Shane Mumford says there’s always something extra in a clash with a former team. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Shane Mumford says there’s always something extra in a clash with a former team. Picture. Phil Hillyard

How Mummy move fuelled Sydney rivalry

THE moment Lance Franklin's bombshell arrival dispatched Shane Mumford from Bondi to Blacktown was the moment Sydney's AFL rivalry became personal.

Franklin was supposed to be delivered to the GWS Giants as the superstar injection the club was searching for, but at the 11th hour a deal was done for him to join the Swans, and the entire landscape changed.

The most immediate casualty was Mumford.

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Forced out the door to accommodate Franklin's mammoth salary, Sydney's 2012 premiership-winning ruckman recalls the shock at having his world turned upside down.

GWS threw Mumford a lifeline to keep him in Sydney and he has felt indebted to them ever since.

In the early years of the derby there was a feeling of it being manufactured, but on the back of Mumford's switch from east to west, it has roared to life.

"For me, definitely, being the old team, you always come with something extra whenever you come up against them," said Mumford.

Shane Mumford is a premiership Swan.
Shane Mumford is a premiership Swan.

"The rivalry is certainly growing. We've had some really fiery encounters and that's caused the rivalry to build even more.

"Early days when I was at the Swans, you just wanted to come out and smash the young kids that were there at the Giants and welcome them to AFL footy.

"Then I jumped onto the other side and watched the kids turn into men and now they want to get one back on the guys that beat them up."

The tables are now turned on the former Big Brother/little brother dynamic, and as a result, the jury remains well and truly out on which club has benefited more from Franklin's decision to choose the Swans.

 

Mumford relishes taking on his old team. Pic: Phil Hillyard
Mumford relishes taking on his old team. Pic: Phil Hillyard

On face value, Sydney might be considered clear winners, with two grand final appearances and a fan base and commercial base that has grown exponentially on the back of Franklin's iconic status.

But as they battle in the doldrums while the Giants charge towards another September assault, history will remember things very differently if GWS can rise to clinch that maiden premiership.

After Franklin signed with Sydney on an unprecedented $10 million, nine-year deal, GWS quickly picked up the pieces and traded for Mumford and Heath Shaw and gave themselves more flexibility in their salary cap.

Mumford feels a sense of personal satisfaction on how things have panned out, but says people can only speculate about whether the Giants would have been better off with or without Franklin.

"That's a tough one to answer because you can't see what would have happened," said Mumford.

Mumford comes up against Mike Pyke early in his GWS days. Pic: Phil Hillyard
Mumford comes up against Mike Pyke early in his GWS days. Pic: Phil Hillyard

"I don't know whether he would have had as big an impact as Shawy and I have had on this group. Who is to know?

"There's only one way of finding that out and we can't go back and do it.

"I'm just probably really thankful for the Giants, because it forced me to grow up a little bit. At the Swans, I didn't really have any sort of leadership role or anything like that. I thought I could just go by doing what I needed to do and that was about it.

"But moving to the Giants was one of the best things I ever did because it forced me to become more of a leader on the ground and off the field and set a standard of how you need to train.

"It's been an amazing thing for me and it's worked out well for the Giants too, having both Heath and myself leading the charge in those early days."