As the Sydney Swans prepare for Sydney Derby XX, club legends Kieren Jack & Jarrad McVeigh have reflected on their experiences against cross-town rivals, the GWS Giants.
With 16 derby appearances to his name, the inaugural 2012 Sydney Derby remains a significant moment in Jack’s playing career.
“There was a team of rookies from the Giants and we were a really established team in 2012," Jack said.
"We clearly went out there to intimidate them, bully and show our authority, and what was really impressive from the Giants was that a lot of their kids you could tell they would be really good players, they stood up to what we were giving them.”
McVeigh admits he was initially shocked at just how competitive the Giants were in their first hit out in their very first encounter.
“Having a new team come into the competition, we didn’t want to give it to them easy. Those initial games, even though we won, they were really physical," McVeigh said.
"They’re extremely skilful and they have a lot of great talent, the thing I noticed the most though is how hard they were at the footy."
Whilst it was a positive step in the growth of AFL in NSW, former captain Kieren Jack reveals he was initially sceptical around the idea to develop a second club.
“When there was talk about a second Sydney team it was like okay, yes we support that but we’d been in Sydney for 30 years and we weren’t about to give up our stranglehold of the work we’d done on the field, off the field, at schools, at clinics, at junior clubs," Jack said.
"It was critical that they set up well, and credit to them they did. If you look at the characters out there on the field, they’re highly passionate, highly competitive.”
After a few Derby losses in 2018 and 2019, before the Swans got one back in 2020, Jack believes the Swans are heading in positive direction – evident through their unbeaten start to the 2021 season.
“The Swans are now going through their own regeneration, it can happen really quickly and that’s exciting for footy. We’re almost playing little brother at the moment on the field," Jack said.
"I think we’ll always be big brother off the field in terms of commercial, members and what we can create, but certainly the last couple of years we’ve probably played little brother to the Giants and now you can see a sense that we’re starting to bridge the gap.
"There’s this wave of optimism at the Swans, they’re playing an incredible brand of footy and the young kids have brought this sense of enthusiasm in that I think we probably needed."
McVeigh is cautiously optimistic ahead of the clash, following the loss of two of the clubs star players to injury.
“You want to get one over them, especially this week it’s critical for their season and hugely important for our season," McVeigh said.
"You know we lost Heeney and Rampe which is unfortunate for us, but they’ve lost a couple. A lot of good talented young players who go for the ball, it’s going to be a real good game and we’re hopeful we come out on top.”
Sydney’s fiercest rivalry returns to the SCG when Sydney Derby XX takes place on Saturday, April 17.
In the nine-year history of the Sydney Derby, the Swans have recorded twelve Sydney Derby wins and the Giants seven, with another chapter to be written this Saturday afternoon.
The first Sydney Derby was played in Round 1, 2012, the Swans victorious by 63 points at Stadium Australia. The last Sydney Derby was won by the Swans, ending a three-game Sydney Derby winning streak by the Giants. The game was played in unique circumstances, in Perth at Optus Stadium, due to the Covid-19 affected 2020 season.
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