What’s in a name? Should AFL’s newest clubs make a change?

Accepting that the AFL is fully committed to clubs located at the Gold Coast and in Western Sydney, is it too late for the AFL to make some fundamental tweaks to both clubs to increase their “brand” appeals?

Some serious changes are required to reboot these clubs that are both clearly struggling to get strong traction in their markets and are acting as a drag on the rest of the league. One of these changes is the current name or identity of each club. I would also be interested to hear the thoughts of others.

Firstly, with regard to Greater Western Sydney, the Giants, a change of name should be considered. The current name is cumbersome at best and that is demonstrated by the club being more usually referenced as GWS, which is probably the worst name for any football club in the world.

The GWS name just does not resonate as a truly strong football club name. It could be a can of jam for everyone knows.

Western Sydney is a very ethnically and culturally diverse region and there exists an to attract fans using a more recognizable and strong name that says something about the district and its people and which opportunity clearly identifies it as a football club with a purpose.

As a suggestion changing the name to something like West Sydney United points to the region it represents and the inclusion of the United “branding” encourages the diverse cultures of West Sydney to get involved.

It is a more traditional name of a football club and there is nothing that precludes an AFL side from adopting the use of “United”, which is regularly used in other codes and also by Australian rules clubs. West Sydney United is a strong name and it is more attractive than the current cumbersome name and its unattractive abbreviation.

The nickname of the Giants could remain but the G on the jersey should be dropped and a plain, more traditional orange and black jersey should be adopted, perhaps with a white hoop separating the orange and black.

As for the Gold Coast Suns, the nickname is weak and brings with it images of people lazing on a beach rather than a tough, non-compromising football club. I would suggest that given the clubs strong links to Southport Sharks, the Sharks identity be adopted, which provides far better marketing opportunities and a more aggressive feel to the club that might attract more interest.

I know there is an NRL side with the same Sharks identity, but there are also NRL clubs called Tigers and Bulldogs which are also nickname of AFL clubs, so this wouldn’t really be an issue.

The name of a club is fundamentally important in attracting support to the clubs and at present neither GWS or Gold Coast Suns have it right, but with minor adjustments as proposed above, things could improve through better marketing and club culture opportunities that are reflective of strong football club names.

I might not have selected the best names, but I’d be interested to see what other options are as to the current names and whether they are working or hindering the club’s growth and what alternative names might work.

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