AFL coach sparks controversy with Wanderers' 'immigration' dig

Kevin Sheedy - coach of AFL team Greater Western Sydney - suggested the Wanderers had the inside running in the battle for crowds Indonesia   By GOAL AUSTRALIA

Coach of Australian Rules football club Greater Western Sydney Kevin Sheedy has landed himself in hot water after claiming A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers get big crowds because of links with the "immigration department".

Following the Giants' 135-point thrashing at the hands of the Adelaide Crows in front of a paltry crowd, Sheedy launched into a rant defending the progress of GWS and linked the Wanderers' incredible first-season success to a "recruiting officer called the immigration department".

Sunday's game at Skoda Stadium was in stark contrast to the Wanderers' maiden season at a full and boisterous Parramatta Stadium in the A-League, with thousands of spare seats left vacant and a crowd of just 5,830 posted.

When asked about the difference, Sheedy let fly in defence of the "tough" job GWS have in building a supporter base in the western suburbs of Sydney.

"It's a pity because that's how many turned up after a pretty solid performance against Essendon last week," Sheedy said.

"So, it's just going to go and tell everybody how tough it's going to be to build this club.

"It's as simple as that.

"We don't have the recruiting officer called the immigration department recruiting fans for Western Sydney Wanderers – we don't have that on our side.

"We're actually going to start up a whole new ball park and go and find fans because that's what happens when you bring a lot of people through, channel into a country and put them into the west of Sydney and they build a club like that one year and all of a sudden they've got 10,000 fans and probably 20,000 going to a game."

His comments regarding the Wanderers - the beaten 2012-13 grand finalists - sparked a fire on social media on Sunday night and Sheedy took to Twitter to try and defend his comments.

"All I said was that Wanderers have an advantage because most people that migrate to Australia know soccer - it's a world sport," Sheedy said.

"We have to work a lot harder to attract people to our game and we will.

"I am on record for praising Wanderers and what they have achieved."

Sheedy is renowned in AFL circles for his work with indigenous Australians and effort to rid the game of racism.

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