2004 RFL SEASON
Apr 10 MCUE (h) Apr 17 NI (a) Apr 25 LW (h) May 2 GGGM (h) May 9 TP (a) May 16 EH (h) May 23 CR (a) May 29 MCUE (a) June 6 NI (h) Jun 13 Rep Jun 20 LW (a) Jun 27 GGGM (a) Jul 4 TP (h) Jul 10 EH (a) Jul 18 CR (h) Jul 24 MCUE (a) Aug 8 NI (h) Aug 15 LW (a) Aug 22 GGGM (h)
Finals - Sep 28 QF Sep 29 EF Sep 4 SF1 Sep 5 SF2 Sep 12 PF Sep 19 GF
Ladders Player Stats Record Swans Awards RFL Awards
Click on image to enlarge
IN: Adrian Burns (Sale), Nick Broad (West Aust.), Nic Hetherington (Narrandera), Simon McClure (Griffith Black & Whites RL), Shane Pound (Coleambally), Matt Scott (Temora), Mark Smith (Coreen-Daysdale), Greg Tyack (Lake Cargelligo), Josh Ward (Ungarie), Tim Wilson.
OUT: Trevor Clarke (Osborne), Craig Conlan (UK), Shawn Conlan (Barellan), Cian Ebert (Corowa-Rutherglen), Anthony Greely, Brendan Giason (UK), Andrew Hill (Wagga Tigers), Jason and Kaine Malone (Narrandera), Jonathan O'Dwyer (Barooga), Matthew Olney (Barooga), Glenn Vaccari (Hillston Swans), Jason Vant (Urana); Nick Broad (West Aust.), Andrew Trotter (The Rock-Yerong Creek).
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).
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).
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).
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 affect team balance.
"It won't really, because we've got a fair bit of depth," he said. "We're pretty fortunate this year that we can cover them. Both sides are hoping at retaining their unblemished records in an attempt to go to a 3-0 win/loss record. (The Area News - Friday April 23 2004).
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).
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).
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
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).
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).
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).
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 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).
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).
RODNEY DUNCAN REACHES CLASSIC CENTURY
RODNEY Duncan is reaching a milestone this weekend as the Griffith Swans faces 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).
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 year 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).
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).
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. "Simon Spiers and I 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 and 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).
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).
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).'
RFL GRAND FINAL 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)
BEN WADE JOINS GLENELG - By Grace Uhr
GRIFFITH Swans star Ben Wade is about to take the biggest step of his football career, signing with South Australian National Football League club Glenelg. Wade, 18, signed with the club last Thursday after they approached him about two weeks ago and is looking forward to the challenge of playing in what is regarded as the second-highest state competition after the Victorian league. "I'm really excited, just to see what it's like to play over there," Wade said. "My goal will be just to get the best out of myself and just know what I'm capable of.
The SANFL is very strong and is probably one of the top leagues in the country and it's a good recruiting ground for the AFL. Wade came into his own as a player at the Swans this season, taking out the club's best and fairest despite being one of the youngest players.
"I was reasonably happy with my year and the club was reasonably happy with the team's performance," he said. Glenelg are now well into preparations for next year's SANFL season, Wade set to move over there at the end of next week and commence training the following week. It will be his first move away from Griffith, but he said it is unlikely to be too much of a culture shock.
"Glenelg's right on the coast just outside of Adelaide and they said it's just like a big country town, so it won't be too fast-paced for me," he said. Glenelg finished seventh out of nine clubs in the SANFL last season and are currently in a state of rebuilding, yet to sign a first-grade coach after their former coach David Noble was pursued by the Adelaide Crows.
Glenelg development manager Ken Applegarth, who was behind Wade's signing, said it was family connections that brought Wade to their attention. "A personal friend of the family said young Ben had an ambition to pursue his football," Applegarth said.
"It seemed the best option for him at his age and he's got some pretty strong friends and relatives down here. "It's a good club and nice spot and it should be a good move for the lad." Wade joins a long list of Riverina Football League players who have made the step up to the SANFL, including Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong star Murray Hamblin, who played with Central Districts two seasons ago.
(The Area News - Monday October 25, 2004).
HISTORIC CHANGE FOR LEAGUE
A NEW era for Australian football in the region was unanimously voted in last Thursday by the president of the Hume, Riverina, Farrer, Coreen and Northern Riverina leagues. The historic meeting at Narrandera saw the formalisation of the new body named the Southern Region Australian Football and Netball Association that will centralise administration and concentrate on development of the code as a whole, instead of leaving it up to individual leagues. The association will be chaired by John Wright with the other directors to include Garry Buchanan, the regional manager of Southern NSW and ACT AFL, and the president of each of the leagues. "There is not going to be any wholesale changes in the foreseeable future with the new board," Buchanan said. (The Area News - Monday October 25, 2004).