Greater Western Sydney Giants chairman suggests earlier start to the AFL season.
Greater Western Sydney boss David Matthews has suggested the AFL begin its regular season a fortnight earlier in a driect bid to combat rugby league.
Matthews said the favourable dates for Easter next year make season 2014 the prefect time for a preemptive strike for the hearts and minds of sports fans.
“Our preference would be to start the season at Skoda Stadium,” Matthews said.
“You would love to get started well before Easter because it can be a very disruptive time.
“There’s a real case for an early start in NSW and Queensland.
“We look forward to the day we get a sell-out at Skoda Stadium.”
It is understandable for the Giants wanting to get a head-start on the competition as they enter their second year in the top grade, as they continue to battle the western suburbs-based NRL sides along with the stunning success of the Wanderers in the A-League.
In other Giants news, the moniker of the newest club in the AFL is beginning to be more than apt, with a punishing pre-season weights program seeing the current squad adding on a combined 123.4 kilograms of muscle mass.
Leading the charge are James Stewart (9kg), Tom Scully (5kg), Sam Frost (5kg) and Jeremy Cameron (3.5kg) with the entire squad on a three-year plan to add even more bulk to their frames.
The action by the club has come about after some of the younger members of the squad found out the hard way how tough playing at AFL level every week can be.
Director of sports science John Quinn said, given young average age of the squad some growing is to be expected, but said the Giants staff merely wanted to align their growth with key areas for improvement noted at the end of 2012.
“They’re all second year players so we’ve had a massive jump,” Quinn told News.com.au.
“We’ve had to increase the size of our players. It’s been a three-year project. We’ve put on average about 5kg across our team list in terms of their mass gained. As a coach I don’t want more than 6kg.
“There’s nothing more frustrating for fans than to see your players getting pushed off the ball. And look it’s still going to happen to a certain extent this year because they’re still kids.
“They’re one year-older than the kids last year. But you want to see improvement – and you’re going to see how much hard work our boys have put in.
“If you had to headline what has been the biggest difference in training from this year to last with the obvious one being that we have a new senior assistant coach in Leon Cameron. The other big difference has been the running program the club’s embraced, based on the playing list that we’ve got.”
The Giants kick off their AFL season this weekend when they clash with the Sydney Swans in a match that is being dubbed the ‘Battle of the Bridge’.