Kevin Sheedy said his GWS Giants were still learning how to win after the Brisbane Lions pipped them from behind in their NAB Cup clash at Wagga Wagga on Saturday.
The greater problem facing Sheedy is: who out west cares if they win or lose?
The task of capturing interest —let alone hearts and minds — was tough enough already.
The improbable success of the Western Sydney Wanderers — whose instant success no-one predicted — and the attendant media coverage, has made it more than that much harder.
It’s the equivalent of being 10 goals behind with 10 minutes left to play.
That’s not Sheedy’s fault. No-one could have spruiked harder than the super-salesman.
And the young Giants are playing their part after a promising debut season in the AFL last year.
The Lions snuck home 1.12.19 (100) to 2.12.7 (97) in Wagga Wagga.
Callan Ward, Jonathan Giles (two goals) and Lachie Whitfield starred for the Giants, who fell agonisingly short of another big scalp following last week’s triumph over the Sydney Swans and narrow loss to Carlton.
Co-captain Ward, who missed round one with a minor knee injury, returned with a bang, finishing with 20 possessions and six marks.
Whitfield, the top pick in last year’s draft, showed he is ready for senior football, tallying 17 touches, nine marks and four tackles in front of 7,068 fans at Robertson Oval.
There was concern when Jonathon Patton was helped from the field by two trainers late in the first half, seemingly favouring his right knee, but the word quickly came back it was only a corked quad for the big GWS key forward.
The Giants held a one-point lead at three quarter-time.
They face Essendon in Canberra on Friday night.