Eagles fly, Giants follow

MARK PARTON would like a dollar for every time he’s been criticised for wearing his GWS Giants polo shirt.

I’M originally a West Australian and I’ve been passionate about the West Coast Eagles since they came into the AFL competition in 1987.

There are those who believe that I’ve “sold out” by publicly backing the Giants, this new side with a Canberra connection. They’re wrong.

This isn’t about tribal rivalry. This is about the sport that I consider to be the greatest ball game on the planet and the fact that it should be played regularly here in the national capital.

Most Canberra-based Giants supporters are flirting with GWS as their “bit on the side”. These people aren’t new to the game. They haven’t spent the last 25 years just waiting patiently for a Canberra team. They’ve followed their Collingwoods, Geelongs and Lions for years – and most of them aren’t leaving their first love, just yet.

The question is, will they ever put the Giants first?

After being there to watch the Giants historic first win at Manuka on May 12, I think the answer is: “Yes they will.”

Their maiden victory was memorable for so many reasons. The game was in the balance till the last 10 minutes. These young boys in orange had to dig deep and fight to keep the Gold Coast Suns out and then create their own scoring opportunities.

It was the sort of game that won fans. It instilled the spirit of the Giants much deeper into my heart – and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I spoke to coach Kevin Sheedy soon after the game and I asked him if he’d ever before heard a Giants chant echoing around any venue.

“That was the first time,” he smiled triumphantly. “It was very special.”

I spoke to some of the players several hours after the game. Their relief and their triumphant joy was contagious. As I watched the players sing their new club song very badly on a makeshift stage at Eastlake Football Club, I wondered if I’d ever give my beloved West Coast Eagles away one day and just be a Giants man.

I wouldn’t rule it out.

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