NSW Club of the week: South West Tigers

By James Matthey

It’s not everyday that kids get the opportunity to grace an AFL ground and rub shoulders with some of the greats of the game, but that’s exactly what members of the South West Tigers will be doing this Sunday when they help commemorate Kevin Sheedy’s final match in Sydney in charge of the GWS GIANTS.

Players and officials from the club will be part of a special guard of honour to welcome Sheedy and the players out onto Skoda Stadium prior to the first bounce.

Budding youngsters will also get the opportunity to emulate their idols on the field when they run onto the turf at half-time as part of the Auskick program.

Club President, Ros Malloy, said the entire club was excited at the prospect of being involved in such a significant occasion for an icon of the game in Kevin Sheedy.

“We’re going to be in all our match gear and then we’ll be doing a guard of honour, which will add some polish to the day for Mr Sheedy,” said Malloy.

“We’re fielding two teams in Auskick on Sunday as well.

“We’ve also got a fair amount of people coming to the game…I’ve been sending out emails and reminding everyone to come along to the game, encouraging everyone to get to kick-to-kick and I’m sure there will be festivities afterwards for the retiring of Kevin.

“I’ve had a lot of people respond, as soon as we got the opportunity to be a part of it I sent out the email straight away and said to them all it’s a great opportunity, I don’t know that anyone else has had that opportunity to jump on board and everyone’s just been saying that they’ll be there.”

Originally formed as the Holsworthy Tigers in 1966, the club restarted in 2000 as the South West Tigers, encompassing areas of Sydney including Liverpool, Carnes Hill and Green Valley.

From that point on, the club has continued to grow, and has established a great relationship with the GWS GIANTS since they burst onto the Sydney AFL scene.

This growth was recognised with the Tigers receiving their Silver Award as part of the AFL Swisse Quality Club Program, rewarding their excellent administration and achievements in recent years.

Part of the reason for getting involved in this Sunday’s festivities was to say thank-you to the GIANTS for the work they’ve done with the club to promote the sport throughout the region.

“Devon Smith our mentor, he even came out and visited us,” said Malloy.

“A lot of us went out to the Melbourne game and when we went through and got our autographs, Devon remembered us and said hello.

“A lot of the players remembered some of the kids from our club which is good, so it’s fantastic that we can close that gap and it gets people more interested.”

Getting to see their heroes up close and personal will be a dream come true for many of the Tigers’ juniors this weekend, who have been inspired to take up the sport after following the GIANTS’ progress over the past two seasons.

“A lot of our players and families are members as well which is fantastic,” said Malloy.

“What our kids do is they go and tell all their friends at school about how they met such-and-such and they get all the signatures and they wear the gear.

“It creates that interest and people go ‘oh I think I might play AFL’ because they get to meet all the players.”

While it might be hard to top getting the chance to celebrate the life and career of an AFL legend in Kevin Sheedy, Malloy is hopeful that the Tigers can continue to work with the GIANTS in the future and move from strength to strength.

“I just hope our club continues to grow, and I keep telling people to take the opportunity while GWS are there and they’re new because they’re going to have a lot of involvement with the club, and now’s the time to stay involved with GWS because if we can harness it and embrace it will continue.”