From an observer’s perspective, the evolution of GWS over the previous seven years reveals a membership battling a plethora of points.
These points aren’t behaviour primarily based however extra about making an attempt to deal with a raft of circumstances evolving after the membership was established. As an outsider trying in, I don’t suppose the AFL adequately thought-about the problems across the largesse it bestowed on GWS and the complexities related to managing them successfully.
On this regard, the AFL ought to be firmly within the crosshairs. I’ll borrow from Paul Keating, and have a dig on the AFL for giving us GWS, “the obsession we needed to have.” The AFL’s growth philosophy for the western suburbs of Sydney smacked of impatience and an unabashed want to reap the benefits of what it noticed, amongst different issues a doubtlessly untapped market.
I’ll lower the AFL some slack right here, the proposal to ascertain GWS was backed by the opposite membership presidents, so it wasn’t with out help.
The beneficiant, however vital draft concessions have been all the time going to be a listing supervisor’s nightmare and participant motion at GWS has been a revolving door. Aside from the participant administration points, the opposite draw back is the influence it’s had on GWS’ repute as a vacation spot membership.
The quantity of expertise pillaged from GWS throughout its brief historical past is mind-blowing, however hardly stunning given the bounty of expertise acquired within the early days.
One other growing drawback for GWS is their skilled and ageing marquee gamers. They must develop and retain their very own clutch of skilled gamers as they not have the luxurious of having the ability to throw round cash and draft picks with the abandon of the previous to enhance their listing. Participant retention is arguably their primary precedence.
As talked about above, the difficulty round GWS as a vacation spot membership is critical. Even when GWS has the forex to barter the acquisition of key gamers from different golf equipment, it’s unlikely to be seen as a horny vacation spot if their success on the sphere deteriorates. This similar difficulty may even influence participant retention from inside its current listing.
There’s little doubt that the AFL’s benevolence and dedication to the accelerated success of the Giants has set them up for failure within the medium to long run. Since its inception in 2012, GWS actually has existed in a bubble.
The draft concessions and different inducements gave them an excellent leg up within the brief time period however there have been apparent issues with the AFL’s strategy they usually have been criticised by numerous AFL luminaries for being too set off glad of their strategy to establishing GWS.
If it was attainable for any membership to have an excessive amount of of an excellent factor too rapidly, then GWS is about as shut because it will get. How effectively GWS have managed these circumstances will little doubt be the topic of a lot dialogue if, or ought to I say when, the Giants’ fortunes begin to deteriorate.
One would hope that GWS are strategically ready for a seamless transition to a extra “regular” working setting loved by the opposite 16 golf equipment (Gold Coast excluded) now that they’re on equal footing, but it surely appears unlikely.
Lastly, residence city help for the GWS has been underwhelming however hardly stunning in its childhood. The GWS crew has loved some success over the previous three years and membership has nearly doubled since 2015, however continues to be solely across the 25,000 mark forming a trifecta within the backside three with Brisbane and Gold Coast.
Common residence crowd attendances have remained nearly static over the identical interval with a median of round 12,000. Whether or not these points influence on its on-field efficiency is questionable, but it surely does influence the marketability of the membership as a complete, and that’s an ongoing concern for the AFL.
At finest, I give GWS one other two to 3 years as a aggressive outfit earlier than the worm turns and its on-field success begins to wane. The AFL might want to preserve its powder dry and actively contemplate threat methods to keep away from one other growth membership disaster.
Nobody needs to see such a situation, however the circumstances as outlined above makes this end result extra possible than unlikely.