GWS want AFL deal with Canberra - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

GWS want AFL deal with Canberra

By Susanna Dunkerley 01/07/2010 04:27:26 PM Comments (0)

Canberrans have been urged to get behind a plan to bring a permanent AFL presence to the capital, in partnership with Greater Western Sydney.

Under the proposal, the western Sydney team will play 20 games in Canberra in the first five years after they enter the competition in 2012.

The club will establish a training base in Canberra and foster a team in the local reserves competition, which already includes a Sydney Swans team.

It will also invest in local talent academies to support young players through the ranks.

But the deal depends on community, business and corporate support, as well as local government funding to upgrade facilities at Manuka Oval.

Organisers of the ACT 4 GWS campaign have until late September to get 5000 people in the Canberra region to join as club members, at a cost of $50 each.

Campaign leader Peter Taylor is confident the target can be met.

"And if we can't meet the target we simply can't support an AFL team," he told reporters, adding that it was "now or never" for elite-level AFL in Canberra.

Local business also need to jump on board through sponsorship grants ranging between $5000 to $100,000, with opportunities including branding on jumpers.

The corporate sponsorship target is set at $500,000.

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy says the deal is an opportunity for the Canberra region to produce great players.

Champions like former Essendon captain James Hird could have pursued careers in their home town of Canberra if the deal had been in place 20 years ago, Sheedy said.

Alex Jesaulenko, a four-time premiership player with Carlton who is an AFL Hall of Fame Legend, is another famous Canberra product.

"Think of the opportunities we are going to get," Sheedy told reporters.

"It's about building an opportunity base for many young players....to play at the elite level."

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