2002 RFNL SEASON
Apr 6 MCUE (a) Apr 14 TP (h) Apr 21 GGGM (a) Apr 27 NI (h) May 4 Rep May 11 EWK (a) May 19 LW (a) May 25 Rep June 2 CR (h) Jun 9 MCUE (h) Jun 16 TP (a) Jun 23 GGGM (h) Jun 30 NI (a) Jul 7 EWK (h) Jul 14 LW (h) Jul 21 CR (a) Aug 3 MCUE (a) Aug 11 TP (h) Aug 18 GGGM (a) Aug 25 NI (h)
Finals - Aug 31 QF Sep 1 EF Sep 7 SF1 Sep 8 SF2 Sep 15 PF Sep 22 GF Grand Final report
Ladders Player Stats Record Swans Awards RFL Awards
Click on image to enlarge
IN: Warwick Armstrong (Leeton-Whitton), Trevor Clarke (Osborne), Craig Conlan (Barellan), Cian Ebert (Cora Lynn), Josh Fisher, Anthony Freyer, Michael Johns (Canberra), David Kidman (Leeton-Whitton), Matthew Olney (Berrigan).
OUT: Gary Argus (Hillston Swans), Adam Boag (Coleambally), Malcolm Burke (Hillston Swans), David Dunn (Barellan), Brent Hathaway (Barellan), Dean Jamieson (Ardlethan), Hamish Munro (Melbourne), Adrian Pavese (Hillston Swans), Glenn Vaccari (Hillston Swans), Paul Woolnough (Griffith Blacks, Rugby).
SWANS EXPECTED TO SHARE MORE RESPONSIBILITY - By Peter Baker
Griffith Swans can expect to share more responsibility in the Riverina Football League next season. New captain-coach and on-baller Cian Ebert has plans to expand the leadership roles within the side when he resumes training on January 14. Ebert said yesterday he would be sitting down with the coaching panel next week and talking about plans for 2002. "We will be discussing a fair few things including the structure of the side and expanding the leadership group," Ebert, 29, said. "I hope to have a few footballers involved in the leadership role, rather than just the traditional coach and his assistant. "The more people we have with the ownership of the side, the greater the effort."
Ebert had three training sessions prior to Christmas-New Year and was impressed with the enthusiasm. He said two sessions had yielded nine players and the third 18. "I was not expecting big numbers at that time of year as many players were involved in festive activities and summer sports," Ebert said. "Those players who attended did everything asked of them and it is a sign of good things to come." Ebert joined the Swans on a high recommendation from former work-aholic captain-coach Jon O'Dwyer, who remains with the club. O'Dwyer and Ebert were teammates at Queanbeyan in the Australian Football League-Canberra, in 1998 and 1999. Completely new to the RFL and Riverina,
Ebert has been closely following the happenings of Wagga Tigers and gathering information on the other RFL sides. "I will be relying on O'Dwyer and other Griffith players and officials to bring me up to scratch on the opposition," Ebert said. "I stayed with Griffith president Ian Wade for five weeks and he filled men in on many club happenings." Equally at home at half forward and halfback, Ebert joins Griffith with a wealth of experience gained from various places in Victoria. His first two senior seasons, 1989 and 1990, at Pakenham in the West Gippsland League resulted in premierships. He switched to the now defunct Dandenong in the Victorian Football Association in 1991 and returned to Pakenham in 1992. Ebert had five years at Warragul in the Latrobe Valley from 1993 to 1997, the last season being captain-coach. Prior to joining Griffith, Ebert was at Cora Lynn in West Gippsland in 2000 and 2001. Ebert may not be the only new Swan, but he said any signings were still a long way off. (The Daily Advertiser - Saturday January 5, 2002).
FIRST FULL MATCH FOR SWANS - By Rebecca Kroek
The Griffith Swans will play their first full length game tomorrow when they take on Wangaratta at Barooga. For captain-coach Cian Ebert, it will be his first opportunity to assess the players in normal game conditions. The Swans completed at the Temora 15-a-side tournament last weekend, reaching the semi-finals before going down to eventual champions, the Wagga Tigers.
While the short matches were completely different to the Riverina Football League clashes ahead of the Swans, Ebert was pleased with how the players performed. "It was pretty positive even though we only won one game, the boys kept endeavouring to do the things we want them to do," Ebert said. While he said the format of the day made it difficult to pick out individual players who stood out, Ebert was overall happy with the effort. "From the start to the finish last weekend I was very impressed, especially with the fact that they just kept trying to do things we've been working on at training," he said.
However, he said one aspect of the side's game which needs work is set shots at goal, with too many basic chances at six-pointers missed. While the club found itself struggling on the day at Temora with injuries, Ebert said most of those players will be right to play against Wangaratta. Jon O'Dwyer dislocated a finger in the Swans' second game in Temora and will be out for three weeks, but should be ready to play by the start of the RFL season. While Damien Scott, who fell victim to a hamstring injury, may be rested this weekend to give him some extra time to recover, Michael Duncan (shin) and Ben Ford (arm) should be fine to play.
Ebert said Wangaratta been "pretty ordinary" in recent years but have recruited heavily in the off-season, with a couple of Victorian Football League players joining the club. Wangaratta played reigning Ovens and Murray premiers Lavington recently and came away with a win. "They're pretty good at this stage and it'll be a good challenge for us," Ebert said.
He said there will be five or six senior players who were available last weekend, who he is hoping to see play tomorrow.
At this stage, Ebert is still assessing players and trying them in different positions, with the game against Wangaratta an ideal opportunity to continue with this. "I think we've came a long way since we started preseason, but there's still a hell of a way to go until the season finishes," he said. Ebert also said that anyone who has been thinking about playing but is yet to come to training should come down or make contact with the club, as there are still openings for senior players.
The Swans will be holding a reverse draw on Sunday, with all club members welcome to attend at Exies-on-Burrell at 1pm.
(The Area News - Friday March 22, 2002).
GRIFFITH LOSES IT'S BEST AND FAIREST - By Peter Baker
Griffith's worst fears have been realised with last year's best and fairest winner Rodney Duncan out for six weeks. Duncan has a broken wrist and is the first player out of the big clash with Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong on Sunday.
The two sides are the only to remain undefeated in the RFL and this weekend's game is shaping as a terrific struggle at Logan Oval, Ganmain.
A cloud will hang over Swans' centre half forward Dave Curran, whose precautionary X-ray did not reveal any damage to his ankle.
However, Curran must be considered doubtful, and much will depend on how he recovers during the week.
The unfortunate Duncan, carrying on with the form he displayed throughout last season, originally broke his wrist while holidaying on the Gold Coast over the summer. Despite the loss of Curran and Duncan from across the Swans' half forward line last Sunday, the side still functioned smoothly. Griffith president Ian Wade said full forward Danny Beriman took over as the leading tall in the forward zone.
The club was in a fortunate position to have two players like Curran and Beriman with the height. "We are not relying on just one player to score our goals as Jamie Bennett on the half forward flank is also doing well," Wade said.
He said the Swans were eagerly looking forward to the game at Logan Oval. "The boys were talking about the trip to Logan Oval on Sunday night, but they will need to be wary," Wade said.
"Many a good Griffith side has gone to Ganmain over a long period and came home without the four competition points.
"The Lions have won two games and from what I heard are playing well." (The Daily Advertiser - Tuesday April 16, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - CHRIS BLANCHARD
It has been three years since Chris Blanchard tasted premiership success with the Griffith Swans under 18's side of 1999 and he is determined to gain more success this year, but this time in the club's first grade side. Blanchard's goals are simple; he wants nothing more, nothing less than the premiership. Blanchard commenced his Australian Rules Football career at the age of nine and was part of a very successful junior side that won three premierships and participated in many final series.
However, since 1999 there has been a drop off in the numbers of juniors coming through the ranks, instead preferring to go to other football codes and this has affected the success rate of the teams Blanchard has played with. In his first year out of the junior ranks, Blanchard has really stepped up and made the centre half-back position his own. It could have been a different story as at the start of the year he was considering taking a year off football to concentrate on his mechanic apprenticeship.
"Work was piling up, with the study and everything, and I wasn't getting to preseason training at all. "Ebo (coach Cian Ebert) approached me and told me that I was in his plans for a successful combination for this year, to hold down centre half-back, and that kind of gave me the incentive to make time for football."
The Swans are glad he did as Blanchard has played three very good games, the 18-year-old controlling the half-back line and keeping in check some much older and more experienced opposition. Against Ganmain-GGM last weekend, Blanchard dominated in the back line to earn best on ground award from supporters. Whilst just 18, Blanchard is tall, relatively quick and strong, which makes him a tough player for opposition teams to counter. He is playing with confidence not seen for some years.
"I guess that confidence is coming through from the other players. I have a great deal of confidence in my teammates, so if I stuff up, they will be there to help me out. "That gives me the confidence to just go for it. There is a great feeling out there on the ground."
Blanchard and his teammates face Narrandera this weekend at the Exies Sports Oval in the night game on Saturday. "We are pretty confident this weekend. We may get Dave Curran and Brendan Giason back from injury, so the team will nearly be full strength."
While Blanchard and his mates aren't getting overconfident about the teams prospects this year, 'things are looking pretty positive'.
With any luck, the on-field success Blanchard is striving for will be obtained in the form of a premiership come late September.
(The Area News - Friday, April 26, 2002).
BERIMAN CHASING MORE RECORDS - By Peter Baker
The Riverina Football League player on everyone's lips, Danny Beriman, will be hoping to again break his own personal goalkicking record against Narrandera this evening. Beriman - 25-years-old, 185 centimetres and 95 kilograms - has chalked up records at his last two outings and could boot another bagful of goals at the Ex-Servicemen's Oval, Griffith. The Griffith full-forward has grabbed the spotlight since the opening round when he showed potential with 3.3 against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes. He followed up with 11.1 against Turvey Park to beat his previous best of nine goals at Eaglehawk in the Bendigo League more than three seasons ago. Beriman then booted 11.4 against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong last Sunday and could have been 13.2 but for two relatively easy shots at goal going astray. He displayed good ruck-work to make another goal for half-forward flanker Jamie Bennett in the second quarter, and then knocked the ball over for the other half forward flanker Michel Duncan to register a major in the third term. The big task of minding Beriman this evening will go to Narrandera full-back Damon Burden, who has turned in some good performances. Beriman and his fellow forwards, including Bennett and Duncan, are well fed at the moment.
While Beriman heads the RFL goal kicking list with 25 majors, Bennett is next with 12.
Joining Griffith four seasons ago from Robinvale-Euston in the Sunraysia League when asked to do so by then Swans captain-coach Paul Eyles, Beriman is finally living up to the potential which brought him to the RFL. It has not been an east path to the top of the goalkicking list for Beriman, who suffered an ankle injury in his first season with the Swans in 1999. He had an operation and in his second season (2000) played mainly reserves and broke back into the seniors in 2001. This year he is determined to show his best. Beriman he has played in every key goal-to-goal line position during his stay at Griffith, Robinvale-Euston and Eaglehawk. Beriman said the success of the Swans this season has come through a change of direction and attitude by the players and coaches. "There's is a lot of self-belief in each other and the club and everything is falling into place. "Our game plan is different this year and there is more direction." "Confidence is at an all-time high and certainly the best since I have been with the club." Beriman said part of the plan was having several avenues to goal including Bennett, Duncan, Dave Curran, Shane Ruyg and Matt Olney.
He said any one of them was capably of kicking a swag of goals if a team-mate was having an off day. Despite comfortable wins over Turvey Park (78 points) and Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong (88 points), Beriman said the sides could not be discarded. He said only three rounds of the RFL has gone and too many things could happen before and during finals. "Like all the clubs we hope to avoid injuries, which can ruin a good start."
(Weekend Advertiser - Saturday April 27-28, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - TREVOR CLARKE
In just his third game back in the Griffith Swans colours, Trevor "Trucka" Clarke has already earned the upmost respect from his peers, both players and supporters, as a result of his willingness to put his body on the line at every contest and to run all day. Clarke, returning to the club after a four-year stint in his hometown of Osborne, was awarded the player's player award after last Saturday's game against Narandera. The player's player is the award voted on by the players and given to the person they believe was the most inspirational on the field, to the person who did everything in his power to win the game for his team. "Saturday's game was OK," said Clarke.
"My form is slowly improving after a late start to the pre-season, but I would like to think there is a fair bit of improvement left." Clarke's pre-season was hampered by a knee operation that he underwent last November to have a cyst removed. "I couldn't really get out onto the track at all until February, and again, I am still having a little bit of trouble with it. Even now I can't train every session, or it blows up too much and I can't walk the next day." Clarke has been playing the game for nearly 20 years now, starting at Osborne at the age of nine, and then into the senior team. It was the start of 1996 that first brought Clarke to Griffith, moving here with his employment.
Clarke played two seasons in his first stint and was successful in 1997 in winning the club's Senior Best and Fairest award. After that success, Clarke decided that he wished to play in the same team as his brothers. As all his brothers were back in Osborne to play seniors was enough for Clarke to make the move back to his hometown. It was a successful move for Clarke, being involved in a number of premierships. "The best was in 1999. We came up against Lockhart in the grand final and they hadn't lost a game all year.
They even had their premiership T-shirts already printed; they were that cocky. We got up by a point. "It was awesome, but that's why I'm not getting too excited about our prospects this year. "OK, we are four and zip at the moment, but anything can happen on the day. "That's always in the back of my mind, what happened that year to Lockhart." Clarke is looking forward to having the week off this weekend, due to a general bye for the Inter League game. "It'll give me a week to rest the knee and have it a lot better next week for East Wagga," he said.
(The Area News - Friday May 3, 2002).
SWANS TO PLAY IN REPRESENTATIVE GAME - By Rebecca Kroek
While the Riverina Football League has a general bye this weekend, a number of Griffith Swans players will still be in action when the RFL representative side takes on Farrer League at Narrandera tomorrow afternoon. Swans assistant-coach Phillip Rowston has been named captain of the RFL team, while seven others Griffith players have been selected in the squad, with the team for tomorrow to be finalised after training tonight. "I think it'll be a pretty even contest, because we definitely haven't got the big name players, we had last year and they (Farrer) are pretty confident," said Swans assistant-coach Jon O'Dwyer. O'Dwyer, who is in the RFL side for the second year in a row, said a number of the Griffith players have "niggling" injuries which they are trying to shake. "We're all sort of walking wounded at the moment," O'Dwyer said. Kaine Malone has been forced to withdraw from the RFL squad because of a thumb injury, while O'Dwyer has a sore heel and will see how he trains tonight. Dave Curran trained for the first time this week after missing two Swans games due to an ankle injury, while Matt Olney has not trained since limping off the field in the thirs quarter of last weekend's win over Narrandera and will need to prove his fitness tonight. Leading goalkicker for the RFL after four rounds, Danny Beriman, pulled up sore after the Narrandera game but O'Dwyer is confident he will be right to play tomorrow. The remaining two Griffith players named are Luke Condon and Michael Duncan, who O'Dwyer said will definitely play tomorrow, whether in the seniors or the under-21's. O'Dwyer said having eight players selected in this year's squad is "a true indicator" of how the Swans have started the season. (The Area News - Friday May 3, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - MATT OLNEY
Matthew Olney is one Swans player who wants to go all the way. He wants to all the way to the grand final in September and all the way to selection in the NSW team to contest the Australian Country Championship in South Australia come July.
Olney first played for Griffith way back in 1992 as a 12-year-old in juniors. He left in 1996 to move to Canberra under a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport, where he was part of the NSW/ACT Rams program.
Olney returned to Griffith in 1998 for a season of senior football, before an opportunity to gain a plumbing apprenticeship saw him move to Berrigan, where he had three excellent years of football. Now back in the red and white, Olney is relishing the opportunity of playing a key role in the teams fortunes, whether it be up forward, in the backline or rucking around the ground
. "I've played a few different positions this year. I started at full back, but now I seem to be playing more in the ruck and changing down in the forward line. "That's cool though, I don't mind snagging a few goals if I can," Olney said.
Olney's terrific form culminated in selection in the Riverina Football League representative team along with four of his Griffith mates.
"That was great. Week in week out you play for your team and your team colours, but to go out and represent the whole league, playing against the best players the other league can throw at you, and then play well, yeah, that was huge." Olney's game resulted in him being selected for the representative team to travel to Sydney to play against the best players of the Sydney leagues.
"If I play well there, I may even get selected for the NSW team to go to South Australia and play against teams from all over Australia
. I want to go as far as I can with my football, play the best I can, and rep footy is one way I can get to do that." This week though, Olney's mind will be on Saturday's game against Leeton-Whitton at Woodstock Oval, Leeton. "There's a great rivalry between us teams.
Over the past few years, they've slagged us off a bit in their papers and in other articles, so we like nothing better than to stick it up them." Griffith defeated Leeton on both occasions last year, the second victory knocking the Crows out of finals contention.
"They will be pretty keen to knock us off. Everyone loves to beat the league leaders, especially an undefeated team. We have to be prepared for this every week now. "After such a great start to the year, all teams will be extra determined to beat us when they come up against us.
I myself will go out there and have some fun with it, keep playing the same way I have so far this year, and hopefully the grand final and rep selection and stuff will look after itself." (The Area News - Friday May 17, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - MICHAEL DUNCAN
Emerging Swans' star Michael Duncan is a rare breed around the Griffith Australian Rules football team this year, as one of only a handful of current players to have spent their entire career in the red and white colours.
Duncan began playing at the age of five in the under 11's, a huge effort for a young boy of his size. It didn't take long for Duncan to shine out with his dazzling footwork and speed, assisting in him having an extremely successful junior career and winning three premierships.
In 1999, at 16 years of age, Duncan stepped up to under 18's football and was captain of another premiership side, also taking out the best and fairest award in a stellar year. It was in '99 that the senior team began to realise the potential Duncan had and started to include him in their side to give him invaluable experience for the future. Duncan played six senior games that year and another six in 2000, where he spent the majority of the year in the reserves causing havoc and was part of the team that lost the grand final in overtime.
"That was probably the best game of football I have ever been involved in," Duncan said. "Even though we lost, the game had everything. The skill level was high, the commitment from every player was amazing, the excitement.
It was just a great game to be playing in." Duncan has now cemented his place in the firsts, and last week's game against Leeton-Whitton showed to all watching how much he adds to the team's structure. 'Class', 'skillful' and 'just too good' were comments heard in the crowd as Duncan, and the rest of his teammates gave Leeton a football lesson. "We are playing very good football.
To be honest, if we don't win the premiership this year, I'll be devastated," Duncan said. "It's just a great team, a great bunch of blokes, and a fantastic club to be playing for."
Duncan's own form led the RFL selection in the inter-league game two weeks ago against the Farrer League at Narrandera.
Another classy performance there has seen him selected to travel to Sydney this weekend as part of the MVAFA team to take on the Sydney Football League. At 19 years of age, Duncan is easily the youngest member of the team, but is taking it all in stride.
"Rep footy is great. The skills at training are so good that you have to keep lifting your own standards to stay with the other blokes.
Playing with the best players, in the league obviously helps your own game improve too." Having made the RFL side was my goal at the start of the year. Now I guess I'll just have to concentrate on besting Jamie Bennett in the goalkicking," he laughed.
(The Area News - Friday May 24, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - BEN WADE
You could not have written a better script for Ben Wade's game for the Griffith Swans senior side against Coolamon last weekend if you were a screenwriter in Hollywood. Five kicks in the first quarter for five goals, showing all the skills in the book. From taking high marks to roving packs at ground level, Wade showed his immense talent that forced the selectors to include him in their undefeated team.
Wade ended the match with six goals and a hand in several others in a performance that can only be described as a dream come true.
"I was very nervous before the game," Wade commented this week. "To look around and see players I've respected for years, such as Jono and Rowdy, and to be running out with them was pretty good."
Wade will remember his first kick in senior football. "I took a chest mark off a mongrel kick into the forward line. I was about 35 metres out, pretty much straight in front and kicked it through. "In the years to come, it will probably end up being 65 metres out on the boundary."
In fact, Wade's first five kicks were all goals, a feat that is unlikely to ever happened before anywhere. "It was a good start, but I want to stay in the ones now. I've trained fairly solidly all week and hope I get picked again."
Wade's career began back in the under-11's at the age of eight in 1993. Progressing through the age groups, Wade found some team success in 1999 as part of the premiership team in the under-16s, while just 14 years of age.
Personal success was found last year when Wade was successful in winning the under-16s best and fairest. Its been the last two years that Wade's football has really started to take off. "A couple of years ago I was just going through the motions and was not playing that well and was a bit overweight. "Then I just decided to have a crack, and I've trained really hard, lost a lot of weight and have grown a bit of height, which has helped. I do extra running and gym work, and all that hard work is starting to pay off," he said.
Until last weekend game against Coolamon, Wade has spent the year playing for the under-18s, of which he is captain. "Being named captain was a pretty big honour. There are a few good players in the team, so for Hilly and Drisco to choose me was great," he said.
Wade still dreams of playing in the yellow and black of the Richmond Football Club in the AFL. "Which kid doesn't dream of that," he said.
For now, his dream is to play in the senior side of the Griffith Swans side and let his footy continue to develop.
(The Area News - Friday June 7, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - SHANE RUYG
Kicking 17 goals in a game of Australian Rules Football is a feat not too many players can lay claim to having done. In last weekend's game against Mangoplah-CUE, Griffith Swans player Shane Ruyg tallied 17 goals in the reserves game, an outstanding effort that earned him the Player of the Week award. Ruyg was extremely modest when contacted regarding his performance. "I was on the end of some fantastic delivery and had plenty of opportunities as the ball was coming into the forward line fairly regularly," Ruyg said.
"I've never kicked 17 goals before. My previous best was 14 in the juniors back in Donald." Ruyg began his football career in the Victorian country town of Donald as a 12-year-old. Breaking into the seniors in 1987, Ruyg played four years of senior football for his hometown and was part of a senior premiership victory in 1989. Ruyg relocated to Griffith in 1991 and is one of just five still active players from that year, the year in which the Griffith first grade side last competed in the grand final. "That was probably my best year of footy for the club, I was the leading goal kicker for the year at half forward flank with 72 goals. We really should have won the premiership too," he reminisced. Apart from 1996 and 1997, when Ruyg moved to Queanbeyan for a crack at the stronger Canberra league, he has played for Griffith ever since.
Ruyg's career has generally been spent in the senior side, except for 2000 when injury forced him to miss a number of games and resulted in him playing out the year in the reserves and was an integral member of the side which lost the grand final in overtime.
Ruyg began this year in the senior side, however injury and form have again seen him relegated to a stint in the twos. "I wasn't getting a lot of the ball in the ones. Ebo (Cian Ebert) talked to me about going back down to the ressies and just try to get a bit of confidence back, to try and kick a few goals. "That's just what I'm trying to do, and hopefully, at some stage, I might get the call up again.
While it's great to be running around in the twos, I still have aspirations of playing senior footy again," he said. While the senior side is travelling as nicely as it is at present, Ruyg may have to bide his time in the reserves. Though much of the talk around town is about how well the seniors are doing, the reserves side is also undefeated with no team really having got close to defeating then yet.
Ruyg will simply continue to play his best, no matter which team he is selected in. (The Area News - Friday June 14, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - SHAWN CONLAN
Shawn Conlan started playing football for Barellan in 1983. The highlight of his football career has been beating Ungarie in the (1998) grand final when playing for Barellan. Shawn played in the Northern Riverina Football League for 7 years before making the move to the more competitive Riverina Football League. He is currently playing his third season for the club with with a very consistent run in the senior side. Over the time Shawn has played 42 senior games. Last season he managed three goals, which was a sensational effort from the back pocket position. With the Swans travelling so well this year, Shawn is looking forward to reaching some excellent milestones with the club. In August, Shawn will play his 50th senior game and if he can hold his position in a very competitive team, looks like he will be playing finals series this year. (The Area News - Friday June 21, 2002).
GRIFFITH SWANS PLAYER OF THE WEEK - JEFF MICKAN
Entering into the sanctity of marriage can effect a footballer in varying ways. For Jeff Mickan, since his special day three weeks ago at the Exies-on-Burrell, his football form has flourished. Over the past three weeks, Mickan has had to take on a larger responsibility around the half forward area due to a leg injury to Griffith Swans big man David Curran, but it is a responsibility that Mickan is enjoying.
"I prefer to play forward. Over the past few years, I've been playing mostly in the backline, and it has taken me a while to become accustomed to the pace of the league coming from Barellan. This has been my best season for Griffith, though," Mickan said. Mickan began his Australian Rules career at the age of 11 in the Barellan under-12s. He continued to play fot the Two Blues and was rewarded with senior selection in 1996 and was an integral part of the team which won three premierships in a row from 1996 to 1998.
It was in the year 2000 that Mickan, along with good friend Shawn Conlan, decided to come to Griffith to play a higher standard of football against the Wagga teams. Mickan immediately made an impression with his flexibility and strong marking and the will this week line up for his 47th senior game in the red and white. "Barring injuries, I'll play my 50th game against Coolamon. I'm looking forward to that, " he said. Mickan was reasonably happy with the team's performance to date, is wary of becoming over confident too early.
"We are very well positioned at this stage, but we now know there are two or three contenders for the premiership in Turvey Park, Ganmain and possibly Coolamon or even East Wagga," he said. "I remember back in 1998 when playing for Barellan and we didn't beat Ungarie all year but managed to win the grand final by five points. It just goes to show that nothing is for certain.
This weekend Mickan and his teammates will line up against Narrandera on the wide-open spaces at Narrandera. Mickan will be hoping that marriage continues to have a good effect on his performance, and that the team can come away with another victory.
(The Area News - Friday June 28, 2002).
CLARKE TO PLAY HIS 50TH SENIOR GAME THIS SUNDAY
Several Griffith Swans players will achieve their milestone this year when they play their 50th senior game. The first of these is Trevor Clarke, who will have the honour of leading the team onto the Narrandera Sportsground this Sunday. Trevor commenced his junior football with Osborne in 1983 when at the age of eight, he played under-14s. H played with the Sydney Swans under-11s at the age of nine and was chosen for the under-14s state squad in 1985 when only 10. In 1992 he was runner-up best and fairest for the Osborne reserves, going one better in 1993 and winning it. Trevor played in Osborne's first grade premiership teams in 1994 and 1995.
In 1996 and 1997 Trevor played for Griffith Swans, chalking up 40 games in two seasons and being runner-up for the best and fairest in1996 and winning the now defunct Coca Cola award for the best and fairest and the players player award.
In 1997 Trevor won the first grade best and fairest. In 1998 Trevor returned to Osborne to play with his brothers and they won premierships for the next four consecutive years. Trevor has played 100 senior games for Osborne and won the coaches award in 2000 and best and fairest in finals for 2001. During all those years Trevor has lived in Griffith and travelled each week to Osborne to play and the Griffith Swans are delighted that he has now decided he's had enough of travelling and agreed to play with them again.
He is without doubt an integral part of the team. (The Area News - Friday June 28, 2002)..
MICKAN AND GIASON TO PLAY 50th SENIOR GAME FOR THE SWANS
Jeff Mickan commenced his junior football at 12 years of age with Barellan. He came to the Swans in 2000 and is one of the team's most consistent players, having not missed a game since he joined the club. During his time at Barellan, Mickan played in three premiership sides from 1996 to 1999. He was named most improved in 1996, most consistent in 1997 and 1999, and in 1998 he was named the Two Blues best and fairest player. In his first year at the Griffith club he won the prestigious coach's award from Jon O'Dwyer. This season Mickan has been used in several positions and acquitted himself well. He is a very strong mark and is fast becoming known as "sticky fingers" because there are very few times when he doesn't hold a mark when he flies for it. He travels in from Barellan three times a week for training and is a very dedicated and popular member of the team.
Brendan Giason is a soccer convert, not taking up the game of Australian Rules until 1997 when he was 21. He made first grade in his first season at the game and has shown great talent. Unfortunately work commitments prevented him from participating in the 2001 season and only played nine reserve games and three senior games. However, this season has been better for Giason as he has only missed one game. In 2000 Brendan won the award for the most improved. Giason is an important cog in the Swans' wheel and is hoping he can be part of a Swans' premiership side. (The Area News - Friday July 19, 2002).
DUNCAN TO PLAY HIS 50th SENIOR GAME FOR THE SWANS
Michael Duncan, who will play his 50th senior game this Saturday, commenced his junior football with the Griffith Swans in Mod Rules in 1988 at the age of six and has been playing for 13 years.
When Duncan was eight, he began playing in the under-11s and stayed in this age group for four years from 1990-93. During this time won a couple of coach's awards, a premiership and best and fairest in 1992 as well as best clubman. In the under 13s Michael played in two grand finals and won one premiership. He also picked up a best and fairest in 1995.
In 1996 be played under-15s, then stepped up to under-18s in 1997 at the age of 15. The same year he represented Riverina CHS at the State Championships, played in the undefeated premiership winning under-15s, was runner-up for best and fairest and took out the Ian Manning Memorial Award for Footballer of the Year. In 1998 Duncan won the Gloria Butcher Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year and played his first senior game under coach Phillip Rowston.
He also played games for the reserves and won the most improved trophy. The following year saw Duncan win the under-18s best and fairest and captain their premiership team.
In 2000 Duncan played with the NSW/ACT Rams and in six senior games but qualified to play reserves for the finals that year and won the best in finals award. Duncan played his first full season in the seniors in 2001, winning the most consistent and he has not missed a game since. Duncan has also had a fantastic representative record.
He represented the SWJFL from 1992-97; RFL under-18s in 1998 and 1999 and was vice captain in 2000. His senior representative games include RFL v Farrer, and MVAFA v Sydney this year.
He was also picked in the New South Wales squad but just failed to make the team for the State Championships last weekend. Duncan is the kind of footballer a club dreams about, as he is dedicated and passionate about the game. After 13 years most footballers have had enough, but not Duncan. At 19 years of age, he has his best years ahead of him and 200 games should be just a formality. (The Area News - Friday August 2, 2002).
SWANS DUO TO CELEBRATE THEIR 50th SENIOR GAME
While the Griffith Swans will be chasing a win over Turvey Park this Sunday to stake their claim on the minor premiership, they could also be hoping to take the points for another reason. Both Kaine Malone and Jon O'Dwyer play their 50th game for the Swans this Sunday and while be hoping it is one to remember for the right reasons.
Kaine Malone is another of the very important Barellan connection currently playing for the Griffith Swans. Malone commenced his football as a junior with Barellan playing in the under-8s. He continued playing rules until he was 12 and then switched to rugby league for four years returning to play with the Barellan under-17s in 1993 where he won most improved. In 1994 be played both under-17s and seniors winning the under-17s best and fairest award. The following saw his first full season with the seniors playing in the premiership side as well as winning the most improved award. In 1996 Malone played under-18s and reserves for the Wodonga Raiders and in 1997 went to Leeton where his brother Jason was playing, picking up the most improved award. In 1998 he also travelled back from Wagga to play for Leeton, but in 1999 he decided to stop travelling and had a season with North Wagga where he won the best backman and most determined awards. With the opportunity to again play with brother Jason, Malone moved to Griffith in 2000 and being an integral part of the senior side won the best and fairest award - and who will ever forget the longest acceptance speech in history! Malone again played seniors in 2001 and until this year had not missed a game. This season he has played a couple of games in the reserves but now seems to have consolidated his position in the senior side.
Jon O'Dwyer commenced his junior football with Barooga in 1981 and then went to play for Assumption College. In 1989 he was a member of the Sydney Swans under-19s side and was runner-up for their best and fairest. His first senior game of football was with Sydney University in 1991 and he won their best and fairest. He played for them again in 1992 then the following year returned to Barooga and was runner-up for their best and fairest. He continued with Barooga for 1994 and 1995, once again being runner-up best and fairest in his last year there. In 1996 O'Dwyer played for East Sydney and in 1997 he went to Queanbeyan for three years, being runner-up in '97 for their best and fairest. O'Dwyer also has an impressive representative record. He played under-17s for Picola FL in 1986, 1988, in 1992 represented Sydney FL, in 1994/95 was chosen in the Murray FL team and was its best player. In 1997-98 he represented ACTFL and in 2001-02 he represented the Riverina Football League. This year also he was named the RFL's best player when they took on Sydney. O'Dwyer came to Griffith as coach in 2000 and can take a lot of credit for the side he handed over to Cian Ebert this year. He laid the foundation over the past two years and always believed that the Swans "were just about there". With the inclusion of a couple of former players who returned to the fold and Cian's ability as a coach and player, the Swans are there. A tough footballer who plays with a passion. O'Dwyer is determined that he will do anything in his power to ensure a Swans premiership and is playing the best football of his career for the Swans.
(The Area News - Friday August 9, 2002).
ROWSTON FOUND NOT GUILTY AT TRIBUNAL - By Peter Baker
Griffith centre Phil Rowston was found not guilty of attacking the head of an opponent by the Murrumbidgee Valley Australian Football Association tribunal at Ganmain Bowling Club last night. Rowston was appearing before the tribunal after being cited by Turvey Park for an incident in the second quarter of the game at the Ex-Servicemen's Oval, Griffith on Sunday, August 11. As a result of a tackle by Rowston, Turvey Park wingman Josh Kennedy broke his jaw in two places. Tribunal chairman Peter Kimpton said it could not be proven that Rowston's arm broke Kennedy's jaw. "It was not an easy case to hear but after exhausting all avenues of questioning we believe Kennedy broke his jaw when his head hit the ground," Kimpton said. The tribunal listened to evidence and viewed a video of the incident for 90 minutes before taking another 30 minutes to decide Rowston was not guilty.
A relieved Rowston said he was glad the hearing was over and all he wanted to concentrate on was next Sunday's game against Narrandera. While central umpire Craig Hooper did not attend the tribunal, he submitted a letter which one tribunal member asserted did not coincide with any of the evidence presented. The video showed Rowston attempting to intercept a hand-pass from Turvey Park half-back flanker Michael Wheatley to Kennedy and when he failed, he made the tackle. As Rowston initially tackled Kennedy with his left arm, the two players spun 360 degrees to the ground and a penalty was given by Hooper but no report was made. Griffith witness, former umpire Gary Gardner, said Hooper was in perfect position for the situation. (The Daily Advertiser - Friday, August 23, 2002).
SWANS SCORE RARE TRIPLE - By Rebecca Kroek
The Griffith Swans dominated the Riverina Football League leading goal kicking tables after the competition of home and away games, with Danny Beriman, in the first grade, Shane Ruyg in reserves and Ashley Gardner in under-18s finishing with the most majors in the league. It was an impressive season for the Swans, with all three grades making the finals and the firsts and reserves both taking out minor the premiership. Beriman finished with 80 goals for the season and he and Ruyg, who kicked 130 in reserve grade, have been clear leaders for much of the season. In the under-18s Gardner has had a battle with Leeton-Whitton's Paul Hanrahan and it was not until a 10-goal effort in the last game against Narrandera that he edged ahead by two, finishing with 67 majors to Hanrahan's 65. While Beriman, Ruyg and Gardner were pleased to finish as leading goal kickers, all agree that a premiership is something they would treasure even more. "I'm fairly pleased with it, I didn't expect to be playing in the position (full forward) I've been playing," Beriman said. "I just wanted to work hard and have a good year, I more wanted to win a premiership than play well myself." It was while playing at full forward for much of the first half of the season that Beriman took an early lead in the goal kickers' list, his best hauls coming against Turvey Park and Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, with 11 goals in each game. Although switching to the ruck in recent weeks, he has continued to add to his total and after booting five against Narrandera last weekend, he finished with 80 goals for the season. This put him well clear of the rest of the field in first grade, with second place filled by Turvey Park's Andrew Loughman who kicked 44. Beriman's focus on the start of the year was to work hard in training to give himself the best chance possible of having a good season and his hard work has payed off. With the home and away games finished and the Swans in first place on the table, Beriman's next goal is for the team to win the grand final. "I think the last two years we been building up to it ... (this year) everyone's done the jobs that they've had to do," Beriman said. "I think everyone's got the same goal, the same mindset, that hard work's what we've built everything on."
While Shane Ruyg is pleased to kick more than 100 goals in a season for the first time in his career, he agrees with Beriman that the premiership is more important, especially as he has not won one in 12 years with the Swans. "It was the first time I've ever kicked 100 and obviously to kick that many in only 14 games wasn't too bad," he said. "It been a good year, but in retrospect it doesn't mean much if we didn't win the grand final, so that's my main aim." The reserves grade Swans are looking in good form heading into the finals, having won all 17 of their games this season, many by huge scores. Ruyg said while regularly winning by more than 100 points can lead to complacency, he has no doubt the players will lift for the finals. "At times winning by so much makes it a little bit tough to get motivated, but I don't think it'll take much for the boys to get motivated in the finals ... there's a light at the end of the tunnel in finals," he said.
Meanwhile, in the under-18s, Ashley Gardner lined up against Narrandera last Sunday knowing that he needed to kick at least nine goals to pass Hanrahan, who had booted seven the day before. However, he started the game thinking more about beating Narrandera to give the Swans a chance at the finals than worrying about goals. "At the start I was just hoping that we'd go out there and win the game and then we were winning pretty easily, so I started looking for them (goals)," Gardner said. "I'm excited, I just missed out last year by a couple of goals, so I wanted to get there this year," he said. As with his senior clubmates, Gardner's aim now is on the Swans making their way through the finals, although the under-18s have a tough road to win the premiership from fifth place. (The Area News - Friday August 30, 2002).
TEEN KEEN TO CAP TOP YEAR - By Peter Baker
A premiership for Griffith wingman Mick Duncan will cap his most successful season since breaking into Riverina Football League seniors in 1998. Mick, 19, and older brother Rod, 22, will be among the 22 Swans attempting to win Griffith's first premiership since 1968 when they take the field against Turvey Park in the grand final at Narrandera Sportsground on Sunday. Individual success again went to Mick last Friday when he won the RFL/Tooheys New Rising Star for 2002 and collected $500 prizemoney. Mick also polled 13 votes in the Jim Quinn Memorial Medal. This season Mick has gained RFL and Murrumbidgee Valley Australian Football Association representation and was named in the initial New South Wales squad to contest the Australian Championships. Mick said while the individual success is fine, nothing substituted for a premiership. He said everything revolved around teamwork and he would not have won the award without the help of his team-mates.
A keen observer at the preliminary final, Mick said Turvey Park's win against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong was impressive. "The Bulldogs who have returned to the side have made a difference," Mick said. "The ball went wide a lot, but they are a good running side and will want to use the Narrandera Sportsground in similar fashion in the grand final. "The effort of Simon Nimmo in kicking nine goals sounded a warning to our defenders. "He ran into spaces and made good position to kick for goal. "Full forward Andrew Loughman kicked eight goals against us in one game (June 16) so they have options up forward."
The Swans' best and fairest last season Rod Duncan said he expected a close result after the sides had recorded big wins on the three occasions, they have met during the home and away series. He said the sides have measured up their respective strengths and the game could be decided on accuracy, pressure and mistakes. "I think the game will be pretty physical and quick with no margin for error. "Our game plan is not likely to change with long kicks to our high markers in Dave Curran, Danny Beriman and Andrew Hill. "We have had a good preparation over the four weeks and coach Cian Ebert is leaving nothing to chance." (The Daily Advertiser - Wednesday, September 18, 2002).
CONLAN CLAN TO SHARE BIG DAY - By Peter Baker
It will be 34 years today on Sunday that Frank Conlan played in Griffith's last premiership side in the now defunct South West League. He will be a spectator when the Swans meet Turvey Park in the Riverina Football League decider at Narrandera Sportsground this weekend.
Conlan will have a keen interest in the game and its outcome, but his main thoughts will be on his two sons, Shawn, 25, and Craig, 23, as they play their part in Griffith's effort to win its first senior pennant since 1968. It was on Narrandera Sportsground on September 22, 1968, that Griffith won its second South West League pennant, defeating Ariah Park-Mirrool. Conlan said Griffith's biggest break came when it beat Ariah Park by a point in the major semi-final to get into the grand final. "It left Ariah Park to play Ganmain in the preliminary final and that was another tough encounter for them," Conlan said. "The footballers that Ariah Park-Mirrool had were outstanding in Ricky Quade, Jim Prentice, Noel Walker, the coach Vern Drake, the Chalmers boys, Allan and Bruce, and several others. "Unfortunately for Ariah Park many of them were carrying injuries, which came from a hard campaign they endured during that finals' series.
Taking his mind back to that sunny afternoon, Conlan said there were not many similarities between Griffith then and the Swans of today.
He said the style of football had changed and the rules were markedly different. "We had a lot of ability, talent and good footballers but we did not train as hard as they do today," Conlan said. "To put it another way we were not as professional. "I think the running style of game today is a lot easier and if a footballer does not pick up between 10-15 possessions, then he is lazy.
"We only had one umpire to control that big Narrandera ground and this Sunday there will be three. "There is the threat of the send-off rule, which can make a huge difference in a grand final, if a side is one man short for 15 minutes and the day is hot.
"The quality of the footballers then was better than for the style of game which was played. "Players of a high calibre were sprinkled throughout all the clubs in the South West. Footballers were coming out of Melbourne seeking coaching positions for a few pounds. "It was cheaper to get through the gate, and the crowds were good and there was plenty of atmosphere."
Conlan, a true half-back flanker, played alongside one of the all-time greats of Griffith Australian football in centre halfback Sid Robins and formed a strong first line of defence with John Candusso. Conlan said diminutive captain-coach and full forward Ron O'Neill was the game-breaker. (The Daily Advertiser - Thursday, September 19, 2002)
SUNDAY A RED AND WHITE AFFAIR FOR KEEN GRIFFITH SWANS SUPPORTER - By Rebecca Kroek
Staunch Griffith Swans supporter Mary Collins will be donning the red and white when she heads to Narrandera on Sunday to cheer on the first and reserve grade sides in the 2002 Riverina Football League grand finals. While reserve grade found victory in 1997, the Swans club has not won a first-grade premiership trophy since 1968. Both sides take on Turvey Park in this year's premiership decider, with the first-grade side in the grand final for the first time since 1991 and Mary wouldn't miss it for the world.
"My word, we'll all be lined up in our red and white," she said. "I reckon it must be our turn now, I hope somebody's told that to Turvey Park." Mary is originally a convert from rugby union, saying. "I followed rugby for three years before I ever saw an Aussie Rules game.
In 1948 that changed, when she and a friend had nothing much to do one Saturday so they jumped on the supporters' bus going over to watch the Swans seconds play in Whitton. "From there on I was a staunch supporter," Mary said. She met her husband, Jack, through the Swans club. He played in 1952 and although not a member of the premiership winning side, he did play during that year. Jack still attends all home games and assists by selling raffle tickets down the street.
Mary and Jack have a large family and two of their sons, Darrell and Greg, both played over 200 games for the Swans. Darrell was president from 1994 to 1997 and is currently part of the Supporter' Club, while Greg was the recruiting director for the past three years and this season is coaching the undefeated reserve grade side and is a selector for the seniors.
Both Darrell and Greg were made life members of the Swans club after playing 200 games, while Mary was made a life member in 1958. Mary was a founding member of the Ladies Auxiliary and its first president in 1949 and served on the club committee from 1979 to 2000. She became secretary of the club in 1979 and held the position for six years. "No one in the league at that stage had ever had a women secretary," Mrs Collins said, but when no one else wanted the job, she was nominated and served for six years.
She was then joint treasurer for two years, before taking on the position of president in 1985, which as far as is understood, made her the first president of a football club in Australia. She again took on the job of secretary in 1989 and 1990 and remained a member of the committee until 2000. During this time Mrs Collins also helped out on the canteen with the Women's Auxiliary when she had time and whenever someone wanted to know something it was always "ask Mary". "I think it's the friendships, you make great friends in this sort of thing, and I have ... then when the boys played that was an added interest." Mary said of why she has had such a long association with the club. "Also, you can take the kids along to the football ... we enjoyed it and we just kept on going."
Mary remembers the Swans 1968 grand final victory, as well as the 1952 premiership win, and she believes it is time for Griffith to claim another title. "I keep telling them if they don't hurry up it'll be too late for me, I'll be gone," she said with a smile. And she'll be there on Sunday, cheering on the boys in the red and white to victory. (The Area News - Friday, September 20, 2002).
GAME ON, SAYS SWANS STAR - By Peter Baker
Griffith centre half forward Dave Curran is predicting a close finish when he lines up against Turvey Park in the Riverina Football League grand final at Narrandera Sportsground tomorrow. Although the margins have been clear cut between the sides on the three occasions, they have met this season, Curran believes various circumstances inflated the previous results.
"This time the sides are at full strength on a neutral ground in what should be the game of the year," Curran said. "Turvey Park have played four times, including three finals, on Narrandera this season and I reckon that is worth something. "They have additions since we last beat them by 46 points on the Ex-Servicemen's Oval and have run into form at the right time of the year."
The two New South Wales Capitol Territory Rams, Brent Fraser and Bryce Campbell, coming back has also been a boost for them."
An ankle injury forced Curran off the ground after only one quarter when the sides met on April 14 with the Swans winning by 78 points. The ankle injury kept Curran out for the second meeting (June 16) that went to Turvey Park by 74 points. In his comeback game from ankle problems, Curran kicked 3.2 to combine with Andrew Hill and Danny Beriman to play an integral part in the 46 points success on August 10.
Coming from Robinvale in the Sunraysia League three seasons ago, Curran has established himself among the best footballers in the RFL.
A representative player, Curran believes Turvey Park captain-coach Jeremy Masterson will be in the backline at some stage of tomorrow's decider. "I know he has been starting in midfield, but I believe he produces his best football when he is in the backline, Curran said.
"He is a straight through type footballer who can thwart an attack." (Weekend Advertiser - Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002).