Battle lines are normally drawn during the lead-up to an AFL derby in Perth, but GWS and Sydney have taken a more civil approach heading into Thursday night’s clash at Optus Stadium.
From the Demolition Derby in 2000 to Andrew Gaff’s brutal punch on Andrew Brayshaw in 2018 – there’s rarely any love lost when West Coast and Fremantle lock horns.
The lead-up is far less intense in the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ between GWS and Sydney, especially in 2020 it seems.
Sydney ruckman Callum Sinclair revealed players from both sides had engaged in friendly chats during their recent stay at the same hotel in Brisbane, with the upcoming derby not a hot topic.
“There were free coffees at the cafe in the foyer, so everyone would congregate around there and have a chat and mix,” Sinclair said.
“Everything was pretty civil. They were in a pretty similar boat to us in having to adjust pretty quickly moving out of Sydney.
“There’s no kind of crazy story or inside scoop I can give you. It was pretty civil in the hotel. Everyone was just trying to get by.
“I think AFL players, it’s a pretty tight circle now and everyone knows everyone, and everyone is mates on Instagram and Facebook, so they like to give thumbs up and emojis and things like that.”
Sydney’s finals hopes are already done and dusted after slumping to 3-7 on the back of six losses from their past seven games.
But eighth-placed GWS (6-4) are back in the mix for a top-four berth following three straight wins.
The Giants also have the recent wood over Sydney, having won the past three derbies.
Overall, Sydney leads the head-to-head ledger 11-7.
Sinclair, who featured in one western derby for West Coast in 2015, feels the rivalry between GWS and Sydney is building, which in turn is helping attract more AFL fans in NSW.
“I think every year I’ve been involved it seems like the games are getting bigger and bigger,” Sinclair said.
“They’ve been terrific contests. It’s always a great thing to get bragging rights.”