Home > AFL, Sport > TEAM ACT?


Team GWS, the much-hyped new AFL team for Western Sydney, have announced that they will be playing three home games in the home and away season in Canberra from 2012, as well as one pre-season game. This amounts to approximately one quarter of home games for Western Sydney’s team being played elsewhere, in a ten-year agreement with the ACT Government. This has been the result of a grassroots campaign called “ACT4GWS” – is the early 2000’s and we’re all still using ‘SMS language’?

Team GWS has been billed as “a new team in your backyard” for the “fourteen unique communities” in Western Sydney. Promotional activities thus far have been focused on community participation from the residents of Western Sydney, typified by the “Name Your Team” campaign implemented at the beginning of 2010. There have been hints of an ACT connection along the way, but all tangible efforts have told Western Sydney that this is their team.

To quote the Team GWS ‘about us’:

“Team GWS is based on common values and collective pride.”

“Team GWS will harness the unique diversity and energy of Greater Western Sydney, into a truly representative and cohesive team, that we can all support.”

Now, I would have to say that either Team GWS aren’t really all that interested in Western Sydney, or the people of Canberra have an unhealthy infatuation with all things Western Sydney; you tell me?

A further indignation is the inclusion of an ACT-specific uniform for the Canberra-hosted games. Prior to the people of Western Sydney having any real hint as to the team’s visual identity in their community, the people of Canberra are greeted with the promise of having their own uniform.

I myself was looking forward to having an AFL game in Sydney virtually every weekend between the Swans and Western Sydney, an idealistic situation now significantly compromised by the move to “embrace the nation’s capital”.

Western Sydney wants AFL football, which is why the AFL and Team GWS are here. They have promised to provide Western Sydney with their own team. A basic principle of marketing is that you can’t hope to cover all bases; all people cannot be your target market. Yet, seemingly, Team GWS and the AFL are looking to cover all bases, prior to even delivering to their core market in Western Sydney.

Team GWS will announce its AFL identity on November 16. I wouldn’t mind seeing the odds on the “GWS Capitals” to win.


Edit: November 12 – Team GWS CEO Dale Holmes released a statement on the club’s website re-affirming their commitment to Greater Western Sydney, though I personally remain unsure of this venture and it’s effect on the club, their community and the ACT. Only time will tell…

Categories: AFL, Sport Tags: , , ,
  1. Westcoast
    November 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I am not a resident of either the ACT or the GWS Zone but it seems from what I observe and read that the two major areas of support will be –
    The Hills district of Sydney which will have good access to the Showgrounds and now the ACT which was originally Aussie Rules heartland prior to the Rugby Codes arrival and seemingly dominance.
    The rest of the GWS area is a blank canvas waiting to be filled in perhaps.

  2. Peter
    November 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    The GWS effort has been put together by the AFL uniquely as an attempt to bolster TV ratings in NSW which have not kicked on with the presence of the Swans for 20+ years. Such a project is not cheap, and the AFL are scrambling to secure public money to underwrite it, seen with these deals with the NSW and now ACT governments.

    To believe that the AFL actually care about supporters, grass roots footy or even the game itself rather than just using GWS as a vehicule to grow the AFL as a business is nieve. Sorry to say it. It is a travesty that sport is now so business orientated.

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