Why playing in Canberra is so special for gun GIANT
GIANTS midfielder Britt Tully knows the importance of bringing AFLW and AFL games to Canberra as well as anybody, having fallen in love with football at Manuka Oval.
The GIANTS have adopted the nation’s capital as a home since their inception, regularly staging matches in the ACT since 2012.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a long wait for Canberrans craving live football.
Saturday’s AFLW clash with Brisbane will be the GIANTS’ first fixture at Manuka Oval since August 2019, when 11,741 fans braved the snow to watch Hawthorn’s crushing AFL win.
Tully, who grew up in Canberra and was named the local league’s best and fairest in 2016, 2017 and 2018, says it will be special to play in front of friends and family.
The 27-year-old, a talented softballer who has made her mark in AFLW, also knows there is a bigger picture at play.
“The GWS academy has taken off in Canberra during the last couple of years,” Tully said.
“A lot of people have asked when we are going to play, when are we going to be back.
“Usually we’ve had a very good crowd at Manuka.
“It’s a good opportunity to get all these young girls in the academy down to the game … it’s really important.
“The local league as well, (people) who can’t often get up to Sydney … it’s always a lot better to watch an AFLW game in person rather than on TV.
“You get to see a lot more, see it’s actually quite similar to the boys.”
Tully, a Collingwood supporter as a child, has cherished memories at Manuka Oval.
“Dad would always take me,” she said.
“I remember doing that while growing up.
“Then more recently, once the GIANTS starting coming here, always getting pumped up to watch their games.”
Tully sat out the GIANTS’ 2019 AFLW campaign after completing university studies.
She admitted it has been a challenging start to the 2021 season for the GIANTS as they juggle AFLW commitments and careers, having shifted to Albury in pre-season to ensure the competition started as scheduled.
“People have to manage work and life around football,” Tully said.
“Most of the girls do that with no qualms because they love it so much … football draws us all together.
“We all have common goals, interests and sacrifices.
“Hopefully in five years people won’t have to manage it.
“It’ll be a full-time gig.”