They are small in size but big in voice. They are the Melbourne-based GIANTS cheer squad flying the orange flag in Victoria.
And Saturday was the perfect afternoon to spend a game with the orange army who made a Big, Big sound throughout the GIANTS brilliant victory over ladder-leader Melbourne.
Covid lockdown in Sydney has seen the GIANTS set up camp in Victoria for a few weeks and meant the home town faithful can’t provide their vibrant colour and vocal support.
In Round 15, the Melbourne cheer squad, like our performance against Hawthorn, looked a little sad but things were on the improve both on and off-field at the weekend.
It’s all about team work as couple Andrew and Sarah can attest.
A Hawk in a former footy life, Andrew saw the orange light four and a half years ago and will now #NeverSurrender.
Sarah barracks for Geelong but proudly sports GIANTS get up in the cheer squad in the name of love.
As the squad trained hard during the week, Sarah was putting in the one percenters at the sewing machine making nine flags and three banners so the cheer squad would be bigger, better and brighter for its next game at the MCG.
Their little daughter Lily may well be the unofficial mascot, small in stature but big in voice, she plays her role on game day clapping, cheering and cuddling her ‘Toby’ teddy which proudly bears #4.
Foundation members Mark and Chris are former Sydneysiders who now live in Melbourne and are enjoying these extra Victorian games.
Mark says the club sent down some crucial equipment – pom poms - during the week.
The team hasn’t run through a banner for the past two rounds but there’s been communication with the Cats cheer squad who have kindly offered to help make a banner should the GIANTS play the Suns in Geelong.
The chants which will ring out today are a bit different to the ones the home crew roll with at GIANTS Stadium. Andrew leads them, explaining that in Victoria we see the game as the entertainment so there’s no chanting during play, we wait until a stoppage and of course after a goal.
With Toby Greene opening the goal account in the first few seconds of the game it meant the chants began immediately and the sound got bigger and bigger and bigger as the GIANTS produced one of their best wins of the season.
The cheer squad features a few part-time GIANTS. There was a Pie and a Roo who passionately support their second team. The Roo says his wardrobe is divided by North Melbourne and GIANTS merchandise. He may be the only winner out of last month’s draw.
There are those who, like Andrew, have happily found the GIANTS. Chloe makes the trip to Melbourne from Bendigo in regional Victoria. She grew up a Bomber but wasn’t really into it as an adult.
Working at a nursing home, going back a few years ago, the residents would ask Chloe who she barracked for and hang it on her answer. She was sick of it, changed her response to ‘the GIANTS’ began attending Melbourne games with her sister-in-law and has now made likeminded friends in the cheer squad.
Chloe also fashionably sports custom-made GIANTS earrings which caught the eye of this writer who added a pair to her cart after the most exciting of wins.
Thanks to the Victorian Giants for welcoming me in on a day to remember. My new earrings and I might just see you again this weekend!!
Megan Hustwaite is a GIANTS member and freelance sports broadcaster.