The GWS Giants have added some fuel to the fire ahead of their AFL Preliminary Finals clash with Premiership favourites Collingwood, posting a hilarious video to socials before Friday’s game.
We’re starting to see it more and more in professional sports, as teams and leagues are investing heavily into active social media teams to have increased visibility online; it’s a vital resource for teams looking to engage with a growing community of fans, posting match-day information, funny memes and sometimes, even having a friendly pop at rivals.
Now, as Collingwood prepares to welcome the Giants to the MCG for this year’s Preliminary Finals, the Giant’s social media team certainly haven’t missed an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and poke a little fun ahead of Friday’s must-win fixture.
Even for the more casual AFL supporter, it’s hard to ignore the disproportionately large amount of hate aimed towards Collingwood; historically, the Magpies have worn the “most hated AFL team in the league” badge with pride, seemingly unfazed as rival Melbourne teams continue to project enduring animosity season after season.
It’s something deeply rooted in footy culture, stemming from local rivalries forged by geography; a tradition that predates the modern league format, when Victorian Football League adorned the top of the footy ladder.
Collingwood have had an unbelievable season, taking all the points when these two met earlier at the G in May, and have long been favourites for this year’s Premiership.
The Pies seemingly dusted off the late slip-up against Brisbane in the penultimate week of the regular season with ease, seeing off Essendon followed by Melbourne to set up an interesting match-up reminiscent of 2019’s First Prelims that saw GWS stun Collingwood to reach their first-ever AFL Grand Final.
Historically however, the Magpies have featured heavily in AFL finals throughout the years, with Friday’s game representing their 11th appearance in the Prelims in 22 years; they’re seasoned pros and will welcome the opportunity to play GWS again at home in front of another raucous crowd.
But when you find yourself on the receiving end of rival animosity, it’s usually because you’re doing something right.