Can the Magpies make the grand final for the second year in a row? Picture: Michael Klein
Can the Magpies make the grand final for the second year in a row? Picture: Michael Klein

Punter sweating on $42k Magpie payout

IF COLLINGWOOD defeats Greater Western Sydney to set up a dream grand final against Richmond next Saturday, one punter stands to be $42,000 richer.

The punter placed a $2000 bet with TAB on the Magpies and Tigers to play off in this year's premiership decider at $21 on August 9.

At that time, Collingwood had tumbled outside the top four but was coming off two wins in a row - over Gold Coast and Melbourne - after losing four of five matches in a horrid stretch from Rounds 15-19.

Richmond is the first team through to this year's grand final after a stunning come-from-behind win over Geelong at the MCG on Friday night.

Collingwood will start favourites against GWS today, with the Giants without stars Lachie Whitfield (appendix) and Toby Greene (suspension).

PUB GETS BEHIND GIANTS WITH SPECIAL BEER

Jeremy Cameron could today drive GWS supporters to drink - but at least it won't cost them much.

Deep in the heart of enemy territory in Melbourne there is an enchanting enclave of Giants fans holding the fort against the masses.

As up to 80,000 Collingwood disciples swarm the MCG, the small but hardy Giants' faithful have a foothold at the nearby Coopers Inn, a pub so dedicated to the cause its even put a specially brewed GWS beer on tap to mark the occasion.

Not only that, "The Big, Big Sound Lager" - a reference to the Giants' theme song - will drop in price by a dollar every time Cameron kicks a goal against the Pies in the preliminary final.

So how did the AFL's so-called "plastic club" with fake fans come to have an official club house 2km from the MCG?

It's all thanks to rugby-league loving venue manager from Penrith, Matt Want, who was told he couldn't work at a pub in Melbourne without adopting an AFL team.

Matt Want and Matt O’Kane at Melbourne's Coopers Inn, the home of the GWS Giants' supporters group in Victoria.
Matt Want and Matt O’Kane at Melbourne's Coopers Inn, the home of the GWS Giants' supporters group in Victoria.

"He was an NRL man but we basically forced him to get a team and he said, 'fine, but I'm going for the Giants,'" said Coopers Inn publican Matt O'Kane.

"He actually became a foundation Giants member back in 2012 when he moved down and when they first made the prelim final acouple of years ago he said, 'do you mind if I put up a couple of posters?'

"I'm a Carlton supporter and I also needed a team in September so I said, OK … and that turned into a lot of balloons and flags and all of a sudden we became a bit of a home away from home for GWS fans."

Injured GWS star Lachie Whitfield hinted this week that word had filtered back to the playing group that there had been some "biffs" in the crowd thanks to underrated GWS fans standing up to bully rivals.

 

 

The face of the GWS supporter group, Michael Shillito, denies he's ever seen anything get physical, but confirmed the Giants faithful give as good as they get and won't back down in the face of irrepressible odds at the MCG.

"It's generally stuff like 'not a real club, or 'not real supporters', that sort of nonsense. It's complete rubbish and you can't take that sort of stuff," said Shillito.

"We love this club. We love our players. We'll be outnumbered but we'll stand our ground quite nicely and you'll certainly notice we're there.

"We are a real club and in eight years we've come a hell of a long way."

The Coopers Inn certainly agrees and have had a supplier go and brew Giants amber liquid just to prove it.

"We've had over 50 Giants fans here for the finals matches and the atmosphere here the last couple of weeks has been fantastic," said O'Kane.

"The Jeremy Cameron deal worked out well for the pub at first, but then last week against Brisbane he kicked three so that brought it back a bit.

"GWS fans are vocal, passionate and their footy knowledge is as good as anyone. They're legit fans, that's for sure."

News Corp Australia


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