Click on image to enlarge


IN: Adrian Burns (Sale), Nick Broad (West Aust.), Nic Hetherington (Narrandera), Simon McClure (Griffith Black & Whites RL), Shane Pound (Coleambally), Matt Scott (Temora), Mark Smith (Coreen-Daysdale), Greg Tyack (Lake Cargelligo), Josh Ward (Ungarie), Tim Wilson.

OUT: Trevor Clarke (Osborne), Craig Conlan (UK), Shawn Conlan (Barellan), Cian Ebert (Corowa-Rutherglen), Anthony Greely, Brendan Giason (UK), Andrew Hill (Wagga Tigers), Jason and Kaine Malone (Narrandera), Jonathan O'Dwyer (Barooga), Matthew Olney (Barooga), Glenn Vaccari (Hillston Swans), Jason Vant (Urana); Nick Broad (West Aust.), Andrew Trotter (The Rock-Yerong Creek).



THE Riverina Football League premiership-winning Griffith Swans enter a new era next season after signing new coach, former Essendon and St Kilda player Adrian Burns. The club has been actively seeking a replacement coach since the departure of Cian Ebert and named Burns following a meeting on Tuesday night. Burns will join the club on a two-year deal, which will see him move with wife Kristie and three-year-old daughter Ebony, from Sale in Victoria, where he has coached that side in the West Gippsland-Latrobe League for the last two years. The Swans appointment will be Burns fourth coaching job, after he has held positions with clubs throughout Victoria, but it will be his first move into NSW. Burns said he was appointed to the job via his manager, who heard the Swans were looking for a coach.

He said the Swans sent him a video of their grand final and he was impressed in what he saw in terms of the standard and also with the town itself when he came to visit and meet with the Swans committee. Burns said be believed his playing style would fit in with that of the Swans. He is an on-baller and will be able to fill the spot vacated by Ebert in the centre. In terms of his coaching style, Burns said he was a fairly hard task master who would demand discipline from his players. "I want to give everyone the opportunity to do their best though," he said. He said he was unconcerned about making the move away from his current town, inland and also away from AFL's stronghold, Victoria. "I think football is growing all over Australia and especially with the Sydney Swans doing well this season," he said.

Burns comes to the Swans carrying a wealth of playing as well as coaching experience. He played with Essendon for five years from 1989-93 and St Kilda for one year in 1994. During his time with Essendon, he played 11 senior games, a final in 1990, a grand final replay against Collingwood in 1990 and was a member of the 1990-night premiership side, playing in 14 senior night games. He played 60 reserve grade games, was a 1991 reserves premiership player and represented Victoria Country. With St Kilda he played three reserve and four senior games and was selected in the best six players on the field in the 1994 St Kilda v Essendon game.

 The Swans are undoubtedly happy with their new signing and president George Duncan said Burns would be able to maintain the club's winning formula, coming from a league that was of similar standard to the RFL. Adrian comes to us with great credentials, and he is looking forward to taking a premiership winning side and hopefully leading them to another premiership. "All in all, things are looking very good for 2004 and we are very confident of being very competitive again this year, despite some of our player losses.

These losses include Ebert, who takes up a coaching position with Corowa-Rutherglen in the Ovens and Murray League, former coach and assistant coach Jon O'Dwyer,who along with ruckman Matt Olney moves to Barooga, Kaine and Jason Malone, who will play with Narrandera and Brendan Giason, who is going overseas for two years. O'Dwyer' departure leaves the first-grade assistant coaching position open, with captain Rodney Duncan taking over the role. Greg Dreyer will once again coach the reserve grade side and the under-18's coaching position will be shared between two senior players, Michael Duncan and Matt McDonald. "We are hoping having a couple of young blokes to coach, we will encourage more players to come forward this year as they will relate better to them," Duncan said.

(The Area News - Friday November 28, 2003). 


MOST of the RFL premiership winning Griffith Swans are enjoying the off-season, some are spending their Saturday's padding up for local cricket teams or jogging about on touch football fields. However, four of their stars have decided that five months without Aussie Rules was too much and have escaped the hot summer of Griffith, to enter the literally oppressive heat of the Northern Territory and strap on the boots in the local Darwin competition. Swans assistant coach Rodney Duncan, along with brother and under-18 coach Michael, Matt Olney and Andrew Hill departed for the north on Sunday October 12, the day after the Swans presentation night. On arrival they went about setting themselves up, first and foremost, doing what they came to do and signing up for teams in the Northern Territory Football League.

The Duncan's and Hill joined up with the Waratahs, while Olney joined Southern Districts. The four moved into a house together in Darwin and were all able to secure jobs within their fields, Rodney the builder, Michael the electrician, Olney as a plumber and Hill as a labourer.

Rodney and Michael's parents, Swans president George and wife Donna recently journeyed north to visit the boys, watch two of their games and see how life at the top end was treating them. George Duncan said after watching two of the boy's games, the heat was a big factor for the players. "It's hard going and working in the heat is tough too," he said. "They come come the field absolutely saturated and have to go into a big freezer room." He said Rodney and Michael were among some of the Waratahs best players, although Hill was currently carrying a knee injury and had been unable to play. Duncan rated the NTFL to be of a similar level, but perhaps a little quicker than the RFL, with a lot of local players able utilise a strong staying power in the tough conditions.

The Duncan's and Hill's Waratahs side is currently sixth in the competition and Olney's Southern Districts are coming seventh in a league of seven teams. Duncan said the boys were likely to stay in Darwin until the finals of the league in March, with the Waratahs still a good chance of making it into contention and then they would return to Griffith for the start of the RFL season. He said they were thoroughly enjoying their time in Darwin and the lifestyle it offered, despite the heat. "They're all living together, it's a typical bachelor house," Duncan said.

(The Area News - Friday December 5, 2003).


2004 SEASON preview: It was four years ago, but a lot has changed since Coolamon last won the premiership. Wagga Tigers and Temora were still in the Riverina Football League for one thing. The long hair of former captain-coach Wayne Weidemann is no longer around either, replaced by an equally shrewd tactician in Matt Hard. However, even though Tigers are now in the AFL Canberra and the Kangaroos are now fighting it out in the Farrer League, the RFL has a very familiar ring about it this season. The Hoppers and neighbours Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong are the clear favourites this year, with last year's grand finalists Griffith and Turvey Park each losing several key players in the off-season. In 2000, Coolamon trailed by four points at the three quarter time break in the grand final against GGGM, only to boot 7.5 in the last term to win by 33 points. And it looks like there is little between them again this year. Also in the mix, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, a club which has taken several years to match it with the big guns, also look a threat this year. The Goannas had all three grades in the finals last year for the first time. This season, it looks like the club's fortune will continue to rise. Of the other contenders, Turvey Park's refusal to accept anything less than success should ensure the Bulldogs a spot in the top five. Premiers Griffith are likely to suffer a hangover of massive proportions this time round and Leeton-Whitton could prove to be their downfall when it matters. The priorities for Narrandera and the renamed Eastern Hawks are more about having enough players than being an RFL force.

(The Daily Advertiser - Thursday April 1, 2004).

  PREPARING FOR BATTLE - By Cameron Storey 

THE Griffith Swans begin their defence of the Riverina Football League flag they won last year, this Saturday against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United- Eastlakes. It had been 35 years since the Swans had won the title before last year's famous victory and they will be hoping there is no such wait for the next flag to be perched on the roof, a victory first up this weekend the perfect start to the season. "We just want to get a win on the board, first game that's really important," new captain-coach Adrian Burns said. Burns spent the club's two weekends ago against the Collingullie Demons on the sidelines watching his new charges and was not worried at all by the depleted team's loss. It was just a practice match, we had a lot of players away who will be back this weekend," he said. "Training was really good last Tuesday and everyone is pretty keen to get on the field." Burns also believes the holes left by some of the departing Swans' stars from last year will be more than ably filled.  "We've got some really good recruits who cover any gaps left by those players," he said. Having never seen MCUE play before Burns was unsure what to expect and was relying on what his teammates had to say. "From what I've heard they are a young team and will give us a run for our money but I do not think they recruited all that well in the off-season," he said. "We are a very attacking team with a couple of players who can really kick goals." The Swans will be playing on Saturday at Exies Oval with kick-off at 4pm and the hoisting of the premiership flag just prior. (The Area News - Friday April 2, 2004).



GRIFFITH coach Adrian Burns admits he is still finding his feet in the Riverina Football League and will rely on club insiders for knowledge of the Leeton-Whitton Crows strengths when the two sides meet on Sunday. But he promises a strong disciplined approach for the Anzac Day battle from 4.15pm. "I just want to look after what they've been doing from the first two games," Burns said.  "We've got a few set rules and game plans which we need to stick to." The Swans maintain they have time on their side to gel and improve further with premiership captain Rod Duncan and Phillip Rowston still set to return. "We've still got a bit of a way to go before we get some strength back," Burns said.

"It gives the new guys every opportunity to keep their spot." Burns, a hard running on-ball during his AFL days with Essendon and St Kilda, says he is happy to fill holes where needed, likely to be along the half-back line on Sunday.'

Leeton-Whitton has dismissed the current plight of injury setbacks, predicting the club is in a stronger position than ever before to embark on the grudge match with Griffith.  Best-on-ground last Saturday, David Harrison (broken arm) and tall forward Trent Lang

 (knee) will both miss the match set down for Griffith's Ex-Servicemen's Oval. Several Crows are still feeling the effect of a tough, inside game with the lowly Eastern Hawks. Crows coach Kerry Vaughan-Niven believes, unlike last year, injuries won't affect team balance.

"It won't really, because we've got a fair bit of depth," he said. "We're pretty fortunate this year that we can cover them. Both sides are hoping at retaining their unblemished records in an attempt to go to a 3-0 win/loss record. (The Area News - Friday April 23 2004).


GRIFFITH Swans stalwart Jamie Bennett reaches a milestone with the club this week when he plays his 200th senior game. Bennett hit the double century with a home game against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, and he is now in his 16 year of senior football with the Swans. He started senior football in 1988 after playing in the juniors since the late 1970's and debuting in the under 19's in 1985.

Since then, he has played almost every season, spending three years at university and three at Coleambally before returning to the red and white.

His career has been interspersed with many achievements, making the RFL representative side in 1993, runner-up as team best and fairest three times and several awards for most consistent player.

Bennett pinpoints last year's premiership victory as the highlight of his career; also, part of 1991 and 2002 grand final teams.

Now entering the twilight of his career, his time at the Swans has not been without injury, a broken leg, torn medial ligament, broken hand and nose among some of the worst he has received and while he continues on strongly each week, knows his time there is coming to an end.

"I'm definitely getting towards the end of my career, it gets harder that's for sure," Bennett said.

"The body starts to reject all post game trauma. But after 200 games I've got to play with a lot of different people and the people you meet, you take with you the rest of your life and that's the main reason I play footy." (The Area News, Friday April 30, 2004).



THE Griffith Swans will celebrate the 200th senior game of one of their most loyal and dedicated members this weekend when Damien Scott reaches the double century milestone.

A self-confessed "dinosaur"of the side at 33, Scott makes his the 200-game mark in his 13th season with the club, the Swans taking on East Wagga-Kooringal at Exies Oval on Sunday.

Scott began his senior football with Tallimba in 1986, joined Girral-West Wyalong for the 1987-88 season before playing his first season for the Swans in 1989, under the late Les Parish.

He spent a four-year stint with Griffith, representing the RFL against Goulburn Valley in 1991 and was part of the Swans grand final side the same year. Scott then enjoyed a three-year stint at Coleambally, coaching the senior side in 1994-95 before returning to the Swans in 1996.

Since his return, Scott and his wife Leanne have built a strong and devoted bond with the club, the pair winning the Bill Simmons Memorial Club-person of the Year Award in 2000.

Scott also picked up most conscientious player/club-person in 1999 and finished runner-up best and fairest the same year. As his football career draws to a close, Scott now takes each week as it comes, enjoying playing with a team that has become close friends with over the years.

"I'll try to get through this season and sit down and think about it during the off-season," Scott said. "Being involved in the group that we've had over the last few years has been great.

You build a relationship up throughout (football). Once you've played football with someone you know them for life." (The Area News, Friday May 14, 2004).



A STRING of Best and Fairest awards wherever he has played and a relatively injury-free existence saw Griffith Swans' Matt Bunn notch up 100th first grade games last week. Matt is an integral part of the Swan's line-up and was a member of last year's premiership side winning the award for best utility. But his footballing prowess can be traced back many more years than that. Bunn began playing with the Junior Swans in 1989 winning the under 12's Best and Fairest award, as well as B&F prize for the Leeton zone. He then attended Scots School, Albury and captained the First 18's and represented Ovens and Murray under 18's side. He returned home and made his first grade debut for the Swans in 1996. In 1999 he attended Marcus Oldham College winning their Best & Fairest as well as the same prize in the Geelong University Football League before returning to the Swans in 2000. Bunn has been relatively pain free throughout his career and was one of the few players to play every match last year including the grand final victory and if he continues like this should reach the 200-game mark. (The Area News - Friday May 21, 2004