Giants keen for Cairns game
KEVIN Sheedy's GWS Giants could be heading to Cairns if the champion coach gets his way.
In his efforts to grow the game Sheedy has taken AFL to Europe and Asia, and most recently established the Giants in rugby league-mad western Sydney.
And the coach, who was a special guest at Monday night’s Crathern Medal dinner, sees Cairns as a vital part of that
He said the Giants’ NAB Cup side was a realistic chance to host the Gold Coast Suns at Cazalys.
That was after telling those at the dinner that he rated the Far North facility the best ground in Australia.
"There’ll be a couple of times we’re coming up here in the next few years," he said.
"A game between the two newest clubs in the AFL would be a great clash for Cairns to host; if not next year in the NAB Cup, maybe the year after."
Richmond will play Gold Coast at Cazalys for the third and final time next year.
The Tigers have confirmed they will not be renewing that contract, meaning the league will need to find another club willing to call Cairns a second home.
"It’s very important to keep bringing AFL and NAB Cup games up here and ensure people see the standard at the elite level up here," Sheedy said.
"That Richmond game next year is going to be an enormous game; they won’t want to lose three in a row up here."
Sheedy, who against Port Adelaide this year was involved in his 1000th AFL game, has an affinity with Cairns stretching back to an Essendon v Brisbane preseason clash in the early 90s.
"We played the shortest fourth quarter in history at Cazalys that day, because all I could see was this massive storm rolling in and I just didn’t want anybody to die that day," he recalled.
"But I’ve always visited and I’ve never questioned the facilities, you could play tennis out there, it’s that good. And particularly now with the lighting upgrade, you can play games out of the heat."
He tipped Sydney Swans to win the AFL flag this year, something he said would only benefit the Giants in terms of developing AFL in NSW.
"Footy exists north of the Murray River and honestly there could be nothing better in terms of development of the game if the Swans were to win it," he said.
Sheedy, who is holidaying
with his wife in the Far North, accepted the offer to speak at the AFL Cairns function and also took the chance to grill the grand final captains with his trademark dry
At one stage he told Manunda coach Clint Gribble to call him at quarter time if the scoreline was not in the Hawks’ favour.
Sheedy career highlights
l Premiership player: Richmond 1969, 1973, 1974
l Premiership coach: Essendon 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000
l Jack Dyer Medal: 1976
l Richmond captain: 1978
l All-Australian coach: 1993, 2000
l Football Hall of Fame inductee
l Richmond Team of the Century
l Inaugural GWS coach
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Northern exposure: GWS coach Kevin Sheedy is looking to bring the Giants to Cairns for regular matches. Picture: MARK EVANS