This weekend Homebush was the focal point for a large chunk of Australia's sporting psyche. A panoply of curious observers, sceptical media types, parents, players and coaches.
The occasion: the first competitive match of a new football team and the realisation of an audacious expansion plan that was born in 2008. Every aspect of the franchise meticulously planned, from the roster and corporate setup of the club to the logo, colours and team song.
All of it designed to win the hearts and minds of the sprawling, evolving demographic that constitutes Sydney's outer west.
Greater Western Sydney's bold arrival onto the sporting stage was an impressive demonstration of AFL expansion.
It was also a painful reminder to football fans of the A-League's woeful record of expansion.
If there was any doubt about the latter, the sight of Gold Coast United's players trudging off Skilled Park on Sunday - perhaps for the last time in the club's colours - was sobering.
As acres of media space continue to be dished out to the AFL's impressive latest expansion, questions remain over what will become of Gold Coast.
Its squad of committed, uncontracted players, have admirably punched above their weight since Football Federation Australia chief Frank Lowy announced they would, in all likelihood not have a club next season.
Now, as debate rages as to where FFA should establish its next franchise, the game's administrators must learn from the experience of both Gold Coast United and Greater Western Sydney.
It is no use to simply grant a franchise to a perceived strong growth area and expect fans to turn up.
It took four years for the idea of GWS to become a tangible presence on the field. Even then it is anticipated the club won't be competitive for another three or four seasons.
This is the difficult reality of expansion. It takes years of hard work, due diligence and logistical planning to come to fruition. These were the hallmarks of the AFL's second Sydney team.
By the end of 2010 Greater Western Sydney had a high performance manager, head coach, major sponsor, a nominated home ground and a marquee signing from a rival code. The club was still two years off kicking a ball.
By last year the Giants were playing in the third-tier North Eastern AFL, emboldened by the resources of a well-equipped organisation to back the fledgling franchise for the long term.
Football fans can only dream of similar level of planning being applied to their beloved sport, not least in Western Sydney, which lays claim to some of the best young footballers in the country and a host of big clubs that bring with them proud histories and supporter bases of their own.
As the AFL consolidates its bold incursion into a new frontier, the eyes of all football fans will be on FFA to see how it approaches its next expansion franchise.
Will it have a well-constructed diligently thought out club upon which to build a legacy of expansion, or will it be another ill-conceived flop?
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