Kevin Sheedy says there's room for all football codes to thrive in Canberra. Photo: Graham Tidy
Ex-Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy has called for the club and Canberra's NRL and Super Rugby teams to unite in their battle for bums on seats, adamant that nobody wins in a turf war.
Raiders and Giants games clash in Canberra on Saturday, with the Raiders to host Newcastle on Saturday from 3pm, and the Giants play the Western Bulldogs at Manuka Oval at 4.40pm.
Giants board member Sheedy, who has bought three-game memberships with the Raiders and Brumbies, insisted there was room for all three codes in the capital.
The Raiders and Brumbies have both drawn disappointing home crowds early this season, with scheduling and poor weather factors at times.
Sheedy hopes the three teams will settle on a plan of attack that benefits everyone.
"One day I hope that does happen,'' he said. "We're still trying to scratch each other to see whether we can gain an opportunity to get 'one-upmanship'.
"We can stay the way we are forever if people want to run it that way and everybody's working hard over their own patch of land, but in the major capital of Australia you want great events.''
The Giants are in the midst of a rich long-term deal with the ACT government to play three home-and-away fixtures, plus a pre-season game, in Canberra.
The Raiders have often accused them of being a ''fly-in fly out'' team, while Brumbies interim chief executive officer Doug Edwards said last week: "Personally, I don't think they're a fully fledged Canberra team but I'm sure they've got a big, solid supporter base down here."
Sheedy said: "I think personally it's better to work with each other, than against each other when you have such a small population in Canberra,
"Instead of a let's set 'em down and knock 'em out war when we're doing fixtures, it's better to see if we can avoid taking fans away from each other.''
Sheedy floated the possibility of clubs striking a package deal, making it cheaper for fans to attend both games.
"When you have multiple events on, it's how you package things,'' he said.
"There's two games on the weekend very close to each other, but if you missed the first quarter of the AFL you'd still get 90 minutes [of entertainment].
"For us it's about membership. Barrackers yell, and members support.''
Asked if there was room in Canberra for the Giants given the low crowds at Brumbies and Raiders games, Sheedy said: "We're like any other business, as soon as Caltex opens up Shell is going to open up just down the road.
"[But] If everyone wants to go out to war, I don't think anyone wins with that.''