We're just days away from one of the most historic nights for AFL in Sydney.
The Swans, who have done an unbelievable job since coming up from South Melbourne, finally have a cross town rival to play.
Saturday night will be a showpiece game for the AFL. It's a standalone match and the support from the footballing public and the AFL in Sydney has been outstanding.
The Swans have been here before, they're the bigger brother and should win the game on Saturday night. But the one thing you can't take away from the GWS is their young and talented list.
Everyone will need to have patience, as we did last years with the Suns, around the immediate on-field performance. But anyone who knows the game understands the quality of players to come out of the draft.
The draft from 2001 saw stars like Luke Hodge, Chris Judd, Luke Ball, Jimmy Bartel and Nic Del Santo emerge. Now GWS have all these sorts of players, at the same club at the same time, and you can only imagine the type of talent they're fostering. It's certainly an exciting time to be an AFL fan.
The passing of Jim Stynes has cast a cloud over the launch of the season but Jim Stynes is one of those people whose lives will be celebrated to an extraordinary level and fittingly has been provided with a state funeral.
I don't think there's been a person in football who has had more of an influence on the game at so many levels. He was the heartbeat of the Melbourne Football Club as a player, and then as a President of the club. The work he did outside of football was ground-breaking and he was an inspiration, a leader, and a mentor.
For an Irish man to win a Brownlow medal having come into a game that was totally foreign to him and become the greatest player for that particular year is just an unbelievable achievement.
I don't think there's been anyone who has contributed to so many different spheres of the industry in the past 20 years like Jim Stynes has. I think everyone has shown their respect in the past couple of days and will continue to do so for a long time.
My top three predictions. Obviously being a Geelong person I do, hand-on-heart, think that they will win the Premiership this year.
The Cats have had a remarkable five years having won three grand finals and, I'm a bit of a romantic when it comes to football, the only thing Geelong haven't done is win back to back - so it's almost written in the stars.
The captains were all surveyed recently and the majortiy tipped Hawthorn to win the Premiership this year. I think they'll be in the grand final and I think Collingwood will finish third.
Fremantle will be the big bolter and I think we're going to start to see a return of the non-Victorian clubs - Fremantle, Adelaide, Sydney and West Coast to play in the top eight.
Down at the very bottom will be the two new clubs the Suns and the GWS. Given their development they will likely spend another year down at the foot of the table, but it'll only be a couple of years before they're rocket up to the top. It's not all dark and gloomy for the Suns and the Giants it's probably just a sign of things to come.
GWS GIANTS v Sydney Swans match being on Seven Saturday 6.30pm in Melb and Adel, 3.30pm in Perth, Saturday 6.30pm 7mate in Syd and 5.30pm Bris.
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