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IN: Gary Argus (Hillston Swans), Tim Birks (Uni Blues), Adam Brander (Sale), Malcolm Burke (Barellan), Tony Butcher (Hillston Swans), Craig Conlan (UK), Merv Firebrace-Jones, Graham Foley (Hillston Swans), Roger Heenan (Portland), Matthew Kenny (Port Maquarie Magpies), Craig Lugton (East Wagga-Kooringal), Balraj Singh (Lower Plenty via Waratah, NT), Michael Wilson (Turvey Park).

OUT: Simon McClure (Goolgowi, Rugby League), Shane Pound (Coleambally), Brett Owen (Avonvale Heights), Phillip Rowston (Barellan), Ben Wade (Glenelg); Balraj Singh (Mooroopna).


SHANE Pound and two of his talented brothers have turned their backs on an offer from the Griffith Swans, electing to take up spots with other local clubs next season. Pound, 26, played just one season with the Swans this year, but will return to his home club the Coleambally Blues in 2005 and take up the assistant coaching role there under current coach Shane Mannes. Pound said he and younger brothers Carl, 23, and Jay 21, were all approached by the Swans to play next season. Shane and Jay now set to join brothers Troy, 25 and Dean, 19 at the Blues with Carl still yet to decide whether to remain with current club the Wagga Tigers. "There was more work out here on the farm," Pound said.

"It was good (at the Swans), I'll be sad to leave. "It was something different, a little bit of a step up, but I decided to come back to Coly." Pound will be a big loss to the Swans, who have also lost Phil Rowston to Barellan and Ben Wade to Glenelg and may also suffer from several retirements. Coleambally president Phil Price said the assistant coaching was the main lure which brought Pound back to the club. "He knows all the locals and the job of the assistant coach interested him, he was looking to his future a bit," Price said. "He started his career here; he was runner-up in the Coreen league best and fairest in 2003 and best and fairest for Coly."

Swans president George Duncan said he was disappointed not to resign Pound, who booted 34 goals for the side this year, including six in the first semi-final and one in the grand final against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong. "We're not happy to lose Shane, he was a very handy player," Duncan said. (The Area News - Friday December 24, 2004).



THE learning curve that Paul Habel has spent the last 10 years riding is about to get that little bit steeper. After almost a decade of service to AFL development in Griffith, Habel and family will now call Wagga home when Habel takes over the regional development manager role at AFL House later this month. A tireless true believer and patron of the game in the region, Habel has brought grass roots through school development programs and junior clubs. But when he closes the door on his office overlooking the Ex-Servicemen's Oval this month, Habel said this would not be the end of his relationship with the town that has been home for himself, wife Jenny and children Luke, 16, Josh, 12 and Chelsea, 10, since March, 1995. "We really settled in here, we've made some great friends," Habel said. "But I've been given the opportunity to move on, a promotion, and decided to take it." While based in Wagga and likely to be more office-bound initially, Habel still expects to return to Griffith at least once a week to continue his quest to promote the game in the area. "I know the area and the footy market," he said. "Griffith is a town that can cater for four codes of football and there's a different market place for the whole lot and I'm there to promote the game and do it the right way. "I look at football in the region and it's pretty healthy. "There will be a few challenges out there no doubt. "It's going to be another learning curve and a lot more management after being used to working by yourself." Habel described his initial move to Griffith as "a real culture shock" coming from the AFL heartland of Victoria, but said a lot of the shock was reduced by those he had met. "I just want to thank everyone within the region I've worked with, the people out there have been enormous support to me and also the Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club for the office space and use of the ground. Not limiting himself to just football, Habel had dedicated his summers to Griffith cricket, holding the GDCA secretary position this season, as well as umpiring and coaching and also part of Murrumbidgee Cricket Council.  (The Area News - Monday January 3, 2005). 



ADRIAN Pavese is determined to be the saviour on the under 18's Griffith Swans this season. The young Swans have been in a crisis for the last few years with dwindling numbers forcing them to forfeit Riverina Football League games, finishing in last spot on the ladder for the last two years. But new coach Pavese is determined to bring a new attitude and so far it seems to be working. We've been training for about four weeks now and we've been getting 20 to 25 at training," Pavese said. No stranger to the red and white, Pavese coached the junior Swans teams throughout the 1990's, taking the under 18's in 1993, 1998 and 1999. He had the reserve grade side in 2000 and 2001, his side losing a dramatic extra-time grand final in 2000, before taking on the coaching role at Hillston for the last three seasons, "When I resigned at Hillston I thought I'd try and help bring the Swans 18's back up," Pavese said. "When I coached them in the 1999 grand final, a lot of them I'd coached since under 11's and I just don't think they've had that group coming through. "But we've got another group this year." Pavese said the key to keeping interest and numbers high in the side involved giving players in the team a sense of responsibility. "You've got to show the young blokes a bit of respect, they don't want to be dictated to," he said. "I want to give them a say and show them they're part of the club." A young side with an average age of 16, Pavese has named two of the older players as co-captains this season, Tim Matheson and Rhys Newman with Cint Munro as vice-captain. Pavese said while numbers had been positive so far, there was definitely room for more, training held at Jubilee Park on Thursday's from 6pm. (The Area News - Friday February 11, 2005). 



MEET the new flock of Griffith Swans. For the first time since club president George Duncan can recall, work transfers have brought with an AFL background to town and couldn't have come at a better time for the Swans. "We're pretty happy because the guys came to town for employment and that's a first for us," Duncan said. "We're confident, because we lost four or five guys, that we've got capable replacements for them and we're confident of a successful year. "I don't know too much about them, but we're pleased to have them and we're glad they came to town because we didn't really have anyone to replace the guys we lost. The club has welcomed six new players into their ranks, three moving to Griffith for work, one returning player from overseas, a former teammate of coach Adrian Burns and a teacher at Griffith High.

A work transfer brought former Turvey Park ruckman Michael Wilson, 23, to Griffith two weeks ago and despite playing against the Swans for the last three years, he is looking forward to donning the red and white. "I can't wait for the season to start," Wilson said.

He's not the only one. Duncan is thrilled with the fact the side can add another tall player to the ranks. "Wilson being a ruckman is a big boost and he'll help Dave Curran out a lot, it'll be great having an extra tall," Duncan said. Tim Birks, 24, and Roger Heenan, 29, are also in town through work, both hailing from AFL territory in Victoria. On-baller Birks was with the Uni Blues in Melbourne last year, while half-back Heenan hails from Western Border league club Portland.

Following in coach Adrian Burns' footsteps is centre half-back Adam Brander, 21, who played with Burns' old club Sale in West Gippsland-Latrobe league and Craig Conlan, 25, returns after a year overseas away from football. "I've been back for three weeks ans I'm slowly getting my fitness back," Conlan said. The forward flanker played with the Swans in 2002 and their grand final winning team in 2003 before leaving in early 2004. Finally Mervyn Firebrace-Jones also joins the club and to add some spice to the line-up. (The Area News - Friday March 4, 2005).

 SWANS TO SINGH - By Grace Uhr and Matt Malone 

IN what Griffith Swans president George Duncan is calling one of the club's biggest player signings of all time, the club has secured the services of an ex-AFL player to their ranks. To add more power to an already strong forward line, former Adelaide Crow, Balraj Singh is set to join their ranks for 2005.  Singh was the first ever Indian player to be drafted and spent two seasons with the Crows before being delisted and since then racking up a tidy football resume. Swans president George Duncan is thrilled with the signing, and said that Singh was just what the Swans looking for. "This is one of our biggest signings as a player," Duncan said. "He'll really fit in with our game and with our running players and should suit our style of game." The addition of Singh to the Swans forward-line comes in handy after the loss of prolific goalkicker Shane Pound to Coleambally. Singh is expected to join fellow forwards Ashley Gardner and Rod Duncan in all-new, three-prong attack up front for Griffith. George Duncan said Singh would bring many attributes to the side. "He takes a strong mark, and can kick the ball a fair distance," Duncan said.  Duncan and former president Ian Wade first spotted Singh playing in Canberra three years ago and commented how good it would be to have him play for the Swans. The dream became a reality after Rod and Mick Duncan played alongside him with Northern Territory side, the Waratahs in 2003-04. Singh told the club he had enjoyed playing with the Duncan brothers and said he would love to renew old acquaintances. The signing comes two weeks after the Swans announced six other new recruits for the side's 2005 season. (The Area News - Wednesday March 16, 2005).



THE Griffith Swans will unveil their new-look outfit for the first time on Saturday evening in the season opener against Turvey Park. And, from all accounts Turvey Park are going to be in for a long afternoon in Griffith. The Swans will take to the park with up to nine new faces from the team that was runner-up last season. Captain-coach Adrian Burns is confident that his new-look side will be able to match it with Turvey Park on Saturday. "We wouldn't be playing out there if we weren't confident," Burns said. "We came from behind last year to beat Turvey Park over there, and I'm sure they're still pretty upset about it. "It will still be in the back of our minds as well." Burns said the Swans will take the field with a new, much more committed approach. "Turvey can expect a very committed side," Burns said. "We'll be expecting a quick running side from them and a side that has improved a great deal from last year. "We believe they've picked up Pat Gribble who is a pretty good player and their coach Blair Campbell is also pretty handy." But Burns is more than happy with the way the Swans have recruited over the off-season. "What we lacked last year was height and this year we've fixed that," Burns said. "We expect Balraj Singh to perform well, everyone is excited about him and there's no reason why he won't turn it on. "With Roger Heenan, Tim Birks, Adam Brander, Michael Wilson and Balraj Singh, we've recruited very well. (The Area News - Friday April 1, 2005).



A CENTRE-COURT face lift will see a new-look Griffith Swans A grade netball side take to the court when the season begins early next month. Four new players have joined the club during the off-season, making up for several departures, and returning A grade coach Caryn Stuckings said all is in place for a strong season. "A grade is almost a total change, there's a few new faces through the centre court," Stuckings said. "We've been doing preseason for about a month now and we've rebuilt well during the off-season. "We have a good chance this season, but I think Turvey Park will be strong and Coolamon." Leading the wave of new blood will be star centre Jodie Landy, who makes a return to the Swans' fold after a year with Barellan. Sharnie Moore is set to boost the shooting circle, returning to competitive netball after a break for about four seasons, originally playing in Wagga. Mulwala's Shellie White will also be a welcome inclusion in the centre court, as will returning player Lynette Bortolin. The Swans have also announced their coaching appointments for the season, with Stuckings signing on for her second season as A grade leader. Nikia Collins will take on the B grade role, Alison Douglas takes over C grade, and Charlotte Jones will coach the juniors. (The Area News - Wednesday March 16, 2005).

 BALRAJ SINGH LEAVES SWANS - By Matt Malone and Elise Overs 

AFTER just six days in the city of Griffith, gun recruit Balraj Singh is gone. One game into the Riverina Football League season and just hours after finding a job, the Griffith Swans recruit has walked out on the Swans. And his reason, Griffith was boring. "To be honest I thought the place was a little better than what it was," Singh said. "I was bored and there wasn't much to do." After constant calls over the last week from Mooroopna coach and ex-AFL player Derek Hall, Singh will attempt to play with the Victorian club next Saturday.

But Singh's relationship with the Griffith Swans has not ended just yet, with the Swans having the right to refuse to clear Singh to play anywhere else in the 2005 season and be held to his contract. "If they don't clear me, I'll take them to the courts," Singh said.

"It would be pretty low for them to keep a bloke out of footy for a year." But Swans president George Duncan was adamant that Singh is still a contracted player and remains so for the rest of the 2005 season. "As far as I'm concerned, he is still a contracted player," Duncan said.

"If he turns up at training on Friday night, all will be forgotten, and he will play on Sunday. "He told us he had to go back to Adelaide for family commitments. "We hope he wakes up to himself and comes back." After stints in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Gold Coast and Griffith in the last five years, Singh wants to head back to Melbourne. "It's now time to settle down." Singh said. "I'm going to settle down in Melbourne. "Melbourne is the best city around; you've got the footy and the nightlife."

Singh did travel to Adelaide and that it where he made his decision. "I we