Sydney Swan Harry Cunningham embraces the AFL's newest rivalry

RED AND WHITE: Sydney Swan Harry Cunningham meeting with Singleton Roosters' senior president Nadene McBride at the Criterion Hotel.
RED AND WHITE: Sydney Swan Harry Cunningham meeting with Singleton Roosters' senior president Nadene McBride at the Criterion Hotel.

A lot has changed in the world since Sydney first played off against the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

The year was 2012, Australia was led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the world was in the midst K-Pop fever thanks to Korean YouTube sensation 'Psy'.

A lot has also changed between these two AFL sides following the first installment of the Battle of the Bridge which saw the eventual premier Sydney prevail 14.16 (100) to 5.7 (37) over GWS.

Fast forward seven years and the Swans, who still lead the ledger 11-5, enter tomorrow night's 17th edition of the clash as the underdog after a poor start to the season.

Swans ball winner Harry Cunningham, who visited five separate primary schools around Singleton in February, is now eyeing a victory so his side can remain in the finals race.

WHERE'S HARRY?: Harry Cunningham pictured during his visit at St Catherine's Catholic College in Singleton.

WHERE'S HARRY?: Harry Cunningham pictured during his visit at St Catherine's Catholic College in Singleton.

"The 'Battle of the Bridge' rivalry has continued to grow over the years and that's something to be proud of," he said when asked during his Singleton visit.

"Sure, the Giants were still trying to find their feet in the earlier years however they've now been premiership contenders for the last couple of years.

"They have that much talent on their list and that's why the rivalry keeps getting better and better.

"It (rivalry) has built over time and it's definitely there.

STAR POWER: Harry Cunningham and Damian Silk.

STAR POWER: Harry Cunningham and Damian Silk.

"Now everyone else in the AFL is starting to believe it is growing as well."

Ironically, Cunningham made his debut when the two sides first met on March 24, 2012.

Though he would have to wait until Round 17 the following season to add to his now 109 game career, the Wagga Wagga born midfielder admits he still remembers the night clearly.

"I remember I was the substitute and I didn't get on the field until the third quarter," he recalled.

MEETING THE FANS: Sydney Swans Colin O'Riordan and Harry Cunningham meet with a St Catherine's Catholic College student.

MEETING THE FANS: Sydney Swans Colin O'Riordan and Harry Cunningham meet with a St Catherine's Catholic College student.

"The game was at ANZ stadium so it was a big jump from the pre-season games where I had played 'ok'.

"On the Tuesday beforehand Shawry (teammate and former Collingwood star Rhyce Shaw) was omitted because he pulled up injured so I got the call up then.

"Luke Parker broke his jaw in the opening quarter so I thought I was going to be thrown on the park straight away to be honest.

Cunningham would don the number-44 that night before being upgraded to the number-7 later in his AFL career.

"That first game was a pretty surreal moment; I had my family fly up for it as well so it was something pretty special," he added.

HI FIVE: Sydney Swan Harry Cunningham pictured at Australian Christian College Singleton.

HI FIVE: Sydney Swan Harry Cunningham pictured at Australian Christian College Singleton.

"It was also great to play that day because it was the Giants' first ever game so I thought (that) that was pretty special as well."

GWS, currently sitting seventh with a 3-2 record, will enter as favourite this Saturday after defeating ladder leader Geelong earlier this month.

The nail-biter would be the club's first ever win at the Cattery in club history.

However doubt remains as to whether co-captain Phil Davis, who suffered an ankle injury against Fremantle last week, will remain in the line-up.

If Davis, who usually completes in a mouthwatering match-up with Lance Franklin, is unable to play then it will be only the second time in AFL history where both of GWS' captains will be sidelined.