager to see how we get up to play a side that has missed the finals maybe once in 10 years.''