As the dust settles on our 2020 campaign, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support throughout the season.
There is no doubt it has been a challenging year for all of us and while we didn’t reach the lofty goals we set ourselves this season, there are a number of positives to reflect upon and a host of reasons to look towards 2021 with a sense of optimism.
At our best, we were right up there with some of the strongest teams in the competition, as evidenced by victories over finalists like Geelong, Collingwood and Richmond.
It was wonderful to be able to share some of these victories with our members in the stands at GIANTS Stadium when at one stage this didn’t look like a realistic possibility.
We acknowledge that the consistency in our performances was missing this season and the work to address this has already begun.
While we are disappointed not to be playing finals, it was pleasing to see the next generation of GIANTS step up at times this year with Tom Green, Lachie Ash, Jake Riccardi and a number of other young players impressively marking their arrival at the elite level.
More recently, it was terrific to see Nick Haynes receive the recognition he deserves by being named in the 2020 AFL All Australian team last night.
Nick has been at the club since day one and thoroughly deserves this honour for the fearless and skillful way he plays the game.
As most of you would be aware, earlier this month we announced a contract extension for our senior coach Leon Cameron, who is an outstanding coach and has led our Club to victories in the last four finals series as well as our maiden Grand Final appearance in 2019.
We know Leon will guide our AFL team back to the finals in 2021.
Meanwhile, 2020 was a historic season for our AFLW program with the team making the finals for the first time. We’re delighted that 25 members from last season’s squad have recommitted for 2021 and we are looking forward to the fifth AFLW season commencing early next year.
More broadly, 2020 saw the GIANTS record a membership record for the ninth consecutive season which is an extraordinary effort in such a trying year.
To have almost 31,000 members illustrates the strong connections the club has made with our local communities in a short space of time. Thank you for helping us reach a record membership number this year, a feat achieved by only four other AFL clubs in 2020.
We know you have missed going to the football this year and we missed having you in the stands.
While many things relating to COVID-19 are out of our control, I want our members to be confident that the club is working diligently behind the scenes with the relevant Governments and health authorities to do everything we can to be able to play games in front of our passionate members in Sydney and Canberra next year.
There will be much to celebrate in 2021 as next season will mark our 10th year in the AFL competition. This is unquestionably a significant milestone for our young club.
In the coming months, we will share with you how this anniversary will be celebrated throughout 2021 as we reflect on how far the club has come in a short period.
Please note that our members will be at the forefront of all we do to commemorate a decade in the AFL - you continue to be the lifeblood of the GIANTS and we plan on recognising you at every opportunity.
In the meantime, there is plenty of work to be done as we finalise our playing list for the 2021 season and, like every club, work through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once again, thank you for your support this year, it has been critical to our growth and greatly appreciated by everyone involved with the GIANTS.
We look forward to having you on board again in 2021.