The 10-year, $23 million partnership between the ACT government and the GWS Giants ends this weekend, fittingly in the AFL team's final game of the season.
So beyond the ACT logo on their guernsey, what has Canberra footy gained from the deal, and what are some improvements that can be made in a new agreement set to be announced?
GWS' overall record for games played at Manuka Oval is not the best, with a 13-16 win-loss record in the capital. Canberra has been a notable stop for the Giants since the club's inception, though.
The Giants claimed their very first AFL win in 2012 at Manuka Oval. That 27-point victory over the Gold Coast Suns was one of only two victories in their inaugural season.
Six-straight losses since August 2019 tarnished a previously strong run in Canberra, with a nine-game undefeated streak between 2016-2018 a highlight.
In attendance figures, the Giants have successfully attracted AFL fans from the region, averaging nearly 10,500 per Canberra game over the decade.
This weekend against Fremantle the Giants will aim to end a disappointing 2022 season on a high at Manuka Oval, eyeing their seventh win of the year, building momentum for a much-improved 2023.
One of the most valuable features of the Giants calling Canberra their second home has been the Giants Academy. In the 10-year deal, the AFL promised the Giants would establish and maintain the academy to fast-track the elite development of local talent.
Officially launched in 2011 in partnership with AFL NSW/ACT, the program has provided an excellent opportunity to hundreds of players and coaches from the region to pursue the next level of Aussie rules footy.
The Giants' new AFLW coach Cam Bernasconi is a former first-grade Canberra talent, and a two-year stint as head coach at the academy prepared him to take the reins of the women's team.
AFL Canberra is littered with Giants academy players, many of whom are identified as 12-year-olds and put on development pathways. It's seen local products like Tom Green, Harry Himmelberg, Jack Steele and Josh Bruce excel in the AFL and in AFLW, top Giants pick in the 2022 draft Zarlie Goldsworthy is the latest of a very strong pipeline of female Canberra players.
Clubs in Canberra had mixed feedback on the 10-year agreement between GWS and the ACT government.
Weighing up the last deal's advantages and disadvantages, the clubs agreed the Giants playing multiple games in Canberra and representing the capital in addition to greater western Sydney, had helped grow the profile of the game here.
However, another common sentiment that emerged was that more of any future multi-million-dollar investments needed to be more visibly beneficial to grassroots Canberra footy.
One club official said it was a "pretty strong feeling across Canberra football" that the last agreement did not return on the investment to the extent it could have.
Some clubs also expressed concerns the Giants' talent identification needed reassessing, accusing GWS scouts of overlooking talented youngsters within clubs that were not at the top of the table in the Canberra's first-grade competition.
Many club representatives called for more ongoing consultation with the Giants. Another senior club official called for greater engagement and criticised "tokenistic gestures" in the region, without establishing genuine relationships with the clubs.
"It does feel a bit like they turn up, they play, they leave," the official said.
"They're sort of fulfilling an obligation and that's about it. Something needs to be done to improve that engagement. I know there's been frustrations around how much they give the community. There's generally a sense that we don't get a lot of investment back from them."
With the Giants able to pluck talent from the Canberra region and first-grade competition to their academy, the lack of communication between GWS and the clubs was a sore point, despite the clubs' enthusiasm for youngsters to have access to elite development opportunities.
"When the AFL decided to give all development pathways to GWS to manage, the AFL stepped out and it left us behind," one Canberra club president said.
"Communication is non-existent. The way they've structured their talent programs, it impacts the clubs from a competition perspective - it dilutes our talent base."
READ MORE AFL NEWS:
This weekend was one of the greater examples of some of the frustrations felt by AFL Canberra clubs, with the junior and reserve grade grand finals and first-grade preliminary finals clashing with the Giants' visit to Manuka Oval.
"It's the first finals we've had in a while [due to the pandemic]," one club official said.
"We make efforts to not have matches on at the same time as them so our community can go to those games. We rearrange our weekends for the Giants, but there doesn't seem to be an appreciation from them that we actually sacrifice for them."
We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.