2003 RFNL SEASON
Apr 5 MCUE (h) Apr 13 GGGM (a) Apr 25 NI (h) May 4 CR (a) May 11 TP (h) May 18 LW (a) May 24 Rep Jun1 EWK (h) Jun 7 MCUE (a) Jun 15 GGGM (h) Jun 21 NI (a) Jun 29 CR (h) Jul 6 TP (a) Jul 13 LW (h) Jul 19 EWK (a) Aug 3 MCUE (h) Aug 10 GGGM (a) Aug 17 NI (h) Aug 24 CR (a)
Finals - Aug 30 QF Aug 31 EF Sep 6 SF1 Sep 7 SF2 Sep 14 PF Sep 21 GF
Ladders Player Stats Record Swans Awards RFL Awards
Click on image to enlarge
IN: Dennis Dunstan (Lake Cargelligo), Anthony Greely (Cora Lynn), Ajay Kearney, Brett Lanyon, Matthew McDonald (Ardlethan), Jason Vant (Urana).
OUT: Danny Beriman (Robinvale), Chris Blanchard (work), Luke Condon, Shayne Driscoll (Werrimull), Josh Fisher (Barellan), Graham Foley (Hillston Swans), David Kidman, Shane Ruyg (Werrimull), Jeremy Way (Barellan).
WADE TAKES ON FOURTH TERM AS SWANS PRESIDENT
The Griffith Swans held their annual general meeting on last week and popular president for the past three years, Ian Wade was returned unopposed. The executive remains basically the same with George Duncan, former junior liaison director, now vice president. The other members of the executive were also returned unopposed, Ffiona Beverley moving into her fourth year as secretary and Damien Scott taking on his second year as treasurer. The directors are Don Harrison (fundraising), Bob and Brenda Spears (catering), Simon Spiers (social), Shane Best (football), Grant Lamont (sponsorship), Steve Best (junior liaison) and Louise Hornery (netball liaison).
In his president report Wade said what a great year it was despite not having won the big one. He said the support around the club this year, both on and off the field had been fantastic and whilst the devastation that was felt after the grand final will take a long way to go away, the club should not dwell on the past, but look forward to next season. Treasurer Damien Scott presented the accounts which showed an excellent result with a good operating profit at the end of the day and the club in a sound position financially.
The Griffith Swans confirmed in September that Cian Ebert would once again lead the Swans for the 2003 season and would be assisted by Jon O'Dwyer and Phillip Rowston. With a 100 per cent coaching record against his name, Greg Collins has again been appointed reserve grade coach and would be assisted by Greg Dreyer. The position of under-18's coach remains vacant at the moment, but the committee is speaking to a player at the moment and hopes to be able to announce that position in the near future. And due to public demand, the next reverse draw on Sunday 17th November has moved from the Exies-on-Burrell back to the Sporties. (The Area News - Wednesday, November 6, 2002).
SWANS TOO STRONG FOR HAY LIONS
The Griffith Swans Football Club travelled to Hay on Sunday for their first trial game of the 2003 season. The team consisted of under-18's, reserves and first grade players who played six-20 minute quarters. The Swans were far too strong for the Hay Lions, winning every quarter to run out winners 23.16 (154) to 5.2 (32). Newcomers Jason Vant and Matt McDonald settled in and played well. Shawn Conlan, Jon O'Dwyer and Jeff Mickan all enjoyed the move up forward and kicked six goals between them. Matt Olney was again flying high in the ruck and around the ground, taking marks and setting up play. Rod Duncan and Craig Conlan were both consistent and picked up many kicks. Dom Giorgi fitted back into the team after a couple of years away and kicked two goals. Greg Dreyer also kicked two goals. Under-18's player Jason Hampel did well in his first senior game, while Mick Duncan continued on from last year to finish with seven goals. Damien Scott, Andrew Hill and Simon Spiers kept the backline together all day. The next hit out for the Swans will be the inter-club game tonight at 6pm at the Exies number two oval. As there is less than four weeks before the Swans' first game, the coaches urge intending players to come along to training. The under-18's will hold their first training session on Friday at 6pm. A barbecue for family and supporters will follow training and inter-club game.
The Swans Football Club would like to announce that due to health reasons, Greg Collins has resigned as reserve coach. Last season in his first season as coach, Collins took the reserves grade side to a premiership and the club wishes him all the best for a speedy recovery and thank him for his efforts. Greg Dreyer, who is a Life Member of the Griffith Swans and has played over 200 first grade games, will take over as reserve grade coach. The Swans will be holding a special thank you night for their sponsors at Exies-on-Burrell on Saturday night, March 29 at 6.30pm. The senior players will be presented with their jumpers for the 2003 season. The Swans reverse draw will be on Sunday, April 27 at 1pm at Exies-on-Burrell. Tickets are now on sale through Don Harrison (Wade Transport), Bob Spears (Griffith Newsagency) and Damien Scott (TLE). Griffith Swans first game in 2003 RFL competition will be a day-night game on Saturday, April 5 against MCUE. (The Area News - Friday March 14, 2003).
JASON MALONE TO PLAY 50th GAME FOR SWANS
Jason Malone plays his 50th senior game for the Griffith Swans on Anzac Day, in the day-night game against Narrandera tonight. He is one of the Barellan connection, having joined the Swans for the 2000 season via Leeton-Whitton where he played 48 senior games. Jason commenced his junior football as a rugby leaguer playing for the Barellan under-10's team, then switched to Australian Rules. In 1991 and 1992 he won the Most Improved Award. In 1995 he played under-15's for Ardlethan as well as under-17's for Barellan, winning Barellan's Coach's Award in 1995. He played his first senior game for Barellan in 1996. From 1997 to 1999 Jason played with the Leeton-Whitton Crows, earning Best First Year Player Award in 1997. In 1998 he was selected in the MVAFA under-18's side which played against Sydney. In 2000 Jason came to Griffith with his brother Kaine also signing with the Swans, they planned on playing their 50th games together. Jason was one of only a handful of players to play all 18 games in 2000, following it with 17 in 2001 and winning the award for Best Utility Player. Unfortunately injury in 2002 saw Jason only play 12 senior games and the Malone's missed their double celebration. Jason has become an integral part of the Swans senior side and if the first couple of games are anything to go by, is playing his best football and is looking forward to leading his side onto the Exies Oval on Anzac Day against Narrandera. (The Area News - Friday April 25, 2003).
SWANS HONOURED TO PLAY ON ANZAC DAY - By Rebecca Kroek
The Griffith Swans take on Narrandera in a day-night game at the Exies Oval tonight, with coach Cian Ebert describing it as a "real honour" to be playing on Anzac Day. While Ebert is hoping the Swans make it three from three with a win tonight, he is also keen for the Anzac Day clash to become an annual tradition. "It's sentimental in the fact that it's a real honour to be playing on Anzac Day and none of us have ever played before (on Anzac Day)," Ebert said.
"It's a really respectful day and it's great that we have the opportunity to do it, hopefully we can make it a tradition." The Swans kicked off the season with wins over Mangoplah-CUE and Ganmain-GGM. the victory over the Lions, a comeback one after trailing at half-time.
Griffith kicked seven goals in the third term to launch the comeback and then run away with the game in the final quarter, another seven-goal effort for a 51-point win. "You always want to get off to a good start and to be two and zero, you can't do much better than that," Ebert said. "The support and the commitment the boys showed in the last quarter at Ganmain is something we should be striving to achieve every week ... it was a really good feeling and a really good come-from-behind win."
Meanwhile, Narrandera is winless after two rounds, suffering losses to Leeton-Whitton and East Wagga-Kooringal, but Ebert in not expecting an easy clash tonight. "Playing Narrandera is always a good contest, they back themselves pretty well and really make it a physical contest," he said. "We had last week off so everyone's pretty fresh and keen to keep the ball rolling."
The Swans lineup is almost back to full-strength after sustaining some injuries in the first game against MCUE.
While Dave Curran will be unavailable for several more weeks and there is a question mark over Michael Duncan's fitness, the rest of the players are available for selection for tonight. Ebert will play his first for the Riverina Football League season, while Trevor Clarke has also returned, and Ebert said it will be "great to have him back".
Looking to make it three wins from three games, Ebert is also hoping for plenty of home crowd support tonight against Narrandera.
"Hopefully people can get down and have a bit of a watch, it should be a good game and a good day," he said.
With Farrer League club Marrar forced to move its home game for this weekend due to hardness of its home ground, because of water restrictions, Ebert said the Exies oval is in great condition. "I think we're really lucky and probably sometimes don't appreciate how lucky we are to have a ground in the condition it is in, we'd like to thank the Exies and their ground staff, it's just magnificent," he said.
(The Area News - Friday April 25, 2003).
AFTER SURPRISE SELECTION WADE PRIMED FOR DEBUT - By Peter Baker
Griffith fullback Ben Wade is going beyond his expectations in football as the representative fixtures get under way tomorrow. Primed for his senior debut representing Riverina Football League against the mysterious Black Diamond League at Maher Oval tomorrow, Wade, 17, was taken by surprise when named in the side on Wednesday night. Wade - 187 centimetres and 86 kilograms - had set his goal this season to become a permanent fixture in the Swans side as they strive for their first premiership since 1968.
"I was just glad to be named in the RFL squad to prepare for tomorrow's game and did not think I had a big chance of making the run-on-side," Wade said. "When my name was read out, I was totally rapt. "The side is young and enthusiastic - average age around 21 years - and has plenty of runners. "Bevan Rowe, the coach wants us to use the open spaces and run the ball as much as possible."
Tomorrow's game is important to Wade and any other footballers with aspirations for representative duty this season. Not only is tomorrow's game a first between RFL and Black Diamond but it is also important trial for New South Wales selectors who must name a side to play Australian Capital Territory at Manuka Oval, Canberra on July 26.
A member of the NSW/ACT Rams before the cut this season, Wade has quickly developed into one of the best back men in RFL.
Wade who made his senior debut as a forward pocket and kicked six goals in the first two quarters against Coolamon on June 2, 2002, a feat which caught the eye on many good judges. A fringe senior player with the Swans in 2002, Wade senior football has been a learning experience and he had gathered more knowledge in his short stint in first grade than his years at junior level.
(The Daily Advertiser - Friday May 23, 2003).
SWANS TO TEST OUT DOMINANT FORM - By Grace Uhr
Four weeks is a longtime for a football team. Just a month ago, the Griffith Swans looked down and out, struggling to field a team after injuries ravaged the side and they were struggling on the scoreboard with some tough games and inaccurate play. But with finals starting on Saturday, the team is looking stronger than it has all season. The last few weeks have seen an incredible form turn-around, the Swans winning six consecutive games and gradually rebuilding their roster to the extent where players have been fighting to remain in the first 18. Saturday's game about the culmination of a positive end to the regular season.
The Swans will find out whether this new-found form stretches into the finals arena when they take on Coolamon for the second week in a row in the qualifying semi-final at Narrandera. The two sides played one another in the last round of the regular season last weekend in abysmal conditions, the Swans able to handle this better to register a 65-point win, 85 to 20.
However, Swans coach Cian Ebert believes this Saturday's game is going to be played in very different style. "It should be different weather conditions at Narrandera and a different style game," he said. "I think they had about four of five out too." The Swans field a full-strength side for the Coolamon game, with players wanting to continue the Swans' good form and also cement a spot in the side.
Ebert believed this was the kind of attitude that had helped them return to form this season. "The last four weeks the boys' attitude has been outstanding," he said. "Finals are totally different in terms of mental attitude, but we're really wanting to win. "We've just got to keep the passion for the game. "We feel positive we can win the game and we've got the side that can come away with it."
Ebert expected the game to be played at a much faster pace than last weekend's, the Grasshoppers expected to use the space well and bring the ball down the field quickly. He said Coolamon had some midfielders who could be very damaging, but as long as the Swans could concentrate on their own game plan and style, they would do well. In terms of height advantage, Ebert said Coolamon was able to match up well against the tall Griffith sides and there would be some good one-on-one contests on the day.
Andrew Hill is the only Swans player who remains under an injury cloud for the semi after being taken to hospital last Sunday with a chest injury. Ebert said the extent of the injury was still unconfirmed and could be just bruised ribs, or possibly a fracture.
(The Area News - Friday August 29, 2003).
GHOSTS OF FINALS PAST HAUNT SWANS - By Graeme White
Griffith stalwarts Damien Scott and Jamie Bennett are the last remnants of the years the Swans wish to forget in the Riverina Football League. Bennett and Scott have only bad memories of the premiership quests of 1991 and last year where the team stumbled at the final obstacle. This year the Swans are striving to win Griffith first premiership since Ron O'Neill led the team to victory in 1968.
The chance to set the record straight is only part of the desire Griffith has built up to defeat Turvey Park in the grand final at Narrandera on Sunday. "It makes you pretty hungry as a club when you haven't won a premiership in 35 years," Bennett said.
"It's history what has happened to us in past years - we can only determine what happens on Sunday." A Griffith boy at heart, Bennett is the elder statesman of the team at 34 followed by Scott, two years his junior.
They have seen the bad, good and the almost perfect years with the Swans in their lengthy careers. Scott and Bennett had a few years at Coleambally coaching and later returned to Griffith to try and complete one of the longest premiership droughts in the Riverina.
The Swans have played in 11 grand finals since 1947, winning two, and between 1964 and 1972 the team had seven grand final appearances but only one premiership. It's not a record that sits favourably with the Griffith faithful.
Last year's narrow loss to Turvey Park instilled a greater desire to go one better, according to Scott. "We are more focused about the job we have to do on Sunday than what happened last year," he said.
"The process we have tried and tested to beat Turvey Park we will be sticking to." It's been a different path to the grand final this year with a late surge establishing Griffith as a contender after they dominated from the outset last year.
With coach Cian Ebert taking over again this season, Griffith are the team to beat according to most rival coaches after displaying the brand of football needed to win the big games. "We have had everyone come back from injuries at the right end of the season.
Hopefully our timing is right on Sunday," Scott said. Scott played with Coleambally when the Blues won the premiership in 1993 and later coached them to a grand final. It's a similar story with Bennett who made his first-grade debut way back in 1987 and is desperate for a premiership. "It would be nice to get a premiership. In the end it's another game of football we need to play as well as we can win," Bennett suggested. "You put all the personal part of the game aside for a premiership.
"I know there are some hungry boys out here doing everything they can to win one."
The Daily Advertiser - Wednesday September 17, 2003).
A RED AND WHITE FAMILY TRADITION OVER THREE GENERATION - By Graeme White
It's a tradition passed down through three generations that has teenager Ben Wade preparing for the biggest game of his life in the Riverina Football League grand final on Sunday. Wade, who doesn't turn 18 until December, is a star of the future with unlimited potential and a match-winner for Griffith this season. There is plenty of family support as his father Ian is the president of the Griffith Australian Football Club, while his grandfather Tom played in the Swans' 1952 premiership winning team.
Premierships have been hard to come by for Griffith who have made plenty of grand finals but have an unbalanced ledger. "If we can win it's another way of getting the monkey off our back," Ian Wade said. "I think you need to win a premiership to keep the interest in the club.
"That's even more important when you are situated at the western end of the league. "The league was dominated by Wagga clubs for many years so it's important we do well on Sunday for this end of the league.
Ian played in two losing grand finals in 1971 and 1972 under Ron Russell. It was the end of the golden period for Griffith which played in seven grand grand finals in nine years, but for only one title. The youngest of three children, Ben was a stand-out against Coolamon, earning the praise of coach Cian Ebert when switching into the ruck and changing in the forward line.
He stepped up to first grade this season after capturing the RFL under-18's best and fairest last year. Ian Wade believes the outcome is an even money bet and when the questioned if the Swans can end the lengthy drought, he had a simple reply.
"Collingwood were in the same boat once and took 30 odd years to win a grand final," he said. "Personally, I believe we can win. The players will have to answer that question themselves." (The Area News - Friday, September 19, 2003).
TIME TO BREAK THE PREMIERSHIP DROUGHT?
It has been 35 years since the Griffith Swans won a first-grade grand final - will 2003 be their year again?
While the 1968 grand final players are now well and truly retired from the game and many have discovered their team blazers have shrunk in the dark in their cupboards, the 2003 Swans are rearing to go against Turvey Park on Sunday. The 2003 Swans team combines youth and experience and most players have played finals football before. In 2002 the Swans were minor premiers of the Riverina Football League having lost just one match on their way to the decider, but on the day Turvey proved to be the stronger.
However, that was 12 months ago and, having been there before and tasted defeat, the Griffith players have emerged stronger for the experience. Now it is time to show that strength, as they look to defeat Turvey, as they did two weeks ago in the major semi-final and bring the first-grade flag back to Griffith.
It has been a long tough road the club has travelled in recent years on their way to their second consecutive grand final.
After making the grand final in 1991 and suffering defeat, the Swans finished no higher than third until 2002, including missing the entire final series four times. With a new coach last season in Cian Ebert, who has found strong support from the experience of previous coaches Phillip Rowston and Jon O'Dwyer, the Swans swept all before them for the first half of the season.
A loss to Turvey mid-season did not halt the juggernaut as they went on to win the rest of their matches and progress to the grand final with a convincing win in the major semi-final over the Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong Lions. Grand final day 2002 did not leave happy memories with any of the players, but that loss will only provide them with greater determination come Sunday.
This year has been a different one for Griffith, with injuries threatening the side's chances midway through the season before the majority of players returned fit in time to help them finish second and then move into the grand final with a win over Turvey.
Now the 2003 season comes down to one game - four quarters of football in the wide-open spaces of Narrandera this Sunday, where Griffith has the chance to break a 35-year premiership drought. (The Area News - Friday, September 19, 2003).
EBERT AIMING TO LEAD SWANS TO VICTORY ON SUNDAY
Cian Ebert learned his trade south of the border in the heart of Australian Football territory. A talented player, he began his first grade career in 1989 with Pakenham Football Club, and played seasons with Dandenong Football Club and Warragul Football Club. It was in his final year at Warragul in 1997 where he was captain, that he began his career on the other side of the whistle, as the team's skills and fitness coach.
He made his move into New South Wales in 1998 at the Queanbeyan Football Club as a player and their fitness adviser and skills coach, before shifting back to Victoria as assistant coach of the Cora Lynn Football Club.
After two seasons at Cora Lynn, Ebert made his move to Griffith as captain-coach in 2002 and leading them into the grand final.
"My coaching style is pretty basic, I think. I remember the first night I said we're going to work on the basics and try and improve them and make sure we got them right and once we got our basics right, we could try and expand into other areas," Ebert said.
"Even our game plan and style of game, it's pretty basic, there's not much that's complicated about it, and I think that's probably one of the reasons we've done as well as we have over the last couple of years. "This is my second year at the club, two grand finals so hopefully after the weekend we'll be able to add a premiership to that."
Ebert paid tribute to the Swans side for the team's success in the last two years. "We've been lucky with the group of blokes we've had over the last two seasons, so I've been very lucky enough that they listen a little bit to me and try and do some of the things that I get them to do," he said. "This year it has been even more satisfying than last year because we've had so many injuries and many blokes that weren't considered good enough to play senior footy.
"We won plenty of games and those blokes just got so much experience out of it and I got so much more satisfaction out of it being the coach. Ebert's coaching style is defined by the way he buys into the team ethos.
"It just makes it so much easier when you've got 22 blokes all helping out, rather than just one person trying to do their own thing.
"If you're all doing the same thing and you know what the other bloke's going to do, it just makes everything so much easier, and you get more individual accolades from everyone being successful than you do from having one or two blokes that go good in a bad side."
(The Area News - Friday, September 19, 2003).
SWANS IN GOOD FORM AS THEY CHASE GRAND FINAL GLORY
The venue is the same, the opponents are identical, but the Griffith Swans will be hoping there will be one important difference when they travel to Narrandera on Sunday to take on Turvey Park in the RFL grand final, the result. After coming through the 2002 season with only one loss, the Swans fell at the last hurdle, going down to Turvey Park in a last-gasp loss.
This year they have the chance to rewrite the record books, coming through a tough season filled with injuries and inconsistency to have another chance at grand final glory. The side has hit its peak coming into the finals, winning eight consecutive games, including the major semi-final against the Bulldogs two weeks ago.
Swans coach Cian Ebert said his side was feeling good coming into the game, despite the history that plagues the team. "I think we've been training fairly well and there's a real sense of 'nothing been done yet, we haven't achieved what we set out to do'," Ebert said.
"From the coaching point of view, it's fantastic that you can just see in them that they know they've got more to do, they've got more to give.
"I think (last year's loss) is something that no matter whether you get the opportunity again, the fact that you lose a grand final is always going to eat away at you, but I think last year, it would have been a fairy tale, it would have been too good to be true if it has worked for us.
"This year it's been a totally different situation and having lost last year, the boys will probably appreciate what you have to do a little more." Ebert said having the week off last weekend has assisted the side, given the number of injuries this season as it had allowed for one more week of recovery for those players. He said Turvey Park is a skillful and fast side, with talented players across the park, but the Swans were able to counter this with good versatility. "That's the good thing about us, we've got the versatility, if someone's not playing well in a position, we've probably got three or four options that could go to that position and get us back in a winning situation."
(The Area News - Friday, September 19, 2003).
GRIFFITH'S GLORY CAUSES MONDAY MADNESS - By Grace Uhr
Anyone looking for a quite drink in Griffith on Monday would have been out of luck, as the Griffith area's winning football codes filled the town's watering outlets with festivities, fun and - frocks? all in the name of Mad Monday. With the Swans, Blacks and Blueheelers all bringing grand final glory back to Griffith, the streets were abuzz as all three teams enjoyed extended celebrations of their victories.
"It's like Christmas Day for footballers," Griffith Blacks captain-coach Guy Ledwidge said. "We're looking forward to catching up with the other coaches and players, so that will be good." The Blacks, who had an extra day to celebrate after winning their grand final on Saturday, based their revelry at Hotel Victoria, with the excitement set to continue further into the week with the team winning its second consecutive premiership over Grenfell.
A quick trip down Banna Avenue and into the Area Hotel, would see you greeted with a sea of red as Griffith Swans players proceeded to make up for 35 years without premiership glory. With most players not having been to bed since Sunday's victory over Turvey Park and clearly in need of a laundromat, the red army was out in force, joined in their antics by their netball sides, who played in three of the four division's grand final on Sunday, winning the junior age group.
"It's unbelievable," Swans captain Rod Duncan said. "Ten weeks ago, we had a team meeting and we said we knew what we wanted, and it paid off. "It's been a long time coming, history has been made, the monkey is off our back and hopefully the floodgates will open."
Amid the celebration, many of the team had donned hats stating, "Griffith Swans 2003: Holy Grail" and many of the side this is what it was, especially Duncan and his younger brother Mick, who had played all their junior football for the club and have seen the club fall at the last hurdle several times in the last few years. Duncan also mentioned Ben Wade, Matt Olney, Jon O'Dwyer and Phil Rowston as club stalwarts, who had been there for many years and whose experience had shone through this season.
However, possibly the highlight of Mad Monday's insanity was the Yenda Blueheelers, who that decided an appropriate way to commemorate their victory, would be to don dresses and wigs and take the Yenda Hotel by storm. Yenda defeated West Wyalong on Sunday after coming into the game as underdogs and this was clearly the sweetest of three consecutive wins by the team.
"I think the other games we went into as favourites, this year everyone was writing us off, so it was good to get the win up," Yenda five-eight Chris Richards said about the game. "It was definitely the toughest, it was never over until the siren went."
(The Area News - Wednesday September 24, 2003).
NETBALL SUCCESS FOR GRIFFITH SWANS IN GRAND FINALS
The Griffith Swans footballers were not the only success story of the club this year with three of its four netball sides making the grand finals this season. The juniors, A grade and C grade teams made the trip to Narrandera on Sunday for the finals, the juniors the only side able to win for the club, but the other two sides putting in superb efforts. The juniors defeated Coolamon in their final 23-6, with Laura Vardanega voted best on court for her performance and good games came from Charlotte Jones and Megan Staines.
Coach Louise Hornery said she was proud of the side, who showed great dedication, focus and sportsmanship both in the final and throughout the season. The C grade game saw the Swans lose a riveting encounter against Coolamon 27-26.
Coolamon were only able to win the game with a penalty goal after the full-time whistle in a close encounter where the biggest margin was a two-point deficit to the Swans at three-quarter time. The side was coached by Cassandra Malone and the Swans best player for the day were Kerrie Staines, Gemma Jones and Kaylene and Nerissa Ward.
A grade saw the Swans come up against the stand-out side for the year Turvey Park, Turvey winning the game 55-40. Despite not starting the season in the best form, the Swans rallied late in the year to make the grand final and played a strong game against the minor premiers, the score line not reflecting the close nature of the game.
The final was a fast-paced game with many turnovers, Robyn and Helen Overs working hard in defence and making many intercepts and Karen Conlan putting in a passionate and inspirational game in her last season with the team. Coach Jodie Landy was also a driving force in the centre court and her never-say-die attitude was obviously a big factor in the Swans success this season.
(The Area News - Friday September 26, 2003).
EBERT TO PART WAYS WITH SWANS
WHEN the Griffith Swans won its first premiership in 35 years just over a month ago, this should have been one of the most positive times in the club's long history. However, the party has ended all too soon for the club with the announcement on Wednesday that coach Cian Ebert would not be appointed next season.
Ebert has been with the club for the past two seasons, last year taking the team to its first grand final since 1991 and this year taking the next step and winning the coveted RFL crown. For many supporters and spectators, Ebert's reappointment should have been a mere formality, given the success of the team since he began there.
Despite this, negotiations finally broke down this week, largely due to a new contract offered to Ebert by the committee that would have seen him taking a substantial pay cut for next season.
"I was asked with about eight weeks to go whether I wanted the job next year and I said that I did and took that as a given (that I had the job)," Ebert said. He said that several weeks later, early in the semi finals, he was then told he would have to reapply for the coaching position. "I then went to a committee meeting at the start of the finals just to say that I didn't see why I had to reapply," he said. "Nothing on my resume had changed from when I first applied for the job, except for the two years at the club. "I couldn't tell them any more than what they'd seen.
"I asked them to please make a decision within the week because it was important to me, and my family and I inquired as what happened in the meeting and they said it wasn't discussed and the club was looking at four or five other coaching options. He said he was informed later that week the decision would not be made until after the finals. "After the grand final I was asked what I was doing next year and I said at this stage I haven't been re-appointed and so it was pretty disappointing for both me and my family," he said.
"And from that there was a massive amount of support from the community as to why I haven't been re-signed and why I wasn't being re-signed." Ebert said the Swans committee then called a meeting and following this he was then offered a contract, one that includes a cut in pay. "To be considered to take a fairly large pay cut and fines also included in the new contract was something I was quite staggered about," he said.
"That was an issue, there's no doubt about that." Ebert said he could understand the committee's position if his record had had been poor, but this was not the case. "For the players, I'm just really disappointed for them that their achievement hasn't been recognised anywhere near as much as what winning a premiership should be and particularly as it was 35 years since the last one," he said. "I'm just happy that it didn't affect the football.
"At the end of the day that's what footy and sport's about, it's about the players, it's not about the individuals trying to big-note themselves. "I'm just really happy from that point of view, that we won the flag, and all our endeavours weren't for nothing."
Outgoing Swans president Ian Wade said the club offered Ebert the position for 2004, but he and the club could not agree on the terms and negotiations broke down. "We offered what was, in our opinion, a very fair deal," he said. He said the club had not approached anyone else about the coaching position and Ebert's statement that he was told four or five other people were being considered was not true.
"How could we be looking when (Ebert) already had the job?" "We haven't got anyone sitting in a cupboard."
He said Ebert had done a good job in his two seasons as coach and as far as he knew, the players were happy with his coaching throughout two years. He said it was Ebert who had pushed for a year-to-year contract when he first joined the club, and his lack of re-appointment was solely the result of negotiation break downs.
Ebert said he is currently unsure of his footballing future having been approached by several other clubs interested in his coaching, but he and his family are yet to make a decision.
(The Area News - Friday October 17, 2003).
WADE STEPS DOWN FROM SWANS PRESIDENCY
GRIFFITH Swans president Ian Wade stepped down from his role on Wednesday night at the Swans annual general meeting, after four years in the role. Wade will continue in the club as vice-president, with the role of president handed down to this season's vice-president George Duncan. Duncan has been involved with the club since he first began playing Australian Rules in 1966.
After years as a player, he took on the role of president of the junior club for seven years and after a year as senior vice-president, takes over the major role for the 2004 season. Duncan said his main task within the club next season will be to continue to foster junior development. This was one of the main issues the Swans are targeting following a survey by the Murrumbidgee Valley Australian Football Association at the end of the 2003 season and Duncan said the Swans would be pushing for this when the MVAFA holds its AGM, on November 23.
As well as this, he said the Swans are hoping that any proposed restructure did not involve any further travelling distance for teams each weekend. 'We need to look at travelling distance being that we are on the rear end of the league," he said.
One of Duncan's other roles will be to appoint a new first grade coach after Cian Ebert did not renew his relationship with the club for next season. Duncan said the club hoped to make the appointment before Christmas, but they were still not sure who it would be or the timing of the appointment. "We've got a few feelers out there," he said. "The coach is always a hard choice. "I'm not going to break the club;
I've got a budget and I plan to stick to it." Duncan said he would not be making any major changes to the club during his reign and would be looking to enforce stability within the club and continue the relationship between the football and netball leagues.
Aside from Wade's departure to further pursue work commitments, the rest of the executive will remain in place with Ffiona Beverley and Damien Scott continuing on as secretary and treasurer respectively. Sam Clarke will take over the role of netball co-ordinator.
(The Area News - Friday October 31, 2003).