IT was the kind of day the AFL hoped to see in western Sydney.
Close to 10,000 fans cheered, smiled and enjoyed a day out as they watched two quality teams compete in the NAB Cup at Blacktown Olympic Park, Rooty Hill, on Saturday.
From 5pm fans filed in to see the Sydney Swans take on Carlton in the first official AFL game to be played at the new venue.
Many drove from as far as Canberra and the northern beaches to be part of history.
Though the first bounce was set for 7.45pm, there was plenty to keep everyone entertained until the game began.
Face painting, autograph signing, kids playing kick to kick – it was all there.
Though at times the traffic outside looked congested and a bona fide driver’s headache, it was well managed and cleared up in a respectable time.
Inside, thousands dressed in Swans and Blues colours continued to fill the grandstand and the hill around the ground.
It was a family atmosphere. Blankets were laid out on the grass, parents and children sat together and everyone was respectful and polite.
Everyone was engaged and cheered for their side. The game itself was low-scoring but hard fought.
Both teams have undergone some big changes in the off season and, with old players out and new players in, the plays often looked clumsy.
Still, the Swans and Blues gave a good indication of what western Sydney could expect once Team GWS joins the league. Australian actor Hugo Weaving, a swans supporter, told the Times this was exactly what western Sydney needed.
The Swans won 2.7.11 (71) to 0.8.11 (59).