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GWS Giants at the centre of AFL's Canberra Demons divide

13 April 2018 7:57 AM
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The Demons will play five home games at Manuka Oval this season before shifting to the redeveloped Phillip Oval complex in July, which is far less expensive for the club to play at.

AFL Canberra boss Steve Mahar maintains the region's governing body is working closely with the Giants to make sure the capital's needs are met when GWS chief executive David Matthews meets with the ACT government and AFL officials to extend the partnership.

"The Canberra Demons struggle for sponsorship and it’s not only the Giants getting the government money they get, they then get the next level of corporate sponsorship in the town," Quade said.

"There’s very little that filters down to local AFL or a regional side like the Demons. It’s okay and it’s great, but what does actually filter down to the local level? We’ve got six teams in our local competition, two of those are really struggling.

"With that much money going to GWS, we’ve got youth girls, youth women, needing better facilities at grounds for change rooms.

"We play four games here a year, is the AFL going to put any money into making sure Manuka is upgraded? It’s not all bad but the biggest concern I’ve got is if there is a massive deal done to play AFL here for the next 10 years and that deal is sorted out, there won’t be a local voice at the table.

"You can say the AFL probably think about us but how much of the dollars drifts down to local AFL to your Tuggeranong’s and Gungahlin’s, your youth girls?

"You can say games promote it and that’s great but you’re still depending on chook raffles or small sponsors to keep the show going."

GWS are willing to shift finals games to Canberra and Matthews says the club's deal with the ACT government has become much more than a handful of AFL games in the capital every year.

Manuka Oval has been bordering on a full house for most Giants games in recent years and the club steers a host of development programs in the region, while also playing AFLW and Super Netball games in Canberra.

Mahar believes there is no genuine animosity between local clubs and the Giants, adamant the benefits of the deal far outweigh the costs.

"The bigger picture is bringing elite teams to Canberra and the benefits of having elite players out at clubs and helping grassroots participation as well as those pathways," Mahar said.


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