Community engagement key to GWS Giants success according to Blacktown Supporters Group coordinators Anthony and Colleen Klingberg

Cheering Giants: GWS Giants Blacktown supporters group, run by local couple Anthony and Colleen Klingberg.

Cheering Giants: GWS Giants Blacktown supporters group, run by local couple Anthony and Colleen Klingberg.

The GWS Giants have gone from cellar-dwellers to sitting one game from the AFL grand final in just five years.

While it's a great achievement, there is an argument the Giants’ greatest success so far is the community they’ve built around the club.

It’s certainly the case for foundation members and coordinators of the Blacktown supporters club and local residents Anthony and Colleen Klingberg.

Meeting at Kings Park Tavern in Blacktown as one of the Giants’ official supporter locations around Australia, the group has up to 20 members with a core group of about 12.

The Klingbergs have been involved in football for about 10 years after previously being involved in the Quakers Hill Bombers junior AFL club when their two sons played.

As the boys moved towards the end of their junior playing careers, the Klingbergs started looking for a new outlet after years as team managers, club administrators and even as club president in Colleen’s case.

Mrs Klingberg said it was wonderful to be part of the Giants community.

“When the Giants formed, being part of a junior footy club, we were engaged with them and I saw what direction they were heading,” she said.

“There’s a great community and you get to know people. We have younger ones, older ones and a really good mix. 

“I’d love to see it grow more and I think next season it will.”

Having a local team to support has made all the difference.

“I was an Essendon supporter but it’s a bit hard to get to a local game,” Mr Klingberg said. 

“As soon as they said they were going to build it up in Blacktown, we thought let’s jump on the bandwagon and see how it goes and look where we are.” 

The supporters group has been running for two seasons. They go to as many home games as possible when the Giants are at Spotless Stadium. 

Ahead of the preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night, Mrs Klingberg said the Giants had already achieved success in 2016.

“From my point of view, I wasn’t worried what happened [in the qualifying final against the Swans] because it didn’t matter which way it went, we had a second chance,” she said. 

“The fact that we we were in the finals and in the top four, that was the success. 

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s great we’re there and the community is growing and recognising the image and the brand.”

For Anthony, the 2016 season has been an “outstanding achievement”, making the finals in just five seasons.

On top of the on-field success, the club’s community engagement has been excellent according to the couple, implementing fan suggestions and making the supporters feel part of the team.

Mrs Klingberg even received a call from the Giants’ captain and video messages from players on her recent birthday.

The GWS Giants play the AFL preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium on Saturday at 5:15pm for the chance to make the club’s first grand final.

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