THE Giants have arrived in the south-west.
AFL newcomer Greater Western Sydney has revealed Dartmoor as its first affiliate in the region, in a historic move for the South West District league club.
Dartmoor has changed its nickname from Swans to Giants as part of the alignment and will wear the GWS colours from this season forward.
GWS ambassador and inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy will also join club officials for a launch later this month, although a date is yet to be confirmed.
The change honours the story of GWS forward Jeremy Cameron, 20, who grew up at Dartmoor and played football with the club in his teens.
Cameron, who only started playing at age 15, has emerged as one of the most exciting goalkickers in the AFL since making his debut in 2012.
He has kicked 91 goals in 37 matches and in 2013 earned All-Australian selection and won the Kevin Sheedy Medal as the Giants’ best and fairest.
Dartmoor president Lee Lipscombe said the alignment and new nickname was one of the biggest things to happen to the club.
Lipscombe said GWS officials first proposed the idea last October, with the Dartmoor committee receiving formal correspondence in December.
“We were blown away and very honoured to be approached,” he said.
“We’re so proud of Jeremy with what he’s been able to achieve with his football career so far.
“Whenever he gets the opportunity to come home, he pops his head into the club and tries to catch up with everyone.”
Lipscombe said the Dartmoor community, which has “struggled” since the closure of the mill in 2008, had welcomed the new nickname.
“One of the things we were big on was we didn’t want to have the netballers in one set of colours and the footballers in another,” he said.
“We wanted to all look the same and they are excited. I’ve spoken to a few of the life members and past players and they’re excited about it as well.”
The adoption of the new nickname is a major change for Dartmoor, but not the first it has experienced in its history.
The club, based in a town with a population of just 263, used to wear a white jumper with a red V.
The current colours — a blue, red and white jumper with a white swan on the front — were worn for the first time in the late 1990s.
“We’ve never had an opportunity like this to have an affiliation with an AFL side before,” Lipscombe said.
“But it’s not only that, it’s because of Jeremy as well and what he’s been able to do for himself as a footballer and the club.”
Cameron said he was pleased his grassroots club had adopted the nickname of his AFL home.
“Dartmoor was a great place to grow up and I’ve received a lot of support from the town since moving to western Sydney,” he said.
“Hopefully a change of name and new colours will see Dartmoor return to the top of the competition.”
GWS has affiliate clubs in Victoria, New South Wales and overseas — in England, Ireland, Croatia, Sweden and India.