You deserve a short post. You’ve been reading a lot lately.
He has dubbed the “rivalry” between his club, the GWS Giants, and the Sydney Swans, ‘The Battle of the Bridge’ and people are not too happy about it – the Swans in particular. There’s an article on the AFL website saying that Josh Kennedy is bothered by it because he doesn’t think the Sydney Swans only appeal to Eastern Sydney, as the rivalry name suggests. They’ve been working for years to be a Sydney institution and the name seems to be diminishing their hard work. I’m not sure that was Kevin Sheedy’s intention, but that is what it seems like.
Indeed, the clubs are located on opposite sides of town and there is a bridge that separates them but to me, it seems as though GWS thinks they have exclusive rights to Western Sydney. And they don’t. They don’t get to have those fans just because it’s where they’re located – the Sydney Swans can encroach on their territory, just like they can encroach on the Swan’s territory. This is slightly unfair since the Swans have a 20 year jump on GWS, who is new and can use all the help it can get (I don’t say that in a rude way, I say it because it’s fact) but those are the facts.
Furthermore, this whole thing was not thought out properly. Have you seen the advertisements for the game? The original image said ‘Battle of the Bridge’ – and yet, there is no bridge. The image of the bridge seems to be key in this marketing ploy and it wasn’t even present. They have since updated it (likely due to the flack they received, especially on Twitter) but it’s still a rather egregious oversight.
My last note is this… we are talking about the premiership club playing the ones who won the wooden spoon. Is it really a ‘battle’ yet? Yes, David and Goliath is one of my favourite stories, but I’m not sure this qualifies as a battle… it’ll probably be more of a trampling (although I hope not, because we all know I don’t like to see Jeremy Cameron lose).
I get that Sheeds is a quick talker (he’s so sassy – I love that) and optimizes marketing like no other coach in the league, but maybe he should have waited on this one… and tried not to irk the Swans. I’ll stop now because the last thing I want is an open letter to me on the GWS website.
(Also, if you Google ‘Battle of the Bridge’ you discover a fight that took place between the Arab Muslims and the Persians in 634. Not so sure the clubs want that as their namesake… There is also a New Zealand Rugby function by that name, as well as a golf tournament. We can come up with something more original, can’t we?)
UPDATE: Just a few hours after I wrote this post, Sheeds wrote an open letter to Swans fans (FYI: I am both a Swans and a Giants fan – I own both club’s hats!) where he explicitly says he thinks rivalries can be manufactured. Sorry, sir. I do not agree. You can’t honestly think that the Swans/Giants “rivalry” is as good as Man U v Man City (not yet, at least), can you? And props to Sheeds for his sassy comment about Tippett – we all know I’ve never liked him (even though I sometimes have to act unbiased). Yuck.