New ‘boys’ making a Giant statement
DURING the pre-season, yours truly was tipping the AFL's first all-West Australian grand final.
And the first to feature two teams from the same state outside of Victoria.
We might just see an all-New South Wales premiership-decider before that ... as early as this year.
Fremantle and West Coast finished one and two on the ladder last season, but right now the Eagles can't win away from home and the Dockers simply can't win.
In fact, the Dockers have endured the biggest fall from grace - the first club to win the minor premiership and then lose the first six games the following season.
They've gone from $9 in most betting markets to win this year's flag to be paying $7 to record the least amount of wins. And this Saturday night they go in as $3.80 rank outsiders when hosting the GWS Giants ($1.26).
The AFL world has turned upside down.
Two and a half years ago Fremantle was within a few kicks of finally winning its first premiership, while GWS collected its second successive wooden spoon.
The Giants look like adding the cup to their trophy cabinet long before the Dockers do.
While Sydney remains a $6 joint-favourite for the flag with Hawthorn and West Coast, the Giants, into $13, look as serious a threat as any after outclassing both Geelong and now Hawthorn.
They've now booted 435 points in the past three weeks while conceding just 227, and topped their own record for highest score in a match twice after monstering the more seasoned - albeit weary - triple reigning premiers.
Whether they yet have the stamina - they didn't last season after a strong start - remains to be seen, but we all know GWS was built to win premierships.
Former football manager Graeme 'Gubby' Allen predicted it would come by 2015. "That's the plan," he said in 2012 - and he may not have been too far out.
While rivals' worst fears - the Giants becoming a powerhouse - is being realised, it doesn't look like they'll have to worry about a GWS v Gold Coast grand final any time soon though.
While Giants coach Leon Cameron said the result against the Hawks showed his "boys are now men", their start-up counterparts experienced a Benjamin Button moment - men turning back into boys - as they suffered a 120-point flogging at the hands of the Cats.
Coming four years after the then fledgling club went down by 150 in Geelong, coach Rodney Eade described the performance as "appalling" and "embarrassing".
Take nothing away from the Cats though. And who knows, the 'G might yet host two Victorian clubs in that 'first Saturday in October' with twin brothers at the helm (Chris Scott's Geelong and Brad Scott's North Melbourne).
Now that would be a first.