2004 RFL SEASON RESULTS

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PLAYER TRANSFERS

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).

 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 myself 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 have been poor, but this was not the case. "For the players, I'm just really disappointed for them that their achievement haven'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).

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 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). 

 SWANS SIGN NEW COACH - By Grace Uhr 

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). 

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 SWANS FEEL THE HEAT AT THE TOP - By Grace Uhr 

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).

Charity Shield - Sunday March 21, 2004 at Narrandera Sportsground

Collingullie-A-K ... 2.2 .. 5.5 .. 10.5 .. 11.7 (73)

Griffith .................. 2.4 .. 5.5 .. 6.6 .. 8.6 (54)

Goals: Collingullie-AK:

Griffith: M Duncan 3, M McDonald 2, J Bennett, K Duncan, S McClure

Best: Collingullie-AK:

Griffith: M McDonald, S McClure, Matt Bunn, B Owen, R Frkovic

Griffith: Damien Scott (capt), Trent Bradley, Shane Pound, Myles Bunn, Jamie Bennett, Daniel Best, Matt Bunn, Matt McDonald, Simon Spiers, Harpreet Singh, Rick Frkovic, Ben Wade, Brett Lanyon, Nick Broad, Jamie Codemo, Matt Scott, Brett Owen, Kris Duncan, Alex Potroz, Terry Wade, Mick Duncan, Reece Hill, Simon McClure

Umpires: ------

 NEW RFL SEASON HAS A FAMILIAR LOOK - By Tim Barrow 

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).

Round 1 - Saturday April 10, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 5.00pm

Griffith ..................... 6.5 .. 14.9 .. 23.15 .. 27.18 (180)

Mangoplah-CUE .... 1.3 .. 6.8 .. 6.10 .. 9.17 (71)

Goals: Griffith: A Hill 6, M Duncan 5, M McDonald 3, S Pound 3, D Curran 3, J Bennett 2, B Ford, B Owen, R Duncan, J Hampel, S McClure

MCUE: D Howard 2, C Websdale 2, A Mahoney 2, T Richards 2, M Reberger

Best: Griffith: M Duncan, M McDonald, S Pound, A Hill, Myles Bunn, R Frkovic

MCUE: T Richards, L Kendall, J Warden, X Higgins, M Reberger

Griffith: Myles Bunn, D Scott, D Best; Matt Bunn, B Wade, R Duncan; S McClure, A Burns (c-c)*, B Ford; J Bennett, A Hill, M Duncan; Reece Hill*, D Curran, N Broad*; R Frkovic *, M McDonald, S Pound*; B Owen, B Lanyon*, J Hampel

Mangoplah-CUE: B Patterson, D Pike, T Balding; C Higgins, D Cameron, L Kendall; C Websdale, J Millar, M Reberger; C Godde, R Simms (c-c), J Warden; Brad Roberson, D Howard, A Mahoney; T Richards, X Higgins, N Lawson; S Creasy, D Roberts, J Hanlon

Umpires: R Wilson, G Walsh (RUA)

Reserves: Griffith 25.20 (170) d Mangoplah-CUE 6.4 (40)

Goals: B Hicken 7, T Wilson 5, W Armstrong 4, A Gardner 4, A Romagnolo 3, T Bradley, M Smith

Under 18: Mangoplah-CUE 24.7 (153) d Griffith 4.3 (27)

Goals: Dion Minato 3, S Stubbs

Match report: RFL premiers Griffith Swans kicked off their title defencein the best possible way with a 109-point walloping of Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes at Exies Oval on Saturday night. The Swans went into Saturday's game as an unknown quantity, losing 10 players from last year's winning side and under the guidance of new coach Adrian Burns, but they quickly showed their quality with a well-rounded win. They showed speed in the midfield, were authoritative under the high ball in both attack and defence and move the ball with fluency and accuracy. Burns, a former Essendon and St Kilda player, slotted into the team in the centre of the field and stood his ground well in his first taste of RFL. "The speed was a lot quicker than what I thought it would be," Burns said. "We've got a lot of quick players and they moved it very fast through the midfield." It was Burns' first game with the side for the season after watching the Charity Shield game against Colingullie from the sideline two weeks ago to better judge the capabilities of his new team. He said he enjoyed his first hit-out and accredited the win to a good overall performance. He named Andrew Hill, Matt McDonald, Mick Duncan, Rick Frkovic and new recruit Shane Pound among the Swans best, with Hill booting six goals. Goals were hard to come by in the early stages until a Matt McDonald bomb from just inside the 50 metres in the ninth minute resulted in the first major for the Swans. Despite the slow start, the Swans booted a deluge of goals in the middle two quarters. They restricted Mangoplah to just one goal in the opening term and this did not happen until the final minute of the quarter, The third quarter was the Swans' best, keeping Mangoplah restricted to just two behinds and hammering home nine majors. To their credit, Mangoplah were able to keep pace in the final quarter but the damage had already been done and the Swans sailed home for a comprehensive win. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday April 5, 2004).

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Round 2 - Saturday April 17, 2004 at Narrandera Sportsground 2.10pm

Narrandera ... 4.3 .. 5.6 .. 12.8 .. 14.9 (93)

Griffith ............ 4.5 .. 10.9 .. 13.13 .. 18.18 (126)

Goals: Narrandera: P Robinson 6, S Hutchins 3, T Durnan, S Brooker, Ben Powell, T Mathieson, D Hopwood

Griffith: J Bennett 5, S Pound 2, M Duncan 2, D Curran 2, B Ford 2, N Broad 2, J Mickan, M McDonald, A Burns

Best: Narrandera: S Hutchins, A Thomson, K Malone, D Burden, D Hopwood

Griffith: B Wade, J Bennett, S McClure, T Bradley, S Pound, B Ford

Narrandera: J Vearing, S Hutchins, M English; Ben Powell, A Thomson (coach), D Hopwood; K Malone, C Smith (capt), A Black; T Durnan, C Walsh, T Mathieson; S Brooker, P Robinson, J Malone; Brett Powell, D Burden, P Bloomfield; D Purtill, B Richens, S Irons

Griffith: D Best, B Wade, S McClure; A Burns (c-c), D Scott, Matt Bunn; B Ford, M McDonald, J Hampel; Myles Bunn, J Mickan, M Duncan; B Owen, D Curran, N Broad; R Frkovic, J Bennett, S Pound; T Bradley, B Lanyon, Reece Hill

Umpires: P O'Donoghue, P Guthrie (RUA)

Reserves: Narrandera 24.15 (159) d Griffith 6.7 (43)

Goals: K Duncan 2, B Hicken 2, A Gardner

Under 18: Narrandera 34.24 (228) d Griffith 0.1 (1)

Match report: The Griffith Swans wrestled a 33-point win over Narrandera on Saturday in a tough physical contest at Narrandera Sportsground. Narrandera were expected to provide a strong challenge this season with several new recruits, including former Swans premiership players Jason and Kaine Malone, but Griffith were able to fend off the Eagles ad come away with the win 18.18 (126) to 14.9 (93). New Swans coach Adrian Burns said he continued to be impressed with his team, crediting their ability to hold off a third quarter fight back from the Eagles. "They came back in that third quarter," Burns said. "We took our foot off the pedal, but full credit to the team, they came back in the last quarter. "Narrandera are no slouches, but to our guy's credit they fought hard and I'm really happy about that." It was level-pegging in the first quarter, with neither team able to consolidate an early break and the Swans ended the quarter with a narrow two-point lead. Griffith then took hold of the game, booting six majors in the second term to Narrandera's one in the second term to go into the long break up by 33 points. The Eagles than fought back strongly in the third term to be only 11 points behind going into the final quarter. However, the Swans were too strong in the final term, charging to victory by 33 points. Jamie Bennett booted five goals for the Swans, with Shane Pound, Dave Curran, Mick Duncan, Ben Ford and Nick Broad getting two goals each. Ben Wade was the star for Griffith as he relished the physical nature of the game. "Because it was physical, Ben Wade really stood up and put his body on the line for the team all game," Burns said. The Swans remained relatively injury free on Saturday and are almost back to full strength with Rod Duncan and Rod Simpkin looking to make returns next weekend against Leeton-Whitton as the Swans grow in strength each week. "We're still learning as a team as half the team is new, it will take six or seven weeks to hit our straps, but when we do it'll be good,' Burns said. (The Area News - Monday April 19, 2004).

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 SWANS OUT TO DIM CONFIDENT CROWS - By Andrew Mathieson 

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 effect 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).

Round 3 - Sunday April 25, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith .................. 5.4 .. 9.7 .. 16.10 .. 19.12 (126)

Leeton-Whitton ... 1.1 .. 6.4 .. 9.6 .. 14.10 (94)

Goals: Griffith: D Curran 4, M Duncan 4, S Pound 3, R Simpkin 2, R Duncan 2, B Ford, M McDonald, B Owen, J Hampel

Leeton-Whitton: M Fraser 6,

Best: Griffith: M Duncan, D Curran, B Wade, S McClure, A Burns, S Pound

Leeton-Whitton: J Broadbent, D Lumsden, M Flagg, M Fraser, D Kidman, Kurt Bullock

Griffith: Matt Bunn, D Scott, Myles Bunn; A Burns (c-c), B Wade, S McClure; B Ford, R Duncan, J Hampel; M McDonald, J Mickan, T Bradley; J Bennett, D Curran, B Owen; R Frkovic, S Pound, M Duncan; R Simpkin, S Spiers, D Best

Leeton-Whitton: M Flagg, A Cameron, J Davidson; D Sullivan, J Broadbent, S Piltz; L Condon, T Irvin, D Lumsden; B Waters, Kurt Bullock, P Clayton; D Kidman, M Fraser, B Guest; M Robertson, D Stott, Kane Bullock; D Dunscombe, A Howe, D Symes

Umpires: R Wilson, G Walsh, B McDonald (RUA)

Reserves: Griffith 18.11 (119) d Leeton-Whitton 14.10 (94)

Goals: A Gardner 8, B Hicken 3, W Tyndall, M Crack, W Armstrong, Chris Conlan, A Romagnolo, G Tyack, L Robertson

Under 18: Griffith 10.14 (74) d Leeton-Whitton 5.11 (41)

Goals: S Stubbs 6, P Bugno, D Crack, J Gastin, L Habel

Match report: The Griffith Swans seem to be improving with every game and on Sunday they led from the opening minute all the way to the final whistle against Leeton-Whitton and remain undefeated at the top of the Riverina Football League ladder. The grudge match is always a tough battle and the Swans got off to a better start hitting the ground running. "It was a good win and a very physical game," said Swans captain-coach Adrian Burns. "We started the game well, our kicking for goal was better than it has been in recent weeks." The Swans shot out to a four goal lead at the first break, 34-7 but Burns believes they could have had a further four majors if they were truly accurate. The Crows' made strident efforts to come back against the Swans in the next quarter and the closed the gap to only 20 points. "(Leeton-Whitton) were always fighting back but credit to our team, whenever they looked like coming back we put the pressure back on them and they eventually folded under it," Burns said. It was the third quarter where the Swans really displayed what they will be capably of in all aspects of their game click together during the season. They booted seven goals and three behinds in a dominant term that tore the game away from the Crows. "The third quarter was the best quarter we have played so far this season," Burns said. The Swans kept the momentum up in the final term and ran out eventual winners, 125 to 94. Dave Curran is recovering from injury and the four goals he kicked will be a sign to opposition teams of what he can produce once he is 100 percent fit. Michael Duncan and Shane Pound, who continues to shine since moving from Coleambally, also bagged four goals each. With Rod Duncan returning from injury the side is beginning to gel into a potent force, "I think we are a quarter away from playing a really good game," Burns said. "We have been playing three good quarters of football but have been letting in one bad quarter as well but everyone is improving with each game. (By Cameron Storey - The Area News, Wednesday April 28, 2004).

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 STALWART SWAN TO FLY IN 200th MATCH 

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).

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Round 4 - Sunday May 2, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith ................. 1.3 .. 6.6 .. 8.10 .. 12.13 (85)

Ganmain-GGM ... 6.4 .. 9.8 .. 12.10 .. 15.13 (103)

Goals: Griffith: A Gardner 5, M McDonald 2, J Bennett 2, R Duncan 2, M Duncan

GGGM: C Renner 5, A Carroll 4, M Hamblin 2, S Hamblin 2, A Johnston, N Irvine

Best: Griffith: B Wade, Myles Bunn, S McClure, M McDonald, S Spiers, R Duncan

GGGM: N Irvine, M Hamblin, B Lenon, B Ryan, C Hamblin

Griffith: Myles Bunn, D Scott, S McClure; R Frkovic, B Wade, Matt Bunn; J Hampel, A Burns (c-c), B Ford; R Duncan, J Mickan, M Duncan; J Bennett, R Simpkin, A Gardner; D Curran, M McDonald, S Pound; T Bradley, S Spiers, D Best

Ganmain-GGM: T Lenon, D Symons, C Hamblin; B Lenon, C McPherson, A Roberts; A Symons, M Hamblin, N Irvine; M Braybon, S Hamblin, L Walsh; C Renner, A Carroll, D Underwood; D Logan, B Ryan, E Sullivan; B Sullivan, M Hatty, A Johnston

Umpires: P Guthrie, S Crowley, S Graham (RUA)

Reserves: Griffith 12.17 (89) d Ganmain-GGM 8.16 (64)

Goals: K Duncan 4, G Tyack 3, A Romagnolo, W Tyndall, M Smith, M Crack, M Scott

Under 18: Ganmain-GGM 11.13 (79) d Griffith 6.6 (42)

Goals: A Gulloni, S Stubbs, D Crack, M Best, K Duncan, J Gastin

Match report: Griffith Swans' early season three-game winning streak was halted on Sunday with an 18-point loss at the hands of Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong at Exies Oval. The Swans were forced to play most of the game without captain-coach Adrian Burns who was taken to hospital with a head wound in the first quarter of the game. But Swans replacement on-field leader Rod Duncan refused to use Burns' absence as an excuse for yesterday's loss. "We're not using that as an excuse," Duncan said. "It was a slow start that cost us." The Swans did not look in with a chance early on, Ganmain-GGM getting out to a 40-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. They were able to regain some composure and some ground in the second quarter, booting five majors to the Lions three and move to within 20 points. However, Ganmain-GGM again took control in the third quarter, extending their lead back out and give themselves some breathing space going into the final term, leading by 24 points. The last quarter had Griffith sneak to within one goal of the visitors and give themselves a sniff of victory, but it was to no avail as Ganmain-GGM kicked away to win the game by 18 points. "It was our first loss of the season, we turned the ball over a bit too much and didn't use our skills right," Duncan said. "It was pretty physical there in the first quarter and they played a long direct kicking game. We gave them too much start. Duncan praised Ben Wade, Simon McClure and Jeff Mickan for their efforts. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday May 3, 2004).

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Round 5 - Sunday May 9, 2004 at Maher Oval 2.10pm

Turvey Park ... 6.4 .. 10.5 .. 13.7 .. 14.9 (93)

Griffith ............ 1.5 .. 3.9 .. 7.11 .. 13.16 (94)

Goals: Turvey Park: J Pitt 7, M Sykes 2, J Elliott 2, M Daniher, W Sykes, D Campbell

Griffith: A Gardner 2, D Curran 2, M Duncan 2, J Bennett 2, M Crack 2, S Pound, J Mickan, M McDonald

Best: Turvey Park: J Hoey, B Campbell, M Daniher, D Campbell, J Pitt, A Loughman

Griffith: J Hampel, R Simpkin, Myles Bunn, B Ford, B Wade

Turvey Park: B Walker, J Fletcher, J Hoey; A Craig, D McLean, P Donaldson; T Carroll, Blair Campbell (c-c), T Naughtin; M Sykes, W Sykes, M Daniher; J Pitt, J Elliott, J Kennedy; M Wilson, A Loughman, Dane Campbell; D Isaac, D Majman, L Webb

Griffith: Myles Bunn, S Spiers, D Best; J Hampel, D Scott, J Mickan; B Owen, R Duncan, B Ford; J Bennett, R Simpkin, M Duncan; A Gardner, D Curran, G Tyack*; B Wade, M McDonald, S Pound; R Frkovic, T Bradley, M Crack*

Umpires: R Wilson, D Potts, D Tyson (RUA)

Reserves: Griffith 14.10 (94) d Turvey Park 10.5 (65)

Goals: M Smith 5, M Scott 2, K Duncan 2, M Molloy 2, J Moat, Reece Hill, Chris Conlan

Under 18: Turvey Park 25.18 (168) d Griffith 0.3 (3)

Match report: With 12 minutes to go in the third quarter yesterday, Turvey Park led Griffith by 50 points. They lost by one. Mathew Crack lived every footballer's dream, booting a goal from outside 50 metres at the 32 minute mark of the last quarter at Maher Oval. Before the boundary umpire could collect the ball, the siren went and Griffith took the points 13.16 (94) to 14.9 (93). In a grand final rematch few would have predicted could go Turvey's way, the young Bulldogs played excellent football in the first half to take a commanding 38-point lead at the main break. Kicking three of the first four goals in the third term, Turvey Park looked set for its second win of the season as they led by 50 points at the 18 minute mark. But something happened. Griffith woke up. Booting three goals in 10 minutes, including a brilliant soccer goal to Mick Duncan, the Swans had a sniff. With the wind at their back, out-injured coach Adrian Burns told his team to run hard and kick long.

"We have to run the ball if we want to peg them back," Burns said. "They're tiring and we are getting into gear." And Griffith got into gear. They started the last quarter with a goal inside 15 seconds and booted another one four minutes later. A Mick Duncan major one minute later put the Swans just 13 points down and within reach of one of the most remarkable comebacks in the Riverina Football League. Rodney Simpkin and ruckman Dave Curran were the driving force for Griffith and another goal with 10 minutes to go put Griffith down by just five points. But Turvey didn't give up. Searching for a much-needed goal, the Bulldogs stretched the Griffith defence but could not come up with the knockout blow. The Swans started to waste the football and when Jamie Pitt threaded a left foot snap from a tight angle, his seventh for the game, it looked like Turvey had the points.

Matt McDonald had other ideas though and kicked truly to reduce the margin to five points again before Crack's last second heroics. Burns was almost lost for words after the match. "I'm wrapped, that was a great comeback," he said. "To fight back from there was incredible and it shows the character and passion of this team. They never gave up and I think a win like this will bring the team closer together for the rest of the season." (By Dane Fuller - The Area News, Monday May 10, 2004).

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 200 REASONS  FOR DAMIEN SCOTT TO CELEBRATE 

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).

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Round 6 - Sunday May 16, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith .................. 6.3 .. 11.11 .. 20.18 .. 30.26 (206)

Eastern Hawks ... 4.2 .. 4.3 .. 5.4 .. 7.5 (47)

Goals: Griffith: R Duncan 9, A Gardner 5, M McDonald 5, M Crack 3, M Duncan 3, J Bennett 2, D Curran, B Wade, S McClure

Eastern Hawks: M Bruce 2, P Evans, D Vanderfeen, B McLachlan, D Bromham, R Campbell

Best: Griffith: R Duncan, M McDonald, Matt Bunn, B Wade, A Gardner, M Duncan

Eastern Hawks: B Perkins, J Keenan, D Bromham, J Richards, D Cuthbert

Griffith: Matt Bunn, S Spiers, D Scott; R Simpkin, B Wade, A Burns (c-c); J Hampel, M McDonald, B Ford; J Bennett, J Mickan, M Duncan; G Tyack, A Gardner, M Crack; D Curran, R Duncan, S Pound; T Bradley, S McClure, D Best

Eastern Hawks: J Royal, J Keenan, D Hocking; L McMahon, B Perkins, J Peace; D Vanderfeen, D Cuthbert, C Campbell; R Campbell, P Evans, J Richards; M Bruce, B McLachlan, K Vanderfeen; C Polsen, A Washington, D Bromham; S Bromham, B Shumack, S Staines

Umpires: P Hughes, M Davidson, P Smith (RUA)

Reserves: Griffith 15.15 (105) d Eastern Hawks 3.6 (24)

Goals: M Smith 5, K Duncan 4, B Hicken 3, W Armstrong, J Moat, G Dreyer

Under 18: Eastern Hawks 14.8 (92) d Griffith 8.10 (58)

Goals: K Duncan 2, S Stubbs 2, R Newman, J Gastin, T Matheson, D Crack

Match report: Griffith Swans supporters still suffering from heart complaints following last weekend's one-point miracle win were given a much-needed reprieve this weekend with the Swans cruising to victory over a hapless Eastern Hawks. A Griffith victory never looked in doubt, with the Hawks competitive in the first quarter but the Swans taking over after this and romping home in the next three quarters to seal victory by 159 points.  "We really broke them apart in the second half," Griffith captain-coach Adrian Burns said. "The third quarter was probably our better one. We were kicking into the wind and I think we kept them to one goal. Burns returned to the field yesterday after a week off to recover from a head injury and played strongly in the three quarters he took part in. He said he was impressed with several elements of his side's game and commended Matt Bunn, Rod Duncan, Ashley Gardner, Mick Duncan, Ben Wade and Ben Ford for their efforts.

"Credit to our team, (the Hawks) had some undisciplined parts to their game, but our boys kept right out of it," he said. Rod Duncan was the best for the Swans with the boot, with six majors to his credit and Ashley Gardner picking up five. The second half was the breaking point for the Hawks with Griffith able to score nine goals in the third term and ten in the fourth, restricting the Hawks to just three in the final hour. Goal-scoring honours were shared among the Swans, but unfortunately did not include Damien Scott, who played his 200th game for the club. However, while his fellow players tried valiantly to get the ball to him, the mission proved fruitless. Matt Bunn also celebrated a milestone for the club, playing his 100th game.(By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday May 3, 2004).

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 MATT BUNN KNOCKS UP 100 

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

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Round 7 - Sunday May 23, 2004 at Kindra Park 2.10pm

Coolamon .... 5.6 .. 7.8 .. 12.12 .. 16.19 (115)

Griffith ......... 4.4 .. 6.11 .. 10.15 .. 13.17 (95)

Goals: Coolamon: M Bradley 3, M Hard 3, R Bartholomew 2, J Carroll 2, M Goss 2, L Maloney, S Roberts, N Scott, R Chamberlain

Griffith: M McDonald 3, R Duncan 3, J Mickan 2, J Bennett, G Tyack, S Pound, A Gardner, M Crack

Best: Coolamon: M Hard, B McKelvie, N Scott, J Parr, B Munro, R Chamberlain

Griffith: S McClure, R Duncan, D Curran, M McDonald, Myles Bunn, B Wade

Coolamon: J Hard, J Carroll, B McPherson; B Munro, L Drum, B Garrett; R Bartholomew, M Hard (c-c), N Scott; J Parr, R Chamberlain, J Maddox; S Roberts, B McPherson, Matt Bradley; B Edyvean, M Suidgeest, L Maloney; P Thorneycroft, A McKenzie, M Goss

Griffith: T Bradley, S Spiers, D Best; R Simpkin, B Wade, S McClure; B Ford, M McDonald, Myles Bunn; M Duncan, J Mickan, R Duncan; M Crack, A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, Matt Bunn, S Pound; J Hampel, G Tyack, D Scott. Note: Daniel Best fractured ankle.

Umpires: D Potts, B McDonald, T McDonald (RUA)

Reserves: Coolamon 26.18 (174) d Griffith 6.6 (42)

Goals: W Armstrong 2, D Giorgi, J Moat, C Conlan, A Trotter

Under 18: Coolamon 18.19 (127) d Griffith 7.7 (49)

Goals: K Duncan 3, K Hicken 2, D Crack, A Baker

Match report: Coolamon ensured there will be no hard luck stories told after edging clear of Griffith in the final quarter to maintain equal top spot with a 20-point victory at Kindra Park yesterday. In one of the best games of the season, there was nothing between the teams as Coolamon triumphed 16.19 (115) to 13.17 (95). With four teams vying for a share of top spot yesterday, there was plenty at stake. In the end, Coolamon added the finishing touches a little better after leading by just nine points at the final change. Both teams put on a terrific spectacle for the large crowd and the result establishes a highly anticipated second encounter between the Hoppers and arch-rival Ganmain-GGM next Sunday. Inspirational captain-coach Matt Hard was his team's best player, while his assistant Nigel Scott, Brendan McKelvie and Jamie Parr also played well. Hard said the challenge now was to lift again against the Lions, who had a thumping win over Leeton-Whitton. "We now have to have to back-up against the Lions, but it's these big games you look forward to."

Griffith captain-coach Adrian Burns, who didn't play through injury, was far from dissatisfied. "We had a fair few player out and I was pretty happy with how the boys played," he said. Griffith could have been in front at the final change after two late kicks hit the goal post. Coolamon came out charging in the final term with there first three shots resulting in behinds before the Hoppers kicked the first of four goals. The Swans were still within sight when youngster Mathew Crack kicked a goal for his team to trail by five points before four straight kicks and marks from defence to the forward zone gave Coolamon the buffer with another goal. Coolamon kicked another goal from a 50-metre penalty before Hard closed the game late with his third. (By Graeme White - The Area News, Monday May 24, 2004).

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Round 8 - Saturday May 29, 2004 at Mangoplah Sportsground 2.10pm

Mangoplah-CUE ... 0.3 .. 3.6 .. 7.6 .. 13.10 (88)

Griffith ................... 8.2 .. 12.5 .. 16.10 .. 19.12 (126)

Goals: MCUE: M Reberger 4, R Simms 4, P Treloar 2, N Lawson, M Hayden, T Richards

Griffith: M Duncan 8, J Bennett 4, A Gardner 3, B Ford, D Curran, M McDonald, M Crack

Best: MCUE: R Simms, J Warden, M Reberger, D Howard, M Balding, A Howard

Griffith: M Duncan, S McClure, S Spiers, B Wade, M McDonald, D Curran

Mangoplah-CUE: A Howard, G Spriggs, M Balding; C Higgins, D Cameron, C Godde; X Higgins, D Howard, S Nelberding; T Richards, R Simms (c-c), P Treloar; A Mahoney, M Hayden, T Balding; J Warden, M Reberger, N Lawson; L Kendall, G Pike, S Creasy

Griffith: D Giorgi, S Spiers, T Bradley; R Frkovic, B Wade, S McClure; B Ford, M McDonald, J Hampel; M Duncan, J Mickan, R Duncan; M Crack, A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, A Burns (c-c), S Pound; Chris Conlan, D Scott, B Lanyon

Umpires: P O'Donoghue, S Crowley, D Furner (RUA)

Reserves: Mangoplah-CUE 26.20 (176) d Griffith 0.0 (0)

Under 18: Mangoplah-CUE 21.9 (135) d Griffith 3.3 (21)

Goals: D Catanzariti, T Matheson, T Wade

Match report: Griffith further widened the gap in the Riverina Football League on Saturday following a first quarter demolition of Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes. The Goannas battled hard to remain competitive with the premiers at Mangoplah Sportsground, but the damage had already been done after Griffith booted 8.2 to just three points in the opening term. From there, MCUE actually outscored Griffith by nine points, with the Swans finishing 19.12 (126) to 13.10 (86) winners. Swans coach Adrian Burns said the two halves of the game proved to be poles apart in terms of form with Griffith dominating the first half but Mangoplah fighting back in the second half. "We played pretty good in the first half, but after half-time it was a pretty ordinary game, the standard really dropped off," Burns said. "The skills weren't pretty after half-time."They did fight back a bit (in the second half), but it really wasn't a really good game. "But it was good to go there and get the win and the four points and get out of there." While the loss pushed the bottom teams further away from the leaders, Goannas captain-coach Rod Simms was adamant Mangoplah was not far away from toppling one of the leading teams. "We gave them three or four easy goals in the first quarter and that really hurt us," he said. "But from there we fought on well. We're not going to get disillusioned because we are not that far away." Simms, who was a stand-out in leading the Goannas back from the first quarter deficit, booted four goals. "They picked up three or four easy goals in the first term and that killed us," he said. "You just cannot afford to let teams have a run of eight goals." Michael Duncan, who booted eight majors, and Jamie Bennett were the stand-out for Griffith, while Simon McClure and Ben Wade were also instrumental. (By Tim Barrow - The Area News, Monday May 31, 2004).

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Round 9 - Sunday June 6, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith ............ 5.6 .. 9.10 .. 13.16 .. 19.18 (132)

Narrandera ... 3.0 .. 6.4 .. 7.6 .. 9.10 (64)

Goals: Griffith: M Duncan 5, M McDonald 3, R Duncan 3, B Owen 3, J Mickan, D Giorgi, J Hampel, J Bennett, B Ford

Narrandera: T Durnan 2, D Hopwood 2, Brett Powell, J Vearing, T Mathieson, J McMartin, J Walsh

Best: Griffith: D Curran, R Duncan, M McDonald, A Burns, D Scott, B Ford

Narrandera: Brett Powell, D Hopwood, T Mathieson, K Malone, A Thomson

Griffith: D Giorgi, S Spiers, D Scott; S McClure, B Wade, J Hampel; B Owen, M McDonald, B Ford; M Duncan, J Mickan, R Duncan; J Bennett, A Gardner, M Crack; D Curran, A Burns (c-c), S Pound; R Frkovic, Chris Conlan, G Tyack

Narrandera: L Richmond, K Malone, J Sullivan; P Bloomfield, A Thomson, D Purtill; Ben Powell, S Hutchins, A Black; D Burden, J McMartin, T Mathieson; J Walsh, J Vearing, T Durnan; Brett Powell, C Smith, D Hopwood; W Hutchins, M Thornton, I Donaldson

Umpires: M Davidson, B Webb (RUA)

Reserves: Narrandera 21.21 (147) d Griffith 4.5 (29)

Goals: D Catanzariti, N Campbell, J Moat, K Duncan

Under 18: Narrandera 9.10 (64) d Griffith 7.8 (50)

Goals: K Duncan 4, L Kidd, C Gillett, J Gastin

Match report: The Griffith Swans moved into outright second on the RFL table yesterday with a convincing win over Narrandera at Exies Oval. The Swans totally outclassed Narrandera, winning the match 19.18 (132) to 9.10 (64), with brothers Michael and Rod Duncan leading the assault with five and three goals respectively. Matt McDonald and Brett Owen also pocketed three goals each, the Swans scoring consistently and regularly throughout the match. They jumped out to an 18 point lead after the first term and from there they never turned back. As well as piling on the goals, the Swans stood up defensively, restricting Narrandera to a solitary goal in the third quarter while scoring four. They added another six goals in the last term to really ram home the advantage for a sizable victory. However, while the scoreline suggested a relatively straight-forward win, Swans coach Adrian Burns was quick to bestow praise on the efforts of all his side. "The team fought the game right out strongly, it was a good team effort," Burns said. "We worked on working hard as a team and it was very disciplined." Burns said during the week that the Swans' kicking accuracy was not as good as it should be and although they kicked 19 goals on Sunday, they also kicked 18 behinds, suggesting once again that their accuracy was not as high as they would have hoped. However, he also mentioned the side needed to improve its first half performance and this was something that worked well yesterday. Burns credited the backline with a good performance, naming Simon Spiers and Dave Curran as stand-outs with Rod Duncan also having a good game. The RFL now has a week off with a general bye which Burns said would be a good opportunity to "freshen up and have a good tilt at the second round". (The Area News - Monday June 7, 2004).

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 FOUR SWANS PICKED FOR MVAFA REP SQUAD 

FOUR Griffith Swans players have been named in the combined MVAFA league representative team to take on Sydney this Sunday in Wagga. Rod ad Mick Duncan, Ben Wade and Dave Curran were part of the squad reduced to 30 last week, with the final 22 named at training last night. This is the first time the RFL and Farrer leagues have combined to form a representative team with 20 RFL and 10 Farrer league players selected in the squad. Rod Duncan said all four of the Swans players had played at a representative level before - he and Wade were part of last year's RFL team and Mick Duncan and Curran were in the previous year. "We've all got a good chance (to be picked), depending on what they're after," Duncan said. "But it's all the best from each club so it will be fairly handy side." Duncan is determined to play on Sunday despite being diagnosed with a fractured eye socket after being injured in last weekend's Swans game against Narrandera. The MVAFA team has been smattered with injuries during the lead up with three of the 30 already ruled out. The squad trained in Ganmain on on Tuesday and last night, and the side selected will take on the best Sydney league has to offer on Sunday. (The Area News - Friday June 11, 2004). 

Rep. Match - Sunday June 13, 2004 at Maher Oval

M.V.A.F.A. ....... 2.8 .. 4.11 .. 8.14 .. 12.17 (89)

SYDNEY FL ... 5.3 .. 9.7 .. 12.13 .. 20.20 (140)

Goals: MVAFA: B McKelvie 2, B Aiken 2, M Byrne 2, B Ryan, A Loughman, R Simms, M Duncan, N Irvine

Sydney: J McPherson 4, S Pech 4, J Bradfield 3, A Higgins 3, M Livy 2, P Crey 2, A Brawn, A Fiddler

Best: MVAFA: A De Jong, B Ryan, M Hard, N Scott, M Robertson, M Hamblin

Sydney: S Pech, B Finn, M Parmenter, R Talbot, J McPherson, B Howarth

Murrumbidgee Valley AFA: Aaron De Jong (TRYC), Ben Wade (Griffith), Stuart Hutchins (Narrandera); Brandon Ryan (GGGM), Murray Hamblin (GGGM, Doug Bruckner (CAK); Nathan Irvine (GGGM), Matt Hard, capt.,(Coolamon), Brad Aiken (CAK; Michael Duncan (Griffith), David Curran (Griffith), Kane Johnstone (Temora); Rod Simms (MCUE), Brendan McKelvie (Coolamon), Michael Byrne; Matt Robertson (Leet-Whit), Nigel Scott (Coolamon), Luke Maloney (Coolamon); Jason Brown (TRYC), Andrew Loughman (Turvey Pk), Chris Higgins (MCUE), Ashley Thomson (Narrandera).

Sydney FL: Steven Pech, Mark Parmenter, Steven Crisp, Brad Finn (UNSW-ES); Jason McPherson, John Bradfield (Western Suburbs); Todd Featherstone, Michael Talbot, Richard Talbot, Decian Donoghue, Andrew Bawden (St George); Andrew Berwza, Jarrod Crosby, Mark Livy, Nathan Carbone (North Shore); Craig Morrison, Cameron French (Balmain); Adam Fiddler, Radlee Moller (Campbelltown); Peter Cary, Barnaby Howarth, Anthony Brawn, Ryan Talbot, Alex Higgins (Pennant Hills)

Under 18: Eastern 15.9 (99) d Western 9.5 (59)

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 SWANS ANSWERING TOUGHEST CRITICS - By Grace Uhr 

QUESTION marks surrounded the Griffith Swans entry into the 2004 Riverina Football League season. How exactly would they fare after a mass exodus saw 10 players, including coach Cian Ebert, depart the club following their first premiership victory in 35 years?

What effect would new coach Adrian Burns have on the side? Would the Swans be any chance at all of making it back-to-back premierships?

And as the RFL season hit the halfway mark last weekend, the Swans are well on the way to answering their toughest critics, those that wrote them off when all sign pointed to a tough year. The Swans currently sit outright second on the ladder having won seven games out of nine games. Only Coolamon are above them, just on win adrift. "I'm pretty happy with where we are at the moment," captain-coach Adrian Burns sad. "I set my sights the top four (at the beginning of the season)." The side's two loses have been to Coolamon and third-placed Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, with no more than a 20-point margin in each. "Ganamain-GGM and Coolamon are definitely the main two," Burns said. "And Turvey Park is improving a lot and could be a danger." The side also remains relatively intact with injuries yet to take a toll. (The Area News - Monday June 14, 2004). 

Round 10 - Sunday June 20, 2004 at Leeton Showground 2.10pm

Leeton-Whitton ... 2.4 .. 6.10 .. 10.13 .. 12.16 (88)

Griffith .................. 7.4 .. 7.6 .. 9.8 .. 15.11 (101)

Goals: Leet-Whit: D Dunscombe 5, M Robertson 2, T Doyle 2, D Lumsden 2, B Guest

Griffith: A Gardner 6, M Duncan 5, J Bennett, S Pound, D Curran, M McDonald

Best: Leet-Whit: T Doyle, G Looby, D Dunscombe, Kane Bullock, M Robertson

Griffith: B Owen, A Burns, A Gardner, M McDonald, B Wade, D Curran

Leeton-Whitton: M Flagg, A Cameron, M Lashbrook; J Broadbent, G Looby, D Sullivan; Kurt Bullock, D Stott, B Waters; T Irvin, J Davidson, D Lumsden; D Dunscombe, M Robertson, T Doyle; Kane Bullock, S Piltz, B Guest; G Dale, J Greatz, C Curry

Griffith: T Bradley, B Wade, Matt Bunn; D Scott, S Spiers, S McClure; B Ford, M McDonald, B Owen; S Pound, J Mickan, J Hampel; J Bennett, A Gardner, M Duncan; D Curran, A Burns (c-c), G Tyack; D Giorgi, R Frkovic, M Crack

Umpires: T McDonald, B McDonald (RUA)

Reserves: Leeton-Whitton 13.13 (91) d Griffith 8.8 (56)

Goals: C Conlan 3, Reece Hill 2, N Hetherington, Ryan Hill, M Smith

Under 18: Griffith 9.11 (65) d Leeton-Whitton 4.10 (34)

Goals: D Crack 4, K Duncan 3, C Gillett, M Johnson

Match report: Griffith came home with a flurry against the tide after a strong six-goal final term helped hold off a feisty Leeton-Whitton by 13 points at Leeton Showgrounds. The Swans looked down and out at three-quarter time, as three goals in time-on seemingly gave the home side the ascendancy with a two-goal buffer going into the last term. But a low-risk, long possession game worked wonders in the final quarter, outscoring the Crows by four goals to win 101 to 88. The same long kicking approach set up a five goal lead for Griffith at the first change. They caught Leeton-Whitton off guard with several fast breaks in the midfield before taking the long option into their forward 50-metre arc. Full-forward Ashley Gardner capitalised on the open forward line, leading strongly to boot three of the Swans' opening five goals. He found an ally in front of goals, as Michael Duncan proved too elusive for Crows defenders by adding a further two to their seven-goal first quarter. However, in one of the many ebbs and flows of the clash, Leeton-Whitton numbered up in defence and held the visitors goalless (in the second term). But the Crows did squander several opportunities, making just four from 10 attempts on goal.  Griffith though led by just two points after Leeton-Whitton goaled prior to half-time. Despite the Swans finding some drive throughout the midfield, the bulk of the third term proved a stalemate. Dave Curran's goal from just inside 50 metres, leading to a seven-point was cancelled out after the spirited Crows charged late in the third. However, the defending premiers' superior run in the legs began to kick in and defused any sign of an upset. The telling difference was Michael Duncan's exquisite skills, either by crumbing off spilled marks or by set shots from the boundary. Gardner's text book leads somehow finding space along a congested half forward, also led to two goals. It proved only fitting that Duncan's close to goal handball gave Gardner his sixth to ensure the Swans maintained second on the RFL ladder with their eight win from 10 games. (By Andrew Mathieson - The Area News, Monday June 21, 2004)

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 ROD DUNCAN'S CAREER TURNED UPSIDE DOWN - By Tim Barrow 

GRIFFITHstar Rod Duncan was recovering from surgery on Friday as his season remained in limbo. Duncan suffered a fractured eye socket against Narrandera and needed to have a titanium plate inserted into his cheekbone in Albury on Thursday. The injury has turned Duncan's career upside. Last year Duncan captained the Swans to the Riverina Football League premiership and was eyeing back-to-back titles this season as assistant coach to Adrian Burns. However, it all came to a shuddering halt when Duncan was assisted from the ground dazed and bruised a fortnight ago. The star centre-half forward or ruck-rover said there were no certainties about his return this season. "The goal is to get back in in about six weeks, I don't want to have to leave it much longer than that, or the season will be over," he said. Narrandera's captain-coach Ashley Thomson was handed a three-week suspended sentence after pleading guilty to striking Duncan in the game. However, the Duncan family, including Rod's father George - who is the president of the Griffith club - are currently investigating their options about appealing the term of the sentence. (By Tim Barrow - The Area News, Monday June 21, 2004). 

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Round 11 Sunday June 27, 2004 at Ganmain Sportsground 2.10pm

Ganmain-GGM ... 3.2 .. 9.9 .. 12.13 .. 19.20 (134)

Griffith ................. 3.0 .. 6.3 .. 10.8 .. 13.10 (88)

Goals: GGGM: M Hamblin 3, M Scott 3, D Underwood 3, A Carroll 2, S Lenon 2, E Sullivan 2, M Braybon, B Ryan, C Renner, D Logan

Griffith: A Gardner 3, M Duncan 2, D Curran 2, J Bennett 2, B Ford, B Owen, S McClure, B Wade

Best: GGGM: S Hamblin, B Lenon, M Steele, L Walsh, M Braybon

Griffith: B Owen, A Burns, S McClure, B Wade, S Pound

Ganmain-GGM: B Sullivan, A Symons, L Walsh; T Lenon, S Hamblin, D Symons; E Sullivan, B Lenon, N Irvine; S Lenon (c-c), M Braybon, M Scott; C Renner, A Carroll, D Underwood; A Johnston, M Hamblin, B Ryan; M Steele, D Logan, A Roberts

Griffith: Reece Hill, S Spiers, S McClure; T Bradley, B Wade, D Scott; J Hampel, A Burns (c-c), B Ford; G Dreyer, J Mickan, M Duncan; M Crack, A Gardner, B Owen; D Curran, S Pound, J Bennett; K Duncan, R Frkovic, A Trotter*

Umpires: B McDonald, P O'Donoghue, D Potts (RUA)

Reserves: Ganmain-GGM 24.20 (164) d Griffith 2.7 (19)

Goals: D Graham 2

Under 18: Ganmain-GGM 19.18 (132) d Griffith 1.3 (9)

Goals: D Creevy

Match report: The Griffith Swans have slipped into third spot on the Riverina Football League ladder after a deflating 46 point loss to Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong yesterday. Despite trailing for the entire match, the Swans kept in touch until the final quarter when the home side booted 7.7 to coast home to victory. But Swans president George Duncan said it was always going to be a tough ask for the Swans with six regular first graders sidelined through injury and they performed well with the side they had. "It was just a good game of footy, a good physical contest," Duncan said. "It was neck and neck all the way through." Regular first graders and key play makers Rod Duncan and Matt McDonald were both out, with Greg Tyack, Rod Simpkin, and Matt and Myles Bunn also unavailable. Ganmain-GGM centre half-back Scott Hamblin was able to celebrate his 250 game in style with yesterday's win. Hamblin was best-on-ground during his milestone game at Ganmain Sportsground, which saw the Lions take a stranglehold on the Riverina Football League. Having only returned from a hand injury last week, Hamblin was a standout in the win. "We should have buried them, but we still won," he said. "Unfortunately we kicked a lot of points and couldn't put Griffith out of the game for a long time. "It is good though, it gives us a clear lead on the ladder."  "Yeah, we were a bit wayward, but we got over the line." he added. Ashley Gardner kicked three goals for the visitors while Mick Duncan, Dave Curran and Jamie Bennett all grabbed two goals. (The Area News - Monday June 28, 2004).

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Round 12 - Sunday July 4, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith ............ 2.4 .. 9.9 .. 13.15 .. 19.21 (135)

Turvey Park ... 1.7 .. 3.8 .. 7.12 .. 13.14 (92)

Goals: D Curran 4, S Pound 3, A Gardner 2, J Bennett 2, M Duncan 2, M Crack, A Burns, J Mickan, M McDonald, B Owen, K Duncan

Turvey Park: L Mills 4, A Loughman 3, W Sykes 2, T Naughtin, L Webb, N Flanigan, K Kickett

Best: Griffith: S Pound, J Mickan, D Curran, J Hampel, S Spiers, D Scott

Turvey Park: C Cerato, M Dombroski, J Fletcher, P Donaldson, W Sykes, A Loughman

Griffith: T Bradley, S Spiers, D Scott; Matt Bunn, B Wade, S McClure; J Hampel, S Pound, B Ford; M McDonald, J Mickan, M Duncan; M Crack, A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, A Burns (c-c), B Owen; Reece Hill, K Duncan*, B Lanyon

Turvey Park: B Glascott, J Fletcher, B Cooper; P Donaldson, S Medlin, D Isaac; B Walker, C Cerato, J Kennedy; N Flanigan, A Loughman, M Sykes; T Naughtin, L Mills, L Webb; M Wilson, W Sykes, T Carroll; K Kickett, B Mattingly, M Dombroski

Umpires: D Potts, S Crowley, R Davidson (RUA)

Reserves: Griffith 16.23 (119) d Turvey Park 10.10 (70)

Goals: P Rowston 5, B Hicken 4, T Wilson 3, W Armstrong 2, N Hetherington, D Graham

Under 18: Turvey Park 25.19 (169) d Griffith 1.0 (6)

Goals: T Wade

Match report: It may not have been pretty, but the Griffith Swans bounced back into the winner's circle with a 43-point win over favourite rivals Turvey Park at Exies Oval yesterday. Coming off a loss to top-of-the-table Ganmain-Grong Grong-Marong last week, Swans coach Adrian Burns was decidedly disappointed with his side's effort, but nonetheless happy to come away with the points. "It was a fairly ordinary effort," Burns sad. "We were a little flat, but it was still good to get a win though."It wasn't really physical, it was pretty scrappy in places, we were a bit behind the eight-ball." Plagued by injury, the Swans welcomed Matt Bunn back into the side yesterday, but are still missing several other key players. Both sides got off to a slow start with the Swans only kicking two and Turvey getting one major in the first quarter. It was the second quarter that really laid the platform for the (Griffith) win, booting seven goals and restricting the visitors (to two goals), to hold a 37-point lead at the long break. It remained a relatively even game for the next two quarters, with the big gap set up in the second quarter proving too much for the Bulldogs to breach.  Burns named Jason Hampel, Shane Pound, Dave Curran and Simon Spiers as his side's best yesterday. Curran booted four goals for the side with Pound contributing well with three and Jamie Bennett, Mick Duncan and Ashley Gardner getting two each. Burns said the game would give the side plenty to think about with the side reaching the important half of the year, with only six games of the regular season remaining before finals. "We've got to put our heads down and step the tempo up at training to get the edge and get our fitness back up there," Burns said. Reserve grade also had a return to form with a relatively comfortable victory, taking it out 119- 70. The under 18's were not so lucky though, going down 169-6. Representative commitments took their toll on the Swans netball side, which lost the A grade to the Bulldogs 63-36. However, they did win B grade 24-22 and C grade 32-10. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday July 5, 2004).

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 ROWSTON SHAKES OFF INJURY THREAT FOR RETURN - By Grace Uhr 

PHIL Rowston is likely to be a surprise inclusion for the Griffith Swans tomorrow, shaking off what could have been a career-ending injury to take the field again. After a successful run in the reserve grade against Turvey Park last week, Swans coach Adrian Burns said Rowston could well be named in the first grade side who travel to Wagga tomorrow to play the Easten Hawks. "He'd be a huge bonus for us," Burns said. The hapless Hawks currently sit on the bottom of the RFL ladder, not having won a game for several weeks, but Burns refuses to believe it will be a walkover. "The last time we played them they had a fair game," he said. "I wouldn't say they're hopeless, they're got some good players and they're be at home." He said the Swans would use tomorrow's game to improve on some inaccurate kicking last weekend, setting the team a goal of booting between 20-30 majors. "We'll be playing a very attacking game, let's just say," Burns said.  Injuries are still a concern for the side with Rod Duncan, Rod Simpkin, Myles Bunn, Chris Conlan and Greg Tyack still out, Tyack likely to be unavailable for the remainder of the season due to work commitments. Their absences could see young star Kris Duncan gain promoted to the top grade and Burns said he would also be looking for big games from play-makers Matt McDonald and Mick Duncan. (The Area News - Friday July 9, 2004).

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Round 13 - Saturday July 10, 2004 at Gumly Oval 2.10pm

Eastern Hawks ... 3.3 .. 6.4 .. 8.7 .. 10.8 (68)

Griffith ................. 7.5 .. 18.11 .. 24.14 .. 32.20 (212)

Goals: Eastern Hawks: P Evans 5, B Roberts 2, C Campbell, M Streatfield, L Povett

Griffith: M Duncan 7, D Curran 6, J Bennett 4, S Pound 3, S McClure 3, J Hampel 2, A Gardner 2, M Crack, Chris Conlan, P Rowston, B Owen, K Duncan

Best: Eastern Hawks: K Vanderfeen, D Bromham, J Richards, L Pollett, P Evans, S Bromham

Griffith: J Mickan, M Duncan, S McClure, J Bennett, S Pound, B Wade

Griffith: D Scott, S Spiers, Matt Bunn; B Lanyon, B Wade, S McClure; J Hampel, S Pound, Reece Hill; M Duncan, J Mickan, Chris Conlan; M Crack, A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, M McDonald, B Owen; P Rowston, B Ford, K Duncan        Umpire: ------

Reserves: Eastern Hawks 14.7 (91) d Griffith 12.18 (90)

Goals: B Hicken 5, M Smith 3, N Hetherington 2, L Testoni, W Tyndall

Under 18: Eastern Hawks d Griffith on forfeit

Match report: Griffith Swans coach Adrian Burns set his side a target of 30 goals going into Saturday's game against the Eastern Hawks. And not only did he match it, they exceeded it with a crushing 144-point win over the hapless Eastern Hawks, Burns happy with the improved accuracy from his side. "There was a fair bit of wind blowing across the ground so to kick as many as we did in those conditions was pretty good," Burns said. From the bounce the Swans never looked in trouble, which was always going to be the case against an Eastern Hawks side, which is struggling to field a team - the reserve graders backing up for first grade each week. The Swans established a four-goal lead in the first quarter, the only term where the Hawks looked to be any chance. From the second quarter onwards, the ball rarely left the Swans attacking end, the side booting 11 goals in the second quarter and restricting the Hawks to just two to hold a 85-point lead at the long break. Some new tactics in the defensive and forward lines were successfully brought into play and the Swans on-ballers worked hard all day. Burns, who watched the game from the sideline as he continues to recover from slight injury, named ruckman Jeff Mickan as the standout on Saturday. Burns also praised the efforts of Mick Duncan and Simon McClure. The Swans half of the scoreboard was constantly ticking over, let by Duncan, with seven goals, and Dave Curran, who booted six. Jamie Bennett got four and Shane Pound and McClure had three each. The final two quarters saw the Swans lead continue to extend with six goals in the third quarter to the Hawks' three and another eight in the final quarter, eventually winning the game by a massive 144-point margin, their biggest win of the season so far. The SwanS reserve grade side was not so lucky, going down by one point. They led the entire game but were unable to hold off a final quarter comeback by the Hawks, and struggled for accuracy. The under 18's side were forced to forfeit their game. Only one game played in the netball with the Hawks forfeiting A grade, but the Swans claiming a 34-9 win in B grade. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday July 12, 2004). 

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 SWANS GO MENTAL ON COOLAMON - By Grace Uhr 

PSYCHOLOGY will be the main issue at stake when the Griffith Swans take to Exies Oval on Sunday with Coolamon in their midst. With just five rounds left to play in the Riverina Football League, the Swans are currently in third spot on the ladder are yet to register a win over the top two teams. One of these teams is Coolamon - the Grasshoppers won the side's first round encounter by 20 points and the Swans captain-coach Adrian Burns sounded a warning in the lead-up to Sunday's game. "We want to beat both sides above us on the ladder before finals. And we haven't fielded our best side against either of them yet," Burns said. The injured are recovering and fitness reaches its peak, with Burns himself and Trent Bradley set to make comebacks this week. Long-term injury prospect Rod Duncan is also a slim chance of playing despite fracturing an eye socket which required surgery just over a month ago. "They're all tough games, but this week is really important for us," Burns said. "We really want to be in second spot."(Cooamon) are a quick, running side, so we'll need to shut down a few of their on-ballers and try and get on top that way." The Swans have spent much of the second half of the season away from home and are relishing playing in front of a home crowd this week with all the signs pointing towards a fiercely contested battle. (The Area News - Friday July 16, 2004).

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Round 14 - Sunday July 18, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith .......... 3.1 .. 8.3 .. 9.5 .. 14.13 (97)

Coolamon ... 3.8 .. 6.10 .. 8.13 .. 10.15 (75)

Goals: Griffith: A Gardner 3, J Bennett 3, P Rowston 2, S Pound 2, A Burns, M McDonald, M Duncan, M Crack

Coolamon: J Maddox 3, B McKelvie 2, M Bradley 2, L Maloney, M Hard, P Edmunds

Best: Griffith: S Pound, A Burns, B Wade, J Mickan, D Scott, J Hampel

Coolamon: M Hard, N Scott, L Maloney, J O'Neill, M Bradley, A McCaig

Griffith: T Bradley, D Scott, S McClure; M McDonald, B Wade, Chris Conlan; B Ford, A Burns (c-c), J Hampel; M Duncan, P Rowston, A Gardner; B Owen, D Curran, J Bennett; J Mickan, S Pound, Matt Bunn; Reece Hill, M Crack, R Frkovic

Coolamon: P Edmunds, L Drum, B Garrett; B Munro, J O'Neill, F Furner; P Thorneycroft, M Hard (c-c), A McKenzie; J Maddox, W Serong, M Suidgeest; Matt Bradley, B McKelvie, R Chamberlain; A McCaig, L Maloney, N Scott; B McPherson, S Roberts, M Chamberlain

Umpires: P O'Donoghue, B McDonald, D Potts (RUA)

Reserves: Coolamon 21.16 (142) d Griffith 6.6 (42)

Goals: P Drayton, W Tyndall, J Moat, K Duncan, W Armstrong, N Hetherington

Under 18: Coolamon 15.15 (105) d Griffith 6.4 (40)

Goals: R Newman 2, A Potroz, P Bugno, J Gastin, G Van Noort

Match report: The Griffith Swans have leapt into second spot on the Riverina Football League ladder with a thrilling 22-point win over Coolamon at Exies Oval yesterday. Scores remained neck-to-neck with the now-third place Grasshoppers for much of the game, before the final 10 minutes saw the Swans move out to an unassailable lead. Swans coach Adrian Burns said the turning point of the game was a spoil from Ben Ford, which lifted the rest of the side, inspiring them to victory. "I'm rapt," Burns said. "It was pretty neck-and-neck all day, but it was a credit to the blokes how hard they worked into the wind. "The last ten minutes was when we really got away." Coolamon held a narrow seven-point lead going into the first break, both sides battling in tough, windy conditions. By the end of the first half though, the Swans had overtaken to be out by five points. Coolamon were struggling for accuracy and this was reflected on the scoreboard, missing many opportunities and allowing the Swans to stay in touch. Although the Grasshoppers were ahead by two points at the last break, it was the Swans who were ahead on the goal tally and in the end this proved to be the difference with the Swans booting five goals to Coolamon's two in the final quarter. Ashley Gardner and Jame Bennett led the charge for the Swans with three goals apiece, Phil Rowston continuing a remarkable comeback from injury to kick two, Shane Pound also getting a double. Burns could not pick out a player for special recognition, attributing the win to a team effort. The win puts the Swans four points clear of Coolamon, with only Ganmain-GGM ahead of them on the ladder. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday July 19, 2004).

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Round 15 - Saturday July 24, 2004 at Mangoplah Sportsground 2.10pm

Mangoplah-CUE ... 1.3 .. 4.8 .. 4.11 .. 6.15 (51)

Griffith ................... 2.5 .. 4.7 .. 5.7 .. 5.9 (39)

Goals: MCUE: M Balding, M Balding, P Rutherford, T Balding, S Neiberding, R Simms, G Bruce

Griffith: S Pound 2, J Bennett, A Gardner, J Hampel

Best: MCUE: M Reberger, R Simms, T Balding, C Higgins, G Bruce, X Higgins

Griffith: B Wade, M Bunn, S Spiers, J Bennett, S Pound

Mangoplah-CUE: G Spriggs, C Higgins, S Creasy; M Balding, M Heydon, A Howard; J Warden, R Simms (c-c), S Neiberding; G Bruce, J Millar, T Balding; Z Higgins, D Howard, C Websdale; D Cameron, C Godde, M Reberger; A Skow, P Rutherford, S Bennett

Griffith: T Bradley, S Spiers, D Scott; Reece Hill, B Wade, Matt Bunn; B Ford, A Burns (c-c), M Duncan; Brett Owen, R Duncan, J Bennett; M Crack, P Rowston, A Gardner; J Mickan, S Pound, M McDonald; Chris Conlan, J Hampel, R Frkovic

Umpires: J Fisher, P Ross, D Furner (RUA)

Reserves: Mangoplah-CUE 11.13 (79) d Griffith 6.5 (41)

Goals: N Creevy 2, P Bugno, N Hetherington, R Simpkin, G Dreyer

Under 18: Mangoplah-CUE d Griffith on forfeit

Match report: A lack of hunger and slippery conditions is what Griffith Swans coach Adrian Burns is blaming their loss against Mangoplah-Cookardinia-United-Eastlakes at Mangoplah Sportsground on Saturday. Burns was less than impressed with his side's performance against MCUE, saying they just didn't want it enough. "As a team we didn't play well, a lot of players just didn't play well at all," he said. "They (MCUE) pretty much wanted the ball more than us and that made the difference." The Swans went up by eight points at quarter time but lost steam going into the second, going into half-time down by one point. According to Burns, the Swans simply didn't have what it took to come back through the muddy and slippery conditions. "No we really didn't handle the wet conditions too well at all." Burns said the team was at less than full strength with some late injuries being called in. "We had a couple of late withdrawals due to injury, Dave Curran, our ruckman was out too," Burns said. MCUE dominated in the second half and managed to beat second placed Swans. MCUE captain-coach Rod Simms said the win over the premiers was a massive boost for the Goannas finals campaign. "The young blokes absorbed the pressure well, they are going to get the same sort of pressure in the finals," Simms said. "Every game for us is like an elimination final for us now, but this win was another step forward. (By Amelia Elliston - The Area News, Monday July 26, 2004).

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 RODNEY DUNCAN REACHES CLASSIC CENTURY 

RODNEY Duncan is reaching a milestone this weekend as the Griffith Swans face off against Narrandera. When Duncan runs onto the field it will be for the 100th time in a first grade match, his century having been reached at the ripe age of 24. The irony is that Duncan would have reached his 100th game weeks ago but suffered a fractured eye socket injury when the team met Narrandera. He has had a long career with the Griffith Swans, starting when he was just six years old. In his 18 year span, he has taken many awards including club's most improved in the under-11's, multiple best and fairest awards, coaches awards, most promising player, rookie of the year, and three premiership titles, including last year's when he was also captained the side. But to Rodney, running on for his century isn't what he's thinking about at the moment. "It's just another game, it's just another number," Duncan said."I will be thinking about the finals." Duncan isn't even worried about what people will be expecting of him. He has tunnel vision, focusing on another premiership and getting into form after being out for so long. "I more excited that it's my second game back from injury then the 100th game excitement," he said. "I don't think people will expect any more from me. "After the game it will be different. I will celebrate but for now I just want to concentrate on the game." (The Area News - Friday August 6, 2004).

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Round 16 - Sunday August 8, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith ........... 3.5 .. 10.8 .. 16.16 .. 19.20 (134)

Narrandera ... 2.2 .. 4.2 .. 4.3 .. 7.5 (47)

Goals: Griffith: A Gardner 6, M Duncan 4, A Burns 2, S Pound 2, M McDonald 2, J Bennett, R Duncan, D Curran

Narrandera: S Hutchins 2, P Robinson 2, L Richmond, D Purtill, J McMartin

Best: Griffith: M McDonald, B Wade, M Bunn, S Spiers, S Pound

Narrandera: S Irons, M Ivanoff, A Thomson, D Hopwood, S Brooker

Griffith: T Bradley, S Spiers, D Scott; S McClure, B Wade, Matt Bunn; B Ford, M McDonald, Brett Owen; R Duncan, J Mickan, R Simpkin; A Burns (c-c), A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, S Pound, M Duncan; P Rowston, Reece Hill, J Hampel

Narrandera: P Bloomfield, S Hutchins, L Richmond; J Vearing, A Thomson, S Irons; Ben Powell, D Hopwood, C Smith; J Coleman, S Brooker, T Durnan; J McMartin, P Robinson, D Purtill; M Ivanhoff, J Malone, A Black

Umpires: S Crowley, P Smith, B Webb (RUA)

Reserves: Narrandera 13.20 (98) d Griffith 10.4 (64)

Goals: W Armstrong 2, K Duncan 2, N Lanyon 2, D Giorgi, G Dreyer, Ryan Hill, M Crack

Under 18: Narrandera 17.16 (118) d Griffith 1.7 (13)

Goals: A Potroz, K Duncan

Match report: The Griffith Swans bounced back from last fortnight's loss to Mangoplah-CUE with a massive home victory over Narrandera at Exies Oval yesterday. An elated Swans coach Adrian Burns praised his chargers for going over and above what they had to do to win. "We had to bounce back from last week and we have," Burns said. "We didn't just want to win, we wanted to have a big win. Well, it rained almost all day and we won." The scoreboard showed the Swans as easy victors but Burns said the game was hard-won, and that the scoreboard was nothing to go by. "It's a big win but it was never easy," he said. "We worked really hard for this win and we deserved it."We won by a lot but it is not easy as it's always physical and it's always hard." The Swans were up by nine points after the first term but kicked away in the second, extending their lead to 34 points. After the long break the Swans really fired up and stormed out onto the oval dominating play, kicking six goals and not allowing Narrandera to get one between the sticks, 112 to 27. The Swans were sure of a win going into the last term and let their guard down considerably compared with the first three. Narrandera did all they could to claw back some respect, kicking three goals in the last term - their most successful of the game. But it was all too late for Narrandera and they went home losers by a massive 87 points. Top scorers for the Swans were Ashley Gardner with 6 and Michael Duncan with 4. Others to have strong games for the home side were Matt McDonald, Matt Bunn and Ben Wade. (By Amelia Elliston - The Area News, Monday August 9, 2004).

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Round 17 - Sunday August 15, 2004 at Leeton Showground 2.10pm

Leeton-Whitton ... 5.4 .. 7.7 .. 9.10 .. 11.12 (78)

Griffith .................. 3.3 .. 8.5 .. 15.13 .. 21.17 (143)

Goals: Leeton-Whitton: T Doyle 3, G Dale 3, D Dunscombe 2, D Clayton, B Guest, J Broadbent

Griffith: A Gardner 7, M Duncan 6, R Duncan 2, P Rowston, S Pound, J Bennett, M Crack, D Scott, T Bradley

Best: Leeton-Whitton: J Broadbent, D Clayton, Kane Bullock, D Harrison, B Waters

Griffith: B Ford, B Wade, R Duncan, S Pound, A Gardner, M Duncan

Leeton-Whitton: T Irvin, Kane Bullock, M Flagg; G Looby, J Broadbent, D Sullivan; S Piltz, D Harrison, T Doyle; D Stott, D Lumsden, B Waters; L Condon, G Dale, D Dunscombe; Kurt Bullock, D Clayton, B Guest; N Patten, B Dryburgh, B Sessions

Griffith: Myles Bunn, S Spiers, D Scott; R Simpkin, B Wade, Matt Bunn; B Ford, M McDonald, Brett Owen; M Duncan, J Mickan, S McClure; M Crack, A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, R Duncan, S Pound; P Rowston, J Hampel, T Bradley

Umpires: P Ross, P Smith, W Tilyard (RUA)

Reserves: Leeton-Whitton 24.20 (164) d Griffith 2.7 (19)

Goals: N Hetherington, J Moat

Under 18: Leeton-Whitton 20.16 (136) d Griffith 3.4 (22)

Goals: J Gastin, K Hicken, A Cappello

Match report: Unreal is the word that Griffith Swans captain-coach Adrian Burns used to describe his side's third-quarter performance against Leeton-Whitton at Leeton Showground, yesterday, when the team turned the game around. After a lacklustre first half which saw Leeton-Whitton up by 13 points at the first break, it took some one-on-one half-time talk between Burns and several players for the Swans to lift. And while the margin at the long break saw the Swans only up by four points, by the end of the third quarter they had booted seven majors to Leeton-Whitton's two and widened the gap to 39 points. "It was a great win today. It was a good win for the club and the supporters," Burns said. "We really got on top in the third quarter. We had a good talk at half-time with the team. "I just had a talk to a few of the players individually who I thought were not given what they normally do for the team. It was an unreal third quarter." The final quarter saw the momentum remain with the Swans, who continued to extend their lead to finish 65 points clear. The result has reaffirmed their position in second spot on the RFL ladder with one game left to play in the regular season. "We've only lost three games this season," Burns said. "This side, it really hurts them when they lose. "I don't know whether the opposition feels the same way because they were smiling and laughing after the game today, but this team really cares about where they're going and it's great to coach a team like that." From Ben Wade in the backline, through Ben Ford and the Duncans - Michael and Rod - in the centre to Jeff Mickan and Ashley Gardner in the forward line, the Swans outclassed their lacklustre opponents across the ground. Burns named Wade, Shane Pound, Rod Duncan and Matt Bunn as his side's best, but said it took an entire team effort to lift them after a slow start. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday August 16, 2004).

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Round 18 - Sunday August 22, 2004 at Griffith Exies Oval 2.10pm

Griffith ................. 3.6 .. 6.8 .. 10.8 .. 13.10 (88)

Ganmain-GGM ... 3.2 .. 7.8 .. 12.9 .. 12.14 (86)

Goals: Griffith: A Gardner 6, J Bennett 3, R Duncan 2, S Pound, M Crack

GGGM: C Renner 3, A Johnston 2, S Hamblin, C McPherson, L Walsh, C Hamblin, A Roberts, A Carroll, M Steele

Best: Griffith: S Pound, Matt Bunn, J Hampel, S McClure, D Curran, A Gardner

GGGM: M Braybon, M Hamblin, B Lenon, E Sullivan, D Symons

Griffith: J Hampel, S Spiers, D Scott; Matt Bunn, B Wade, R Simpkin; B Ford, M McDonald, Brett Owen; R Duncan, J Mickan, M Duncan; M Crack, A Gardner, J Bennett; D Curran, A Burns (c-c), S Pound; S McClure, T Bradley, Myles Bunn

Ganmain-GGM: B Sullivan, A Symons, A Roberts; D Symons, M Braybon, L Walsh; M Hamblin, E Sullivan, M Steele; C McPherson, S Hamblin, N Irvine; C Renner, A Carroll, D Underwood; A Johnston, B Lenon, B Ryan; P Hamblin, C Hamblin, D Logan

Umpires: P Guthrie, W Tilyard, G Walsh (RUA)

Reserves: Ganmain-GGM 25.15 (165) d Griffith 7.8 (50)

Goals: W Armstrong 2, G Dreyer, N Hetherington, R Frkovic, T Matheson, Chris Conlan

Under 18: Ganmain-GGM 15.14 (104) d Griffith 10.3 (63)

Goals: P Dickens 3, T Harrington 3, K Hicken 2, D Crack, A Potroz

Match report: The Griffith Swans blew the doors open to the Riverina Football League premiership wide open yesterday, toppling top side and clear premiership favourites Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong by two points. The big crowd gathered at Exies Oval was left breathless as the Swans clung desperately to the lead in the final minutes, hitting the front with seven minutes to go. It was one of the few times the Swans held the lead in the second half after Ganmain-GGM got on a roll in the third quarter, but it came at the right time in the game. While the ladder positions remain unchanged, the psychological win was the biggest factor for the Swans, with finals commencing next week. "But I guess there's no certainties in football, it's a bit like horse racing in that respect. "The home and away season is over now and we finished well, but finals will be a different kind of football." Burns attributed part of the win to having a team's full squad for the first time against Ganmain-GGM this year. He said there was some nervous moments, especially when the Lions built a big lead in the third quarter. "We just seemed to lose concentration there for a while and they kicked four straight, but we each knew what we had to do and we fought back. Ashley Gardner booted six goals for the home side with Jamie Bennett kicking three before coming off injured in the third quarter. Shane Pound, Jason Hampel, Simon McClure and Dave Curran were among the Swans' best. (By Grace Uhr - The Area News, Monday August 23, 2004).

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* Deducted Points (Forfeits),

Griffith 4, Leeton-Whitton 2

2004 RFL NETBALL

A grade: Leeton-Whitton 56, Turvey Park 56, Ganmain-GGM 48, Coolamon 48, Mangoplah-CUE 40; Narrandera 24, Griffith 16, Eastern Hawks 0.

B grade: Leeton-Whitton 68, Coolamon 68, Griffith 48, Mangoplah-CUE 32, Turvey Park 28; Narrandera 24, Ganmain-GGM 16, Eastern Hawks 4.

C grade: Narrandera 48, Leeton-Whitton 44, Griffith 44, Mangoplah-CUE 28, Coolamon 24; Ganmain-GGM 20, Turvey Park 8.

Juniors U15's: Griffith 30, Leeton-Whitton 24, Narrandera 24, Coolamon 18, Ganmain-GGM 4.

 SWANS ANSWER CRITICS BY MAKING SEMI FINAL QUALIFIER - By Grace Uhr 

PRE-SEASON polls had them out of the top five, league knowledge bodies wrote them off, but the Griffith Swans have surprised everyone this year. And with Riverina Football League finals kicking off tomorrow, they now have a chance to prove the ultimate point, beginning their campaign with a qualifying semi-final against Coolamon in Narrandera.  "No one really rated Griffith this year," Swans captain-coach Adrian Burns said. " But we've stood up to every challenge." The biggest of these came last week when they scored a narrow win over favourites for the flag, Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong. While the difference may only have been two points, psychologically it was much more and the ultimate way to prepare for their third finals campaign in as many years. It's a new look Swans side to the one that broke the 35-year RFL premiership drought for the club last yea and Burns refuses to look back. "What happened last year is history now," he said. "I think most of the boys have got that out of their head. "We've got a lot of new players that have surprised everyone." Despite being in his first season with the Swans, Burns is not short of big-game experience, given his past with AFL clubs Essendon and St Kilda. "I'll be able to give some points to those guys who haven't played in finals before," he said. "I'll be telling them how important it is not to burn out early on in the game." Coolamon are known for their ability to move the ball around the ground, taking the ball and trying to find space that way, something Griffith will need to combat to get on top. The two met twice during the regular season with one win apiece, but the Swans will bring a full-strength side to tomorrow's game, while Coolamon have several injury worries. Only Jamie Bennett remains in doubt after hurting his hamstring against Ganmain-GGM last week. Burns rating him a "possible chance" of taking the field. (The Area News - Friday August 27, 2004). 

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 SWANS NETBALLERS IN FINALS 

THE Griffith Swans will take three of their four netball sides into this season's RFL Netball semi-finals which begin on Sunday at Narrandera. Both B and C grade finished in third spot on the ladder, with juniors finishing first, giving all three sides at least two chances of making the grand final. Only A grade missed out in what Swans netball co-ordinator Sam Clarke as a closely-matched competition this season. "It been really good, especially in A grade it was really even," Clarke said. "There were no real stand-out teams, everyone was very even." Clarke said she was impressed with the club's performance this year and expected them to carry this form into the finals series. "The girls have done really well," she said. "They should go all right; they always put in 100 per cent." The B grade side will play Coolamon, C grade take on Leeton-Whitton, while the juniors have the week off before the major semi-final after finishing on top. (The Area News - Friday August 27, 2004).

Qualifying Final - Saturday August 28, 2004 at Narrandera Sportsground

Griffith .......... 0.3 .. 6.4 .. 9.8 .. 12.9 (81)

Coolamon .... 6.5 .. 8.9 .. 12.12 .. 15.16 (106)

Goals: Griffith: A Gardner 4, S Pound 2, M Duncan, M McDonald, J Mickan, P Rowston, D Curran, D Scott

Coolamon: B McKelvie 5, A Manley 2, N Scott 2, J Maddox 2, J Parr, B Cooke, M Hard, A McKenzie

Best: Griffith: S Spiers, R Duncan, J Mickan, B Wade, A Gardner

Coolamon: N Scott, J Carroll, B McKelvie, M Hard, B Garrett, R Chamberlain

Griffith: Jason Hampel, Ben Wade, Damien Scott; Rod Simpkin, Simon Spiers, Simon McClure; Ben Ford, Adrian Burns (c-c), Brett Owen; Rod Duncan, Jeff Mickan, Matt McDonald; Phil Rowston, Ashley Gardner, Mick Duncan; David Curran, Shane Pound, Matt Bunn; Chris Conlan, Trent Bradley, Myles Bunn, Matt Crack

Coolamon: Pat Edmunds, Sam Roberts, Leigh Drum; Brett Garrett, Francis Furner, Bryan Munro; Adam McKenzie, Luke Maloney, Alex Manley; Matt Bradley, Jamie Parr, Ryan Chamberlain; John Carroll, Brendan McKelvie, Matt Hard (c-c); Andrew McCaig, Anthony Breust, Nigel Scott; Jamie Maddox, Jamie Hard, Brendan McPherson, Brenton Cooke

Umpires: B McDonald, P O'Donoghue, M Davidson (RUA).  Gate: $6202

Reserves: Narrandera 18.8 (116) d Ganmain-GGM 7.16 (58)

Under 18: Mangoplah-CUE 10.9 (69) d Turvey Park 6.7 (43)

Netball - B grade: Coolamon 41 d Griffith 20; C grade: Leeton-Whitton 25 d Griffith 23.  
Match report: Inspired by the shock return of star forward Brendan McKelvie, Coolamon sent Griffith into free-fall in Saturday's qualifying final at Narrandera Sportsground. McKelvie made the decision to play on Friday night when his troublesome right ankle passed a vigorous fitness test. He kicked five goals in the Hoppers' 15.16 (106) to 12.9 (81) triumph. The stunning victory came just six days after Griffith upset minor premiers Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong in the final competition round. Blown away by Coolamon in the opening quarter, the Swans fought back in the second, but never came close. Griffith captain-coach Adrian Burns conceded the result had put a massive dint in the Swan's shot at back-to-back RFL titles. "We were flat," he said. "We were ordinary, we just couldn't put it together. "It is very disappointing, we have to try and do it the hard way now." McKelvie, who was in agony when he was taken to hospital against Turvey Park a fortnight ago after injuring his ankle, started the onslaught and sealed the victory with the Hoppers' first and last goals. Slotting two majors in the first quarter, he led the way for Coolamon, which charged to a 41 to 3 advantage at quarter time. The Swans marched back into the game to trail by 17 points at the main break, but they continued to be plagued by poor disposal and handling in the second half. With Nigel Scott providing Coolamon's drive out of the middle and ruckman John Carroll proving a tower of strength after taking over from Andrew McCaig, who was sidelined with a knee injury, Griffith never to bridge the gap. Leading by 22 points at three quarter time, Coolamon shut the Swans out of the contest when Jamie Maddox and Adam McKenzie booted goals, before McKelvie's fifth major extended the margin to 42. Fears for McKelvie's fitness arose when he came from the ground after booting his last goal, but he returned to play the final 10 minutes, as Griffith booted three majors to shrink the gap. (By  Tim Barrow - The Area News, Monday August 30, 2004).

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Elimination Final - Sunday August 29, 2004 at Kindra Park

Leeton-Whitton ..... 2.1 .. 3.4 .. 4.5 .. 6.7 (43)

Mangoplah-CUE ... 3.1 .. 4.2 .. 5.4 .. 6.8 (44)

Goals: Leet-Whit: T Doyle 2, M Robertson, B Waters, Kurt Bullock, D Clayton

MCUE: R Simms, D Howard, L Kendall, M Reberger, X Higgins, C Godde

Best: Leet-Whit: M Robertson, J Broadbent, B Waters, B Guest, T Irvin, D Sullivan

MCUE: M Balding, T Balding, G Bruce, R Simms, C Higgins

Umpires: -------- Gate: $4665

Reserves: Leeton-Whitton 8.13 (61) d Mangoplah-CUE 5.8 (38)

Under 18: Coolamon 11.11 (77) d Eastern Hawks 3.10 (28)

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First Semi Final - Saturday September 4, 2004 at Narrandera Sportsground

Griffith .................... 5.3 .. 15.11 .. 17.12 .. 23.16 (154)

Mangoplah-CUE ... 5.2 .. 5.2 .. 8.6 .. 10.7 (67)

Goals: Griffith: A Gardner 8, S Pound 6, M McDonald 2, M Duncan 2, B Owen 2, J Mickan, J Bennett, T Bradley

MCUE: R Simms 3, D Howard 2, A Mahoney, D Pike, G Bruce, T Balding, S Balding

Best: Griffith: A Gardner, J Mickan, D Curran, M Duncan, T Bradley, S Pound

MCUE: S Balding, M Balding, R Simms, C Higgins, K Neivelstein

Griffith: Myles Bunn, Simon Spiers, Damien Scott; Matt Bunn, Ben Wade, Simon McClure; Ben Ford, Matt McDonald, Mick Duncan; Rod Duncan, Jeff Mickan, Rod Simpkin; Adrian Burns (c-c), Ash Gardner, Jamie Bennett; David Curran, Shane Pound, Brett Owen; Phil Rowston, Chris Conlan, Trent Bradley, Jason Hampel

Mangoplah-CUE: Luke Kendall, Jeff Millar, Stace Creasy; Chris Higgins, Mitch Heydon, Kane Nievelstein; Trent Baldwin, Neil Lawson, Grant Bruce; Andrew Mahoney, Rod Simms (c-c), Geoff Spriggs; Casey Godde, Dean Howard, David Pike; Jai Warden, Xavier Higgins, Mitch Reberger; Mitch Balding, Shaun Neiberding, Sam Balding, Graham Pike

Umpires: B Webb, P Guthrie, R Dalgleish (RUA).  Gate: $5174

Reserves: Leeton-Whitton 12.4 (76) d Ganmain-GGM 10.12 (72)

Under 18: Turvey Park 12.11 (83) d Coolamon 11.8 (74)

Netball - B grade: Griffith 35 d Mangoplah-CUE 9; C grade: Griffith 32 d Mangoplah-CUE 22

Match report: Griffith kept their shot at back-to-back RFL titles alive on Saturday with a stunning demolition of Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes. The Swans, leading by a point at quarter time, launched a second term whitewash of the Goannas before going on to win 23.16 (154) to 10.7 (67). Griffith captain-coach Adrian Burns was impressed by the Swans turnaround from the 25-point loss to the Hoppers lat week, where they failed to kick a goal in the first term. "We were much better better today," Burns said. "That's close to our best football and we need to be playing that well at this stage. "We have had to do it the hard way but we're in the preliminary final now and we've still got a shot at it." Bouncing back from last week's shattering loss to Coolamon, Griffith made all the early running before MCUE fought back before the first break. Nobody could have expected what happened next. After threatening to break away with three points early in the term, the Swans then piled on 10.8 without response from the Goannas. Leading the way was star 18-year-old full-forward Ashley Gardner, who booted eight majors for the game. After half-time the Swans looked like they would continue the procession of goals. Gardner slotted his seventh and eighth goals early in the term, as Mangoplah squandered three chances at the other end. After more than 30 minutes, the Goannas finally kicked their sixth goal through David Pike, but defeat was inevitable. In the final term, Griffith continued its domination and sealed the win with three goals, including two from Michael Duncan, in the final minutes. MCUE captain-coach Rod Simms conceded the Goannas were comprehensively beaten. "They outclassed us today," Simms said. "They have got a good experienced unit and it showed out there." (The Area News - Monday September 6, 2004).

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Second Semi Final - Sunday September 5, 2004 at Ganmain Sportsground

Ganmain-GGM ... 2.4 .. 7.7 .. 14.12 .. 21.14 (140)

Coolamon ........... 3.6 .. 7.8 .. 11.9 .. 13.12 (90)

Goals: GGGM: A Carroll 6, M Scott 4, S Lenon 3, M Hamblin 3, B Ryan 2, C Renner, S Hamblin, N Irvine

Coolamon: B McKelvie 5, M Hard 2, J Parr 2, N Scott, L Maloney, M Bradley, A Manley

Best: GGGM: M Hamblin, C McPherson, A Carroll, M Steele, D Symons, S Lenon

Coolamon: B McKelvie, N Scott, A Manley, J Carroll, L Maloney, B Garrett

Ganmain-GGM: Ben Sullivan, Adam Symons, Drew Symons; Luke Walsh, Marc Braybon, Troy Lenon; Mitch Steele, Brett Lenon, Nathan Irvine; Murray Hamblin, Christen McPherson, Shane Lenon (c-c); Scott Hamblin, Anthony Carroll, Clinton Renner; Andrew Johnston, Brandon Ryan, Eddie Sullivan; Matt Scott, Daniel Underwood, Chad Hamblin, Andrew Roberts

Coolamon: Francis Furner, Leigh Drum, Bryan Munro; Brett Garrett, Jacob O'Neill, Pat Edmunds; Adam McKenzie, Luke Maloney, Alex Manley; Matt Bradley, Ryan Chamberlain, Jamie Hard; Jamie Maddox, Brendan McKelvie, Matt Hard (c-c); John Carroll, Anthony Breust, Nigel Scott; Jamie Parr, Sam Roberts, Ben Edyvean, Matt Chamberlain

Umpires: P O'Donoghue, D Potts, G Walsh (RUA).  Gate: $8933

Reserves: Narrandera 17.12 (114) d Coolamon 8.14 (62)

Under 18: Narrandera 12.10 (82) d Mangoplah-CUE 7.6 (48)

Netball - Juniors: Griffith19 d Narrandera 18.

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Preliminary Final - Sunday September 12, 2004 at Narrandera Sportsground

Coolamon .... 0.1 .. 3.3 .. 6.9 .. 7.11 (53)

Griffith ......... 3.2 .. 6.4 .. 6.5 .. 10.8 (68)

Goals: Coolamon: J Parr 2, L Maloney 2, A McCaig, B McKelvie, N Scott

Griffith: A Gardner 4, R Simpkin 2, P Rowston 2, J Bennett, J Mickan

Best: Coolamon: R Chamberlain, P Edmunds, A McKenzie, B Garrett, N Scott, J Carroll

Griffith: P Rowston, J Mickan, A Burns, M McDonald, S Pound, Matt Bunn

Coolamon: Pat Edmunds, Bryan Munro, Brett Garrett; Leigh Drum, Jacob O'Neill, Francis Furner; Luke Maloney, Jamie Hard, Adam McKenzie; Ryan Chamberlain, Jamie Parr, Alex Manley; Andrew McCaig, Brendan McKelvie, Matt Hard (c-c); John Carroll, Anthony Breust, Nigel Scott; Matt Bradley, Sam Roberts, Jamie Maddox, Brendan McPherson

Griffith: Matt Bunn, Simon Spiers, Damien Scott; Trent Bradley, Ben Wade, Myles Bunn; Ben Ford, Matt McDonald, Mick Duncan; Rod Duncan, Jeff Mickan, Phil Rowston; Rod Simpkin, Ash Gardner, Jamie Bennett; David Curran, Adrian Burns (c-c), Shane Pound; Jason Hampel, Simon McClure, Dominic Giorgi, Chris Conlan

Umpires: B McDonald, G Walsh, P O'Donoghue (RUA).  Gate: 7299

Reserves: Leeton-Whitton 9.10 (64) d Coolamon 7.14 (56)

Under 18: Mangoplah-CUE 8.14 (62) d Turvey Park 6.3 (39)

Netball - B grade: Leeton-Whitton 32 d Griffith 26; C grade: Griffith 24 d Leeton-Whitton 23

Match report: Against all odds, Griffith staged a phenomenal last quarter comeback at Narrandera Sportsground yesterday to qualify for their third consecutive RFL grand final. The Swans were out on their feet, trailing by 11 points and down a man with 13 minutes remaining when ruckman Dave Curran was sent from the field for 15 minutes for an alleged alteration with an opponent and a runner from Coolamon. However, sparked by the dramatic last term events, Griffith kicked four unanswered goals to record a stunning 10.8 (68) to 7.11 (53) win. Griffith captain-coach Adrian Burns heaped praise on the Swans players after their unlikely victory. "There is a lot of spirit in this (dressing) room," he said. "We lifted when we had today. "It was a big effort, but we're in another grand final, we've still a chance." Curran and Coolamon's John Carroll were involved in a scuffle in the centre of the ground, when a Hoppers runner became involved in breaking the struggle up. While allegations flew after the game about the incident, Curran was shown a yellow card and sent from the field, leaving Griffith one player short for the rest of the game. However, rather than hand the Hoppers victory on a platter, Griffith responded in stunning style. The Swans had not kicked a goal since half-time, but centre half-forward Rod Duncan sent Griffith surging forward, before setting up full-forward Ashley Gardner to break the drought. Gardner became the centrepiece of Griffith's turnaround, booting three majors in a matter of minutes to turn an 11-point deficit into an eight-point lead. Veteran Phil Rowston then slammed home the sealing goal from point blank range with four minutes remaining. After the game, Coolamon's coach Matt Hard admitted the Hoppers were thinking too far ahead. "It was probably the worst thing that could have happened," he said. "We should have won from there, but we probably thought that all the time. "You just can't take your foot off the pedal against Griffith." Hard wore headgear in yesterday's game after being knocked out in last weekend's semi-final loss to Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong. (The Area News - Monday September 13, 2004).

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 THREE SWANS AIM TO WIPE OUT BITTER GRAND FINAL MEMORIES - By Matt Malone 

GRIFFITH veteran Damien Scott is one of three Swans out to seek revenge on their 1991 premiership defeat by Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong. Scott, along with Chris Conlan and Jamie Bennett are the only three still remaining in the side which went down to the Lions 13 years ago. "That year we flogged Ganmain by a big margin in the major semi, then we had a week off, then they came back and beat us in the big one," he said. "I try to forget about it, but it will be the perfect chance to put the memories to rest." "There is no reason why we can't win, if everyone sticks to the game plan we have the personnel to win." Scott is keen on the chance at going for back-to-back premierships. "You don't get the opportunity to play three grand finals in three years very often. The '91 game was a long time ago and I'm more focused on the chance to back-to-back flags," he said. Twelve years ago Scott was dashing 19-year-old wingman, however he takes the field this weekend as an experienced back pocket player who is eager to shutdown Ganmain's gun forwards. "Myself and Simon Spiers have the job on Clinton Renner and Anthony Carroll who were joint leading goal kickers in the RFL this year, but I've played on Renner before and we have both done a pretty good job of containing them," he said. "There's Christen McPherson who we'll have to be wary of. He's a very good player and has been switching from centre half-forward an centre half-back all year, but he'll probably start up forward I'd say.  "Nathan Irvine is another good player who we have to watch but I think both sides are pretty similar in that both are even across the field." However for Scott after years of experience in big games, the formula is simple. "Basically in the end it will just come down to who's more prepared to be the best side on the day. (The Daily Advertiser, - Friday September 17, 2004).

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 ROWSTON DEFYING DOCTORS' ORDERS TO PLAY - By Grace Uhr 

WHEN Swans stalwart Phil Rowston steps onto the Narrandera Sportsground for the Riverina Football League grand final on Sunday, he will be defying the advice of doctors' orders. Told by Melbourne specialists at the start of the season he should never play again, Rowston, now 32, has no cartilage in his knee, just bone rubbing on bone.  But when the club came knocking late in the season, Rowston answered their call. "I made myself available again because they were a bit short of reserve graders one week and it's just gone from there," Rowston said. He rated the pain during the game as "not too bad", but admitted suffering soreness for three days after every game, but said the lighter training schedule was keeping him in control. "(Coach) Adrian Burns has been really good, they've basically nursed me through the season," he said. "I don't strap it during the game, it doesn't help." Rowston has been with the Swans since 1994, playing every year except 1997 and was also part of the grand final teams over the past two seasons. He is looking forward to another chance at grand final glory after the team broke a 35-year premiership drought for the club against Turvey Park last year, but is concentrating on remaining relaxed and calm before Sunday's game. I'm trying not to think about it too much until later in the week," Rowston said. "All grand finals are tough, but this one's different, because I think with the last two we were sort of expected to win, but with this one we're definitely underdogs which is good because we've got nothing to lose. "The other major difference for the Swans this year is the make-up of the team, vastly different from the team of the last two years, but still equal in standard."  (The Area News - Friday, September 17, 2004).

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 NETBALLERS TO CONTEST FINALS - By Grace Uhr 

TWO Griffith teams carry the red and white pride into the Riverina Football League netball grand finals in Narrandera on Sunday, with both the C grade and juniors teams playing Narandera. C grade coach Annette Waide said her side and Narrandera are evenly matched this season, the Swans winning one game and Narrandera the other two. "It's been fairly even between us and Narrandera, but they went straight into the grand final so the advantage is probably with them psychologically," Waide said. "But there's no doubt in my mind that we can do it."  Waide said Narrandera were a tough, physical side, but the Swans were strong at both ends of the court and should match-up well. Juniors coach Minnietta Walker said her team had a tough task ahead of them in there grand final against Narrandera. The Swans were the first team into the grand final, beating Narrandera by one goal two weeks ago, but were going to be tough opponents. "They're very fast and a very tall side as well and height is something we really lack," Walker said. Representative players Erin Patterson and Adele Stinson are expected to lead from the front for the Swans side.  (The Area News - Friday, September 17, 2004).'

Grand Final - Sunday September 19, 2004 at Narrandera Sportsground 2.10pm

Ganmain-GGM ... 4.2 .. 8.5 .. 14.11 .. 18.13 (121)

Griffith ................. 1.1 .. 2.4 .. 2.7 .. 10.12 (72)

Goals: GGGM: S Hamblin 3, D Underwood 3, A Johnston 2, M Hamblin 2, M Scott 2, B Ryan, E Sullivan, M Braybon, A Carroll, S Lenon, B Lenon

Griffith: P Rowston 4, J Bennett 2, A Gardner, J Mickan, S Pound, M Duncan

Best: GGGM: C McPherson, M Steele, B Ryan, B Lenon, S Hamblin, M Braybon, M Hamblin

Griffith: M McDonald, S Pound, B Wade, M Duncan, P Rowston, Matt Bunn

Ganmain-GGM: Ben Sullivan, Adam Symons, Drew Symons; Luke Walsh, Christen McPherson, Troy Lenon; Mitch Steele, Brett Lenon, Nathan Irvine; Murray Hamblin, Marc Braybon, Shane Lenon (c-c); Scott Hamblin, Anthony Carroll, Clinton Renner; Andrew Johnston, Brandon Ryan, Eddie Sullivan; Matt Scott, Daniel Underwood, Chad Hamblin, Andrew Roberts

Griffith: Myles Bunn, Simon Spiers, Damien Scott; Simon McClure, Ben Wade, Matt Bunn; Mick Duncan, Matt McDonald, Ben Ford; Rod Duncan, Jeff Mickan, Brett Owen; Phil Rowston, Ash Gardner, Jamie Bennett; David Curran, Adrian Burns (c-c), Shane Pound; Rod Simpkin, Trent Bradley, Jason Hampel, Chris Conlan

Umpires: B McDonald, D Potts, P O'Donoghue (RUA). Gate: $23,061

Reports: P Rowston for striking.

Reserves: Narrandera 20.14 (134) d Leeton-Whitton 5.6 (36)

Umpires: T McDonald, G Walsh, B Webb (RUA)

Under 18: Mangoplah-CUE 18.11 (119) d Narrandera 6.5 (41)

Umpires: S Graham, R Dalgliesh, D Furner (RUA)

Netball - A grade: Turvey Park 53 d Leeton-Whitton 49; B grade: Leeton-Whitton 22 d Coolamon 20; C grade: Narrandera 26 d Griffith 19; Juniors U15's: Narrandera 27 d Griffith 24.

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Match report: Griffith captain-coach Adrian Burns was at a loss to explain where their dreams of back-to-back Riverina Football League titles unraveled at Narrandera Sportsground. Slumped in the Swans’ dressing room after the 18.13 (121) to 10.12 (72) loss, Burns was yet to come to terms with their spectacular demise against an ultra-impressive Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong outfit.

The Swans never made a contest of the grand final, managing just two goals to three-quarter time. “It was shattering,” Burns said. “We were flat, we just wasn’t there at all. “I can’t really explain it.”

The Swans were mere spectators as Ganmain poured on the points in the third term. The margin blew out to 76 points at three-quarter time – star midfielder Murray Hamblin slamming home a 60-metre running goal moments before the end of the term which came as a symbol of their dominance. The six goals the Lions slammed on for the quarter could easily have been more except for some near misses, but it mattered little in the final wash up.

It came as little comfort to Burns and the Swans, but Griffith showed spirit in the last term to lessen the damage on the scoreboard.

Th Swans kicked 8.5 in the final quarter, with Phil Rowston booting four at full-forward. “We did show a bit of fight in the last quarter,” he said. “But it counted for nothing and it doesn’t make me feel any better now. “I am proud of the team but, we fought hard this year and did well to make the grand final.” (By Tim Barrow – The Area News – Monday, September 20, 2004)

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2004 RIVERINA FOOTBALL LEAGUE AWARDS

Seniors: Best & Fairest - Jim Quinn Medal

28 - Nigel Scott (Coolamon); 19 - Rodney Simms (Mangoplah-CUE); 18 - Brandon Ryan (Ganmain-GGM); 17 - Matthew Robertson (Leeton-Whitton); 15 - Ryan Chamberlain (Coolamon); 13 - Matthew McDonald, Ben Wade (Griffith); 12 - Shane Pound (Griffith), Ashley Thomson (Narrandera); 11 - Mitch Reberger (Mangoplah-CUE); 10 - Stuart Hutchins (Narrandera); 9 - Matthew Hard, Luke Maloney (Coolamon), Michael Duncan (Griffith), Tim Doyle (Leeton-Whitton); 8 - Christen McPherson (Ganmain-GGM), David Curran (Griffith), Dean Hopwood (Narrandera), Chris Cerato (Turvey Park); 7 - Phillip Evans (Eastern Hawks), Murray Hambin, Eddie Sullivan (Ganmain-GGM), Daryl Clayton, Brett Guest (Leeton-Whitton), Neil Lawson (Mangoplah-CUE), 6 - Brett Lenon (Ganmain-GGM), Rodney Duncan (Griffith), Dane Campbell, Andrew Loughman, Warren Sykes (Turvey Park); 5 - Marc Braybon, Andrew Johnston (Ganmain-GGM), Drew Dunscombe (Leeton-Whitton), Chris Higgins (Mangoplah-CUE), Peter Bloomfield (Narrandera); 4 - Darren Cuthbert (Eastern Hawks), Scott Hamblin, Mitchell Steele (Ganmain-GGM), Xavier Higgins (Mangoplah-CUE), Brett Powell (Narrandera); 3 - Jamie Parr (Coolamon), Clint Campbell, Jamie Keenan, James Richards, Aaron Washington (Eastern Hawks), Anthony Carroll, Shane Lenon, Troy Lenon, Daniel Underwood (Ganmain-GGM), Jeff Mickan (Griffith), Jamie Broadbent, Daniel Lumsden (Leeton-Whitton), Blair Campbell, Mitch Daniher, Dale Isaac (Turvey Park); 2 - Brendan McKelvie, James McKenzie (Coolamon), Danny Bromham (Eastern Hawks), Adrian Burns (Griffith), Trent Balding, Dean Howard (Mangoplah-CUE), Damon Burden, Kaine Malone, Pat Robinson, Chris Smith (Narrandera), Michell Sykes (Turvey Park); 1 - Matthew Bradley (Coolamon), Craig Polsen, Jamie Ross, Ken Vanderfeen (Eastern Hawks), Ben Sullivan (Ganmain-GGM), Jamie Bennett (Griffith), Brad Waters (Leeton-Whitton), Sam Balding, Geoff Spriggs, Jai Warden (Mangoplah-CUE), Paul Donaldson, John Hoey (Turvey Park).

Reserves - Frank Gaynor Medal

20 - Matthew Meladonis (Leeton-Whitton); 12 - Jamie Parr (Coolamon), David Logan, Brad Smith (Ganmain-GGM), Shane Bloomfield, Steve Donaldson (Narrandera). Griffith players to receive votes were: 8 - Chris Conlan; 7 - Kris Duncan; 5 - Warwick Armstrong; 3 - Trent Bradley, Greg Dreyer, Phillip Rowston, Mark Smith; 2 - Danny Graham, Reece Hill, Ryan Hill; 1 - Andrew Trotter, Wayne Tyndall.

Under 18 - Lou Brown Medal

19 - Nathan Flanigan (Turvey Park); 16 - Jeremy Orme (Narrandera); 14 - Mitchell O'Brien (Coolamon), Ken Vanderfeen (Eastern Hawks); 11 - David Vanderfeen (Eastern Hawks), Jarrod Conway (Ganmain-GGM), Michael Cattrell, Luke Webb (Turvey Park); 10 - Steve Iannelli (Leeton-Whitton). Griffith players to receive votes were: 5 - Luke Habel; 4 - Andrew Baker; 3 - Kris Duncan, Tim Matheson, Will Overs; 2 - Dean Catanzariti; Jonathon Gastin, Rhys Newman.

 

Seniors: Top Goalkickers (h/a) - Stewart Fraser Trophy

69 - Anthony Carroll (Ganmain-GGM), Clinton Renner (Ganmain-GGM), 57 - Michael Duncan (Griffith), 53 - Ashley Gardner (Griffith), 51 - Brendan McKelvie (Coolamon), 42 - Jamie Pitt (Turvey Park), 41 - Drew Dunscombe (Leeton-Whitton), 40 - Matthew Hard (Coolamon), Rodney Simms (Mangoplah-CUE), 37 - Jamie Bennett (Griffith).

Reserves (Griggs Trophy)

63 - David Pike (Mangoplah-CUE); 51 - Jonathon Crocker (Coolamon); 48 - Matthew Lang (Leeton-Whitton); 45 - Scott Martin (Coolamon), Drew Wood (Ganmain-GGM); 41 - Mark English (Narrandera); 40 - Jamie Parr (Coolamon); 35 - Darren Brookes (Leeton-Whitton); 34 - Shaun Bradley (Coolamon).

Under 18 (Dalco Trophy)

83 - Michael Cattell (Turvey Park); 69 - Brendon Collis (Narrandera); 54 - Brenton Vogt (Coolamon); 43 - Jarrod Conway (Coolamon), 40 - David Vanderfeen (Eastern Hawks); 36 - Dean Sanbrook (Mangoplah-CUE); 32 - Michell O'Brien (Coolamon); 31 - Michell Hayden (Mangoplah-CUE); 30 - Craig Websdale (Mangoplah-CUE).

Club Championships: Coolamon Rovers

Netball: Best & Fairest

A grade: Caryn Suckings (Griffith) & Kellie Harrison (Leeton-Whitton);   B grade: Alison Ward (Griffith);

C grade: Sonia Tyler (Narrandera);   Juniors: Erin Patterson (Griffith).

 Miss RFL Girl of the Year

Tegan Hamblin (Ganmain-GGM) 1st, Sonia Tyler (Narrandera) 2nd, Samantha Clark (Griffith) 3rd

2004 GOALS - RESERVES & UNDER 18's GRADES

Reserves: Warwick Armstrong 15, Shane Best 0, Trent Bradley 1, Owen Brown 0, Paul Bugno 1, Norm Campbell 1, Colin Cassidy 0, Dean Catanzariti 1, Luke Catanzariti 0, Glenn Ceccato 0, Jamie Codemo 0, Greg Collins 0, Chris Conlan 7, Mathew Crack 3, Nathan Creevy 2, Linden Cullen 0, Ashley Gardner 13, Paul Drayton 1, Danny Graham 3, Rick Frkovoc 1, Andrew Gifford 0, Dom Giorgi 2, Greg Dreyer 4, Kris Duncan 16, Nic Hetherington 8, Brendan Hicken 24, Reece Hill 3, Ryan Hill 2, Danny Hoourigan 0, Brett Lanyon 2, Rodney Male 0, Tim Matheson 1, Matt Molloy 2, Justin Moat 6, David Pasin 0, Luke Robertson 1, Andrew Romagnolo 5, Phillip Rowston 5, Matt Scott 3, Rodney Simpkin 1, Harpreet Singh 0, Mark Smith 16, Simon Spiers 0, Luke Testoni 1, Andrew Trotter 1, Greg Tyack 4, Wayne Tyndall 4, Tim Wilson 8, Terry Young 0. Coach: Greg Dreyer

 

Under 18: Andrew Baker 1, Michael Best 1, Rhys Best 0, Paul Bugno 2, Tom Campbell 0, Andrew Cappello 1, Dean Catanzariti 1, Brady Corbett, Luke Corbett 0, Dean Crack 9, Daniel Creevy 1, Paul Dickens 3, Jarrod Duncan 0, Kris Duncan 15, Jonathon Gastin 6, Cameron Gillett 2, A Gulloni 1, Luke Habel 1, Trent Harrington 3, Cameron Harrison 0, Kris Hicken 5, Matt Johnson 1, Lucas Kidd 1, Tim Matheson 2, Alistair McCorkelle 0, Dion Minato 3, Clinton Munro 0, Rhys Newman 3, Nigel O'Brien 0, Will Overs 0, Alex Potroz 3, Shaun Stubbs 10, Garry Van Noort 1, Terry Wade 2, Josh Ward 0. Coaches: Matthew McDonald / Michael Duncan.

2004 GRIFFITH AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL CLUB AWARDS

Saturday, October 9, 2004 at Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club

Major Sponsor: Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club

FOOTBALL

Senior grade

Best & Fairest: Ben Wade

Runner-up: Matthew McDonald

Most Consistent: Michael Duncan

Most Improved: Jason Hampel

Best Utility (Fergie King Memorial): Jeffrey Mickan

Best in Finals: Shane Pound

Most Goals Kicked: Ashley Gardner

Coach’s Award: David Curran

Reserve grade

Best & Fairest: Chris Conlan

Runner-up: Glenn Ceccato

Most Consistent: Brett Lanyon

Most Improved: Luke Catanzariti

Best Utility: Mark Smith

Most Goals Kicked: Brendan Hicken

Coach’s Award: Nick Hetherington

Under 18's

Best & Fairest: Kris Duncan

Runner-up: Dean Catanzariti

Most Consistent: Tim Matheson

Most Improved: Paul Bugno

Best Utility: Dean Crack

Most Goals Kicked (Brian Files Memorial): Kris Duncan

Coach’s Award: Clinton Munro

Most Promising Player (Ronnie Williams Memorial): Rhys Newman

Encouragement Award (Fred Owen Memorial Shield): Alex Potroz

Rookie of the Year (Gloria Butcher Memorial): Luke Habel

NETBALL

A grade

Best & Fairest: Caryn Stuckings

Players’ Player:

Coach’s Award:

B grade

Best & Fairest: Kayleen Ward

Players’ Player:

Coach’s Award:

C grade

Best & Fairest: Jeanette Ward

Players’ Player:

Coach’s Award:

Juniors

Best & Fairest: Erin Patterson

Players’ Player:

Coach’s Award:

SPECIAL AWARDS

Most Conscientious Player/Clubperson (Joan Hicks Memorial): Leanne Scott

Club Person of the Year (Bill Simmons Memorial): Trevor Harrison

AFL Volunteer Recognition Awards: Owen Brown, Joe Catanzariti, Greg Collins, Darryn Savage, Ernie & Sue Wade

100 senior games milestone: Matthew Bunn

Life Membership: Jamie Bennett & Damien Scott (200 senior games)

2004 SENIOR DEBUTS & FINAL SENIOR GAMES / GOALS

Debuts: April 10 - Nick Broad, Adrian Burns, Rick Frkovic, Reece Hill, Brett Lanyon, Shane Pound; May 9 - Mathew Crack, Greg Tyack; June 27 - Andrew Trotter; July 4 - Kris Duncan.

Final Games / Goals: Nick Broad (2 / 2), Chris Conlan (130 / 98), Rick Frkovic (13 / 3), Andrew Hill (45 / 84), Reece Hill (8 / 0), Brett Lanyon (5 / 0), Simon McClure (22 / 7), Shane Pound (22 / 34), Andrew Trotter (1 / 0), Greg Tyack (5 / 1), Ben Wade (46 / 15).

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