1994 RFL SEASON RESULTS

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PLAYER TRANSFERS

IN: Andrew Barber (Dookie College), Eldon Barker (Anglesea), Craig Bretherton (Bentleigh), Brendan Browne, David Eichler (St Marys, GFL), Shane Fitzsimmons (West Adelaide), Tim Fraser (Waratah, NT), Danny Litchfield (Coleambally), Warren McKenzie (South Barwon), John McNamara (Port Fairy), Chris Parr (Mildura), Phillip Rowston (Sydney Swans), Richard Telfer.

OUT: Joe Agresta, Scott Angrove, Owen Brown (Barellan), Matt Coad, David and Peter Dunkley, Glen Garner, David Gee, Stewart Egan (St Arnaud), Brent Hathaway (Marrar), Mark O'Connor, Jason Wescott (St Arnaud): Eldon Barker, John McNamara (Port Fairy).

 COLLINS IN CHARGE 

FORMER player of the Griffith Australian Football Club, Darrell Collins, has taken over as president for the 1994 Riverina Football League season. Collins who played over 200 senior games for the Swans, was elected unopposed at the annual general meeting held on Wednesday night at the Ex-Servicemen's Club.
He has taken over from Terry Bennett, who stepped down from the position due to work commitments.
Brett McAlister who shared the secretary position with Collins last season will be on his own for next year, while former treasurer Ffiona Beverley has stepped back into that breach.
Beverley has taken over from Brian Files, who has also stepped down with work commitments, while Steve and Shane Best have been re-elected as vice-presidents.
The meeting heard the club is in a sound financial position going into next season and with a new coach Shane Fitzsimmons signed, it will be looking for a couple of main position players. Fitzsimmons will be in Griffith tomorrow to sign and will shift to the town in early January.  
(The Area News - Friday, November 26, 1993).

 TAKE TWO FOR FITZSIMMONS 

NEW Griffith Australian Football Club captain-coach, Shane Fitzsimmons, arrived in town on Wednesday and is already making plans to ensure the Swans have a successful season.

Fitzsimmons, a rover or a centreman, said this year the Swans training sessions would be taking a new direction with the introduction of weight training and defensive plays. Another Fitzsimmons' initiative is a training camp in late February at the Wagga Army Base. Fitzsimmons said the reason for the training camp at the army base was just not for fitness, but to help the Swans' motivation and team spirit.
In 1993 Fitzsimmons had agreed to coach the Swans, but was told by his then club, West Adelaide, that they would be taking up a 12-month option on his contract.
Fitzsimmons later said he felt he owed the Swans was to ensure they had a successful season in 1994.
With the Swans starting training on January 10, Fitzsimmons said he was excited about the 1994 season because of some player developments. "A few blokes who did not play last year have announced they would be coming out of retirement next season, and they are all locals which is good," Fitzsimmons said.
"I am hoping to sign a few more players, but nothing is definite as yet."
Fitzsimmons said he was looking forward to going from a not so successful team to a successful side. "Last year with West Adelaide we finished second last," Fitzsimmons said. "Personally I had a good season, but winning the premiership is more important."
Fitzsimmons said he was impressed with the professionalism of the Swans committee, especially in the way they made sure they kept in close contact with all the players.
Swans president, Darrell Collins, said he was pleased to have Fitzsimmons as the 1994 coach. "After previously missing out on getting Shane's services we are very pleased to get the chance again," Mr Collins said. 
"Shane will be a good asset, and we are looking forward to a good season. "Because Shane has played under some top level coaches his experience will be of great value, especially to our juniors." 
For the past five seasons Fitzsimmons has played with West Adelaide and was regularly named among the best best players each week.  (The Area News - Friday, January 7, 1994).

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 GRIFFITH SWANS BEATEN IN FIRST PRACTICE MATCH 

THE Griffith Australian Football Club threw off the cobwebs on Saturday, when it played its first practice match against ACT based Belconnen at the Ex-Servicemen's Oval No. 2 oval. Coach Shane Fitzsimmons wasn't looking for any great performances so early in the season against a side ready to start its competition next weekend.

"We were short of numbers for the two sides due to unavailability and cricket finals, but it was a good hit-out," he said. While scores didn't mean a lot in these games, Belconnen won 17.18 (120) to 7.13 (55) in the first grade and Griffith reserves, mostly made up of juniors, lost 18.17 (125) to 0.2 (2).
Griffith slipped away to a good start when it led 20 points to nine at the end of the first quarter, but wasted a lot of opportunities kicking with the wind. This wasn't the case with the visitors, who put on 8.7 in the second term, while holding Griffith scoreless, and it was only Griffith's inaccurate kicking in the third stanza which saw it fall behind. Trailing by 35 points, Griffith added 3.8, which could have been easily 8.3 and allowed Belconnen to run away in the final quarter to win by 65 points.
It was an underdone side which took the field for the Swans and they did very well against a strong ACT combination.  Fitzsimmons said he was happy with the players who took the paddock, especially some of the new ones to the club this season. He said former Barellan and Sydney Swans' player Phillip Rowston did well on the half forward line and at centre half back during the match. "He will be a handy player for the club, but he is waiting to see what happens with the AFL player draft next Wednesday and needless to say, he has some other offers, but he is reasonably keen to line-up," Fitzsimmons said.
Another to stand out was former Mildura player Chris Parr, who has been shifted to Griffith in his employment. The well-built centre half forward was one of the best on ground for the locals and without too much pre-season training according to Fitzsimmons. 

Another to show out was rangy ruckman Andrew Barber, who is a local lad from Hanwood, but has been away studying and did a good job s a tap ruckman during the game.
While Fitzsimmons said he was short of players for the match, he also made the comment the players who did take the paddock would have knocked six goals off the deficit with another four weeks of training. 'They did very well, but the season isn't for another month, so its no good peaking too early. "Any side without Gary Argus, Brett Davis, David Gee, Owen and Mark Brown, Paul Young, Shane Ruyg and new players Dean Jamieson, from Barellan and Anthony Trewella from Darwin, is going to find it hard. 
"On the other hand, add these to the players who took on Belconnen and we are looking strong for the season," he added.
Fitzsimmons also said he was interested in hearing from past players and supporters who would be interested in the running of the club. "We need people to take on the tasks of selectors and team managers, as well there might be some parents of the juniors who would like to be involved, but feel they would be pushing in. "All they have to do is make themselves known to either myself or Darrell Collins at training and we will find a spot to slot them into the organisation."  
(The Area News - Monday, March 14, 1994).

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 SWANS GOOD EARLY SEASON FORM 

THE Griffith Australian Football Club showed it won't be far off the pace in the Riverina Football League this season after a good performance against Wodonga Raiders on Saturday.

Again Griffith was underdone with players unavailable, but it took the match up to the Raiders and at one stage during the third quarter was five goals in front. Griffith faded in the final quarter against a side set to start its competition earlier than the locals, but also finished the match with only 17 players.
The Swans lost the Quinn Medal winner, Gary Argus, early in the second quarter and Shane Ruyg had to leave the ground during the final quarter. At that stage both were doing well and to fill the gaps, the Swans had to run on players who had already played in the reserve grade match earlier.
Even though the side was defeated, coach Shane Fitzsimmons was pleased with the effort and the run-on game shown by the players. "We need a bit more fitness and some players have started a bit late, but we have three weeks to make up the slack and we should be right by the first game. "We were missing about eight players who would make the side on Saturday, but those that did take the field did very well."
Two of these players he was talking about only arrived at the club unannounced on Friday. David Eichler, a rover from St Mary's in the Geelong Football League and Warren McKenzie, a ruck-rover from South Barwon in the Bellarine Peninsula League, showed they will be a great acquisitions to the club with their displays on Saturday.
Add to these the performance of Chris Parr at centre half forward, Leo Tenace, ex Echuca, and Griffith has started to look good. 
David Alpen, who missed a lot of the pre-season due to work commitments, filled in as a ruckman and won his position until the tiredness set in, while the return of Jamie Bennett made a difference at the bottom of the packs. With the return of players like Brett Davis, Anthony Trewella, Andrew Barber, Greg Collins and Craig Seton, and Griffith look like being a formidable opponent for any side in the league.
The players will have a rest this weekend, though training will be earnest and Fitzsimmons hopes to organise a match prior today against for Saturday, April 9. Prior to that the club will be holding its Jumper Presentation and Calcutta at the Exies Club on Friday April 9.  
(The Area News - Monday, March 28, 1994). 

 ROWSTON SIGNS WITH GRIFFITH SWANS 

FORMER Barellan junior and Sydney Swan, Phillip Rowston, has signed with the Griffith Australian Football Club for the 1994 season. Rowston, who joined Sydney as a 17-year-old in 1990, was cut from the list a fortnight ago and has since been talking to other clubs, but decided on Friday he would play with Griffith.
"I think I have made the right decision as I am looking forward to going back near home," he said from Sydney yesterday. The 21 year-old has a year to serve on a green-keeping apprenticeship and he has a position with the club's sponsor, the Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club.
He left Barellan in 1990 to join Sydney and played in the under 18's, under Greg Harris for the first half of the season and spent the balance in the reserves. He made the pre-season Fosters Cup side in 1992, but was sent back to the reserves. During his time in Sydney, luck didn't run his way as he lost half of the 1991 season with stress fracture to his back and half the 1992 season with the same type of fracture to an ankle.
Last June he thought it was the end of his AFL career when he was dropped from the list just prior to the draft, but was redrafted when the club couldn't find anyone better.

His football improved from that point on, as he was a regularly mentioned in the best players in the reserves and was named as an emergency in the final two or three matches in 1993.
"I put in a good pre-season this year and was going well until a couple of weeks ago when I was rung up and asked to get to the Swans' office. "Ron Joseph and Ron Barassi were there and told me I was too slow, which I had to agree with I was a few yards behind," he said.
While he was "chopped" from the list, he had nothing but good to say about his time with Sydney. "I learnt a lot about football, met a lot of good friends and trained under some good coaches.

"Col Kinnear and Mark McClure were here when I first came and they were good, but Barassi would have to be the best I have seen in Sydney," he said.
He said he was looking forward to getting back home and with tongue in cheek added he was looking for a good year in a good side and winning a few games. "I have a lot of good friends in the area and am looking forward to seeing them and settling down in my work."
At the moment he is training under two former Sydney players in David Murphy and Neil Cordy, who are coaching sides in the local league and expect to be in Griffith on Wednesday week. "I would have liked to be there sooner, but I had to give notice at work."  (The Area News - Monday, March 28, 1994).

 A NEW LOOK SWANS SIDE 

NEW coaches and new look sides seem to be the order of the day when Griffith meets East Wagga-Kooringal at Gumly Oval, Wagga tomorrow in the first round of the Riverina Football League's 1994 competition.

Griffith goes into the match under former West Adelaide player Shane Fitzsimmons, while East Wagga has gained the services of former Batemans Bay coach Jason Baulch.  Both have come to their respective clubs with good references and both sides seem to have built up playing personal during the off season.
While the East Wagga Hawks have won Owen Geddes from Osborne, Brent Bailey from Portland, Barry McLachlan from Coolamon and Marc Rose from Wagga, it has lost some quality players. Missing are Brett Page, Jamie Ross, last season's coach Peter Whittle, John Raczkowski and Jason Bonham. 
While the Hawks have filled holes of players lost, Griffith have been in much the same position, losing a lot of players from last season. Coach Peter Dunkley, David Dunkley, Stewart Egan, Todd Cody, Jason Wescott and Matt Coad have all gone on to greener pastures, while Gerard Toscan and Owen Brown have retired and Brent Hathaway is in college at Wagga. The club has added Tim Fraser, David Eichler, Chris Parr, Warren McKenzie, Phillip Rowston, Anthony Trewella, Myles Bunn and Andrew Barber.
Griffith has traditionally battled on Gumly Oval against the Hawks and even when it was strong some three seasons back and East Wagga on the bottom, it only won by small margins. The side looks stronger, but Fitzsimmons said he will have to wait  until tonight before he finalises the selection.
"Some players are carrying niggling injuries and if they don't come up they won't be playing. "We had a inter-club match last weekend, which wasn't good preparation for the first match, but we couldn't find a side to play us.

"The boys have been training well, but to date we haven't had a full side on the paddock in the practice matches and probably wont have one for this match," Fitzsimmons said.
Of the new players, Tim Fraser will probably line up at fullback, David Eichler, with his speed and ball skills looks a natural wingman and Chris Parr has a good pair of hands and these will be put to use at centre half forward. Phillip Rowston, who has experience with Sydney Swans, will play as a ruckrover and half forward flanker, along with Warren McKenzie and Andrew Barber with share the ruck work with Greg Collins.
Anthony Trewella, who has joined the club from Darwin, will probably fill in the centre half back position and Myles Bunn is a rover and forward line goal sneak. 
The match will be an interesting encounter for both sets of supporters as they evaluate the performances of their sides, looking forward towards the balance of the season. Both sides have a bit more than the four points at stake as it will be the first match of the season for the Natural Gas Challenge Cup.
It is a new cup set up this season and for every week a club holds the cup, $100 goes towards the club's coffers.

(By Brian Files - The Area News, Friday, April 15, 1994). 

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Round 1 - Saturday April 16, 1994 at Gumly Oval 2.10pm

East Wagga-Kooringal ... 4.5 ..