Well what a victory that was for GWS last Saturday night against Richmond. Not only was the win over the 2017 Premiers one of the most significant on-field performances this season for the Giants, but it was played in front of 14,456 fans at Spotless stadium.
Big deal some may say. But the crowd represented the largest paid attendance for GWS outside of clashes with cross-town rivals Sydney.
Giants Chief Executive Dave Matthews was obviously delighted with the attendance.
“For a club that is six and a half years old to have built a membership base of almost 25,000 and get a crowd of 14,500, up against a lot of content in the Sydney market and the Olympic Park precinct, is really good progress.We’re going pretty well.”
Growing the GWS fan-base
GWS have had to deal with plenty of naysayers since their AFL arrival with the perception the club would struggle to win fans over in the Greater Western Sydney market. An area that typically has had minimal Aussie Rules interaction with Rugby and Soccer the perceived dominant codes.
The AFL always stressed it would take time for the expansion club to make a significant impact and there is still a long way to go. The club can be proud. However that general interest in the club does appear to be trending in the right direction.
Certainly significant investment by the AFL at grassroots level has helped. As well as fielding a team in the AFLW competition.
Last year NSW/ACT Chairman Sam Graham was bullish in the work being done at junior level and in the general community.
“We’ve been pushing pretty hard. Our game’s in the majority of schools now.”
What will assist with building crowds is on-field performance. The Giants have played in consecutive Preliminary Finals and currently sit in seventh position.
The current membership numbers at GWS sit at 24,401. The highest since the club entered the national competition with plans to upgrade capacity at Spotless Stadium.
Rome was not built in a day and it’s easy to forget the Giants had a membership base of 10,241 in their first year.
On-field, GWS finally seem to finally have some momentum in 2018. And the Giants hierarchy will be hoping some of that momentum translates to improved attendance moving forward.