2005 RFNL SEASON
Apr 2 TP (h) Apr 10 NI (a) Apr 16 CR (h) Apr 23 EH (a) Apr 30 MCUE (h) May 8 GGGM (a) May 15 LW (h) May 21 Rep May 29 TP (a) June 5 NI (h)
Jun 11 Rep Jun 19 CR (a) Jun 25 EH (h) Jul 2 MCUE (a) Jul 10 GGGM (h) Jul 17 LW (a) Jul 31 TP (h) Aug 7 NI (a) Aug 14 CR (h) Aug 20 EH (a)
Finals - Aug 27 QF Aug 28 EF Sep 3 SF1 Sep 4 SF2 Sep 11 PF Sep 18 GF
Ladders Player Stats Record Swans Awards RFL Awards
Click on image to enlarge
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).
POUND TO RETURN TO COLY BLUES - By Grace Uhr
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).
PAUL HABEL LOOKS TOWARD NEW CHALLENGE - By Grace Uhr
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).
PAVESE BACK HOME TO HELP RESURRECT YOUNG SWANS - BY Grace Uhr
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).
SIX PLAYERS TO BOOST SWANS RANKS FOR RFL SEASON 2005 - By Grace Uhr
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).
NEW SWANS SET TO SWOOP - By Matt Malone
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).
NEW LOOK SWANS READY FOR NETBALL ACTION - By Grace Uhr
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 went to Adelaide and discussed it with my parents, and they said if I can't see myself in Griffith after the footy season then maybe I shouldn't bother," Singh said. "It wasn't anything to do with the board or the club. "Why waste Griffith's money on a player who doesn't want to be there. Mooroopna plays in the Goulburn Valley Football League and has a bye this Saturday with Singh attempting to get a clearance before the following Saturday. (The Area News - Friday April 8, 2005).
ON THE BALL - Matt Malone
TO start this week, I can't let the week's biggest talking point go past without comment. The Griffith Swans last week lost a major drawcard and a footballer that I believe, held the key to the Swans' premiership hopes. Singh not only held enormous potential but was also going to help the team by drawing the opponents' two best defenders each week, allowing for the rest of the Swans' forward-line to become more dangerous. From that aspect, the loss of Singh will be significant. To many, the walkout of Balraj Singh did not come as a surprise. Singh arrived in Griffith with an impressive football resume, but a history that the Swans hoped he'd left behind. The Griffith Swans showed faith in their star recruit but, unfortunately, for the Swans' board, their trust didn't mean a thing. Despite the loss on the field, Singh showed his true colours upon leaving. The Swans' committee bent over backwards to ensure Singh was happy while in Griffith, even providing him with accommodation in our home. Singh escaped town without letting anyone know, and it was only a phone call hours after his departure that he decided to inform the Swans of his decision. A face-to-face talk with an apology, a thank you or even an explanation would have been handy. The Swans are better off without a bloke' like that, and the Swans have absolutely every right to feel ripped off and refuse his clearance. Let's hope a year out of footy does him good, and the big man gets the chance to do some growing up.
(The Area News - Wednesday April 13, 2005).
SINGH CLEARED AFTER SIDESTEPPING SWANS - By Matt Malone
GRIFFITH Swans' ex-recruit Balraj Singh has used a loophole in the system and has been cleared to play with Mooroopna in the Goulburn Valley Football League this Saturday. The ex-Adelaide Crows player claimed the Griffith Swans had failed to clear him correctly, meaning he only had to gain a clearance from former club Lower Plenty to play this weekend. The Griffith Swans allegedly cleared Singh from Waratahs, a Darwin-based team in the Northern Territory Football League which uses a totally different type clearance format. Because the Darwin competition is played during summer, players don't need a clearance to play for Darwin sides, leaving Singh still registered as a Lower Plenty player. Mooroopna then went straight to Lower Plenty and cleared Singh, leaving him right to play this weekend. "At the end of the day footy is only a game," Singh said. "Griffith didn't clear me properly. "I haven't spoken to George (Swans' president) since I left." The Griffith Swans' president said he was unsure of the situation. "I haven't heard anything," Duncan said. "If that's the case (Singh playing for Mooroopna this weekend) well a contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." (The Area News - Friday April 15, 2005).
I'M INNOCENT: McDONALD - By Matt Malone
GRIFFITH Swans' star onballer Matt McDonald will front the judiciary tonight to contest the one-week suspension offered by the Riverina Football League tribunal. McDonald was reported in Sunday's clash against the Eastern Hawks for allegedly attempting to trip an unknown Hawks player. Under the new tribunal system, the RFL offers a penalty where the umpires, victim and the accused choose whether they will accept the verdict. But the Griffith Swans blatantly refused to accept the punishment, with McDonald declaring he did not attempt to trip anyone. "I just kicked the ground in disgust," McDonald said. "It was all in frustration." The incident came after the umpire awarded a free kick against McDonald for a high tackle. When he argued the decision, the Hawks were awarded a 50m penalty.
"He was a young umpire, and I didn't even get him high, so I argued it a bit," McDonald said. "So, they got 50 and one of the Hawks' players, who wasn't even in the play, was giving me a bit of lip. "And after that I kicked the ground, a few of the players told the umpire I tried to trip him, he didn't fall over or anything. "So, the umpire just sent me off." McDonald, who is known for his sportsmanship, admitted to losing his temper, but said he did not try to trip his opponent. "If I tried to trip him, then fair enough I would take it, but I didn't,".
Swans' president George Duncan backed McDonald and said the club would not accept the penalty. "We will challenge the one-week suspension," Duncan said. "He was frustrated and he kicked the dirt. I don't know what their story is. "They haven't even named the player be was meant to have tried to trip. McDonald will front the tribunal tonight, with the Swans expecting him to be cleared, due to lack of evidence. (The Area News - Wednesday April 27, 2005).
SWANS HAVE A BIG ASK AHEAD - By Matt Malone
THE Griffith Swans face the biggest task of their year to date this Sunday when they look to avenge on last year's grand final loss to Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong. Swans coach Adrian Burns admitted the loss is still in the back of his head but the task is going to be a tough one with even more injuries hitting the Swans after the weekend. Matt McDonald and Dave Curran are expected to miss another week while Burns and in-form Rod Simpkin are also doubtful for the clash. The Swans are down but not out according to Burns and Ganmain-GGM can expect a dedicated Swans team come Sunday.
"Anything's possible and we're definitely going over there to win, that's for sure," Burns said. "We're going over there with a fair few out but we're not defeated yet." Last year's grand final loss is still a sore spot with the Swans and Burns said they will try not to think about it this round. "That day we had a few of senior players out injured," Burns said. "We're not going to focus on it too much yet, the fact that we got belted. "But it is going to be in the back of our minds." While the Swans are on the back of a strong win over MCUE, Ganmain-GGM are coming off a thrilling draw against Leeton-Whitton.
Unfortunately for the Swans, Burns said the Lions will be tougher than ever. "Playing them over there is always a tough match but we're looking to give them a run for their money," Burns said. "They're a fairly strong and tall sort of side." With Burns doubtful and assistant-coach Rod Duncan still on the injured list, Matt Bunn may get the opportunity to lead the team for the first time. But although the injuries are costly early in the season, Burns is happy for the fringe players to be given the opportunity. "We're looking down the list a bit," Burns said. (The Area News - Friday May 6, 2005).
SWANS CAUTIOUS AS DANGER GAME LOOMS - By Matt Malone
THE Griffith Swans will be taking a cautious approach against a booming Eastern Hawks' team at Exies Oval on Saturday. Swans' captain-coach Adrian Burns said his team cannot afford to go into the game "cocky" after the Hawks took another unsuspecting victim last week. The Swans are looking to improve on their last effort against the Hawks earlier this year when they escaped with a draw that provided the Hawks with their first points for the year. "We can't afford to be too cocky, look what happened last time," Burns said. "They're a good team, there no doubt about that.
This is one of the danger games and we have to bounce back." The Swans will be bolstered by the return of the Bunn brothers, while assistant coach Rod Duncan is also expected to return and should lift the team. "We get the Bunn brothers back, which will be handy, " Burns said. "And Rod Duncan is ready he will be a huge boost to the side. "He's (Duncan) been injured most of the time I've been here, but the games I've seen him play he has shown he is a good player." The Swans will be looking for some much-needed hunger something Burns said the side lacked last week against Coolamon.
"The better team won on the day," Burns said. "They wanted the ball more than we did. "They prepared for the conditions better, we don't play in those conditions often." The Swans sit in fourth position on the ladder and, according to Burns, a top-four spot will be enough for their final campaign.
"Top four we'll need. There isn't much between the teams, the competition has improved a lot since last year," Burns said. Burns encouraged Swans supporters to head to the Exies Club for the Swans Masquerade Ball on Saturday night. (The Area News - Friday June 24, 2005).
ON THE BALL - Matt Malone
WHAT a massive weekend of sport in Griffith! Three blockbusters will take place this weekend in Griffith at three different times, providing a big weekend full of festivities for Griffith sports fans. For mine it sounds like the prime opportunity to get a few mates together for a "sport crawl'. Starting at 3pm at the Coro, we have the Blacks' season on the line when they face the Wagga Waratahs. To make the top five the Blacks must win and a bonus point would help. The bottom line sees them having to beat Waratahs more than Grenfell beat Temora. With Waratahs a much tougher task than Temora, the Blacks will have to on their game.
The next port of call sees us at the Exies Oval at 6pm for the Group 20 local derby with the Waratah Tigers hosting the Back and Whites. For those who don't follow Group 20, it looks as if the two Griffith teams will be competing against one another for the fifth and final spot in the top five. Therefore, with this being the last local derby of the home and away season, they don't come much bigger. A loss for Black and Whites would make it very difficult to make the finals. A loss for Waratahs would see them drop to 5th spot and make it a lot easier for the Black and Whites to steal their spot.
After the rugby league, enjoy your night but be prepared to back it up with the Swans taking on Ganmain-GGM in a grand final rematch of 2004 at Exies on Sunday at 2pm. Not only should the footy be a cracker but it is looming as an important game for the netballers. Griffith need to prove a point to the Lions that they will not be bullied by Ganmain and no better occasion than on the Swans' home turf the last time before they meet in the finals. Come Sunday night you should be more than satisfied from Griffith sports weekend of weekends. The come Monday morning you may also be sporting a nasty little headache. (The Area News - Friday July 8, 2005).
SWANS OFFER EXIES OVAL FOR RFL FINAL - By Matt Malone
THE Griffith Swans have put their hand up for an RFL final after doubts were raised over the condition of Coolamon's Kindra Park this week.
With the Coolamon ground struggling to handle the recent rain, Griffith Swans' president George Duncan said the club would be happy for a final to be held at Exies Oval depending on its availability.
With the grand final, preliminary finals and first semi-final being held at Narrandera Sportsground, the second semi-final going to the minor premiers, Kindra Park is usually the venue for either the qualifying or elimination final. RFL vice-president this week told The Daily Advertiser the league may look towards giving Narrandera another final as it looks like as if Kindra Park won't hold up.
But after noticing the state of the ground when the Swans played at Kindra Park less than a month ago, Duncan said Exies Oval was more than capable of holding the final. "We'd put our hands up for it," he said. "I don't think if we keep getting rain, it (Kindra Park) would be able to handle it. But whether they want to travel over here or not is another thing."
Duncan believes the Swans' home ground itself is every bit as good as Narrandera', with Narrandera gaining the edge because of seating. "Exies Oval is one of the best grounds in the league," Duncan said. "It is equal to Narrandera, it is only the seating at Narrandera that puts it ahead. "'And if they go to Maher Oval it's going to be dug up enough with the Farrer League finals."
RFL vice-president Don Buchanan did not wish to weigh into the debate but said it all depends on what teams are playing in the allocated games. Buchanan said his recollection of Exies Oval is that it is definitely up to standard needed to host finals and the RFL would consider any grounds available. RFL president Graham Buchanan could not be contacted by The Area News for comment this week.
(The Area News - Friday July 15, 2005).
MICK DUNCAN TO HELP SWANS FLY HIGH - By Matt Malone
THE Griffith Swans will be playing to keep their top three chances alive this Sunday when they clash with the struggling Leeton-Whitton team in the local derby at Leeton. The Crows have been decimated with injuries over the last month, but it looks to be an even playing field with the Swans fielding a team nowhere near their strongest. Captain-coach Adrian Burns is out with a recurring knee problem, key tall Dave Curran is out for three weeks with a hamstring injury and in-form Tim Birks is unavailable.
The Swans will look to star on-baller Mick Duncan again for drive out of the midfield, and according to Duncan it is a crucial game for the Swans. "It's a very important game due to the fact we're still contenders for the top three," Duncan said. "If we lose, we could blow it all.
"We blew our chances of finishing on top last week, but we're still a big chance for the top three. "If we can finish top three, we get a second chance." Despite the Crows poor form of late, Duncan believes Leeton-Whitton are always a danger team for the Swans.
"We are confident," Duncan said. "But Leeton are always good at home. It was a struggle against them last time, so we're expecting it to be tough." The Swans fell away across the centre half-forward last week, but they have all looked to address the problem during the week. "We're going to have two talls there this week," Duncan said. "We'll have Jeff Mickan and Rod (Duncan) up there.
"But Leeton aren't a tall team, so we'll be looking to make them stretch." Duncan was under a heavy tag against Ganmain-GGM last week, which was a good reflection on the season he's having. With 13 rounds gone and at least four best on grounds so far, Duncan would be one of the favourites to take out the RFL's Jim Quinn Medal come the end of the season. But according to Duncan, he is just taking it as it comes.
"It's been good, the ball just keeps popping in my hands," he said. And despite being a permanent fixture in the Swans' impressive midfield, Duncan still sits in fifth spot in the RFL's leading goalkicker quest. (The Area News - Friday July 15, 2005).
YOUNG SWANS TAKE ON THEIR FATHERS
ON a great day of football, the Griffith Junior Swans played a game between father of the under 12's, under 14's and under 16's and their sons. Organiser Danny Hardie was impressed with the turnout of fathers, 24 turned out in the Swans strip and anywhere from 30-35 sons were on the field, all at the same time. It was decided that although the ground was crowded it gave all the participants a chance to touch the football and, more importantly the dads, to get a breather. The young guns were determined to show what they could do and the oldies relived past glories. The game was played but "fair", ably assisted by the umpiring of Steve Best and Dave Gastin. The dads' superior size, experience and adrenalin had them in the lead until just before three quarter time when the juniors hit the front. The coaches' appeal to their pride? sparked the dads to dig deep and overrun their sons in the last quarter. The huge crowd of 400, (gate takings, $1430) was greatly entertained by the sheer spectacle, skill and determination of the participants. There were many photos and videos to record the day's events. All agreed it was great fun and talk is that it will be an annual event. As they say, the winner was the game. Final scores were Swans Dads 8.7 (61) d Swans Sons 5.1 (31). Goals-Dads: Mal Brown 2, Paul Rogerson 2, Phil Griffin, Robbie Kelly, Ross Weeding, Mark Tyndall. Sons: Justin Wade, Matthew Patterson, Glen Snaidero, Ben Jaffrey, Jason Corbett. Best Dads: Mark Tyndall and Neil Bruce. Best Sons: Glen Snaidero and Oliver Delves. Reports: None, except for sore bodies and bruises on the dads. (The Area News - Wednesday July 27, 2005).
HUNGRY SWANS LOOK TO MILESTONES FOR LIFT - By Matt Malone
THE Griffith Swans will be heading into this week's game against Turvey Park full of confidence and ready for a big win to prepare themselves for important coming weeks. The game will carry extra importance for the Swans with loyal clubman Mick Duncan playing his 100th game for the club, whilst Craig Conlan and Jason Hampel will play their 50th. Returning for the run home to the finals is Roger Heenan after a hamstring injury and ex-Turvey Park ruckman Michael Wilson after not playing since round two. Swans' assistant-coach Rod Duncan said the team is after a big morale-boosting win. "We're looking for a big win with Turvey Park being out of the finals," Duncan said. "We don't want to slack off. "With milestones for Mick, Craig and Jason that will be extra incentive to win. "With clashes waiting against Narrandera and Coolamon in coming weeks, Duncan said the Swans are looking to fine-tune their game for coming weeks. "We've got to build up for games against Narrandera and Coolamon because they're sitting in the two positions above us," Duncan said. Despite wanting a big win, Duncan said they will be wary of the at-times Turvey Park team. "They will be tough, but I think they've got a few injuries, so we're pretty confident of another good win." With the game against Turvey Park signalling the Swans second last home game for the year, Duncan said they want to keep their solid record at home intact. (The Area News - Friday July 29, 2005).
BURNS DECIDES TO COP IT SWEET - By Cameron Storey
GRIFFITH captain-coach Adrian Burns made sure he would be available for the RFL finals by taking the prescribed two-week penalty for "an act of misconduct" yesterday. Burns was reported for an incident during the Swans emphatic victory over Narrandera on Sunday and took the two weeks instead of fighting the charge at the judiciary. If Burns had been found guilty, he faced the prospect of missing a portion of the finals. This proved too much of a risk despite the Swans facing a tough battle to retain a top three spot over the next fortnight.
Burns will miss the team's last two home and away games against Coolamon and Eastern Hawks but will be available for a return during the first week of finals on August 27 and 28. It is a blow for the Swans as Burns had at last recovered from injury and kicked eight goals last week against an Narrandera backline that has rarely been dominated this season.
"It is pretty disappointing for us he was providing a very good target up front in the last couple of weeks," Swans assistant-coach Rod Duncan said. "It is two weeks leading into the finals, so it is a bit of a blow.
I haven't spoken to (Burns) about it, but I think he took the early plea to make sure he was not going to miss any finals."
The Swans early season inconsistency seems to have been replaced by confidence and urgency and Duncan is certain they will not fall in a heap around the captain's suspension. Burns has missed several games this year through injury and with the possible return of key tall Dave Curran looming, the Swans have the manpower to plug the gap until he returns.
"I know he is the captain, and he is out but there are other players around who will fill the position," Duncan said. "We will miss him but there are people like Roger Heenan pushing for a spot and Dave Curran will hopefully be back if he pulls up well at training this week."
The Swans also have several goal scorers on hand with Ashley Gardner, Michael Duncan and Craig Conlan all currently top ten goalkickers.
"I just don't think it is going to affect us too much in the end, (Burns) will still be on the sidelines and the boys are just all really focused o finishing with a great win loss record at Exies,' Duncan said. (The Daily Advertiser - Wednesday August 10, 2005).
'PRETTY IN PINK' PROVES A WINNER
SPLASHED with pink and seeing red, the Griffith Swans showed their heart yesterday. The Aussie rules side suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Coolamon but raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. The idea, to swap their signature jersey for a pink one for the home match, was hatched up by StarFM's Brad George and Pat Pittavino from the Telstra Shop earlier in the month.
An army of Swans and Swannettes made their vision a reality, digging deep on and off the field to make the weekend a success. Although unsure of a final figure, co-organiser and Swans life member Damien Scott said the concept was a hit. "It was just awesome and shows the community will put their hands in their pocket for cancer research," Mr Scott said. "Everyone that came said it was a wonderful idea."
The weekend started off on a "cheeky" note, with the Griffith Swans firsts netball side selling their backsides as billboards for yesterday's match. Eight girls bent over backwards to help, with the auction raising $1800. A gold coin bucket drive on Saturday also saw a further $1300 raised. (The Area News, Monday August 15, 2005).
FINALS REIGNITE OLD RIVALRY - By Matt Malone
FOR the first time this season Griffith Swans captain-coach Adrian Burns has a full list to pick from - and it could not have come at a better time. The Swans will meet close neighbour and arch-enemies Leeton-Whitton Crows in Sunday's Elimination Final at Narrandera Sportsground. After a horror result last Saturday where the Swans went down to the sixth placed Eastern Hawks by 93 points Burns has promised it will not happen again. "There will be definitely no repeat performance of last week," Burns said.
"I think all the team are pretty excited. "And if not, they should be, it's finals."
The Swans copped plenty of criticism since last weekend saying they did not deserve their spot in the finals, even from the Hawks, but Burns is adamant his team will be a threat. "They (Eastern Hawks) can have their glory but we're in the finals and they're not," Burns said.
"It's finals now, the home and away season is over we've made it and we're going to see what happens from now." Burns admitted there could be several changes to the Griffith side after their performance last week.
Burns will return after a two-week suspension while Tim Birks has declared himself available for Sunday. With one extra player added on the bench for finals, Burns said it was a possibility the Swans would expose all three big men, Dave Curran, Michael Wilson and Ryan Hill, for the first time this year. The Swans and Crows' rivalry has grown in previous years and Burns admitted beating the Crows would be an added incentive to some players. "I'd imagine so, the rivalry is there," Burns said.
"This is especially so among the players who have been at the club for a while. "And I expect those blokes to stand tall on Sunday."
Finishing in fourth spot, the Swans face the prospect of back-to-back do or die games for the next three weeks if they are to make their fourth consecutive grand final. Burns along with plenty of supporters believe if the Swans use the ball wisely, they can go all the way.
"Our big strengths are our midfield and the backline," Burns said. "We get a lot of drive from there. "So, we'll be looking for our on-ball brigade along with our centre-half backline to turn it on." (By Matt Malone - The Area News, Friday August 26, 2005).
SWANS COACH 'DISAPPOINTED' WITH LOSS
GRIFFITH captain-coach Adrian Burns struck a dejected figure yesterday sitting alone on the bench, head bowed, in the shower room.
The Swans 2003 premiers and 2004 finalists had just been knocked out of the Riverina Football League finals by a Leeton-Whitton team that had just won once in the past seven weeks, and Burns was taking it hard.
The hard-hitting coach had returned from two weeks suspension and looked vert rusty from the opening bounce. He did end the game with three goals after a last quarter fightback, but he was the leader of a well beaten team, with his future at the club uncertain after their finals' exit. "(Leeton-Whitton) were just too good for us, they played well, and we played badly, it's as simple as that," Burns said.
"We don't have any excuses they were just better than us and we couldn't keep up. "We have beaten Coolamon this year and Narrandera and we have beaten Leeton-Whitton all year, so to come and play the way we did was and end our season like that is just very disappointing.
It is unknown whether Burns will retain the coaching job at Griffith next season after injuries and suspension this year ruled him out of several games while the early exit from the finals is likely to place even more pressure on his tenure.
(The Area News, Monday August 29, 2005).
MAJOR WIN FOR 'TOP SWAN' MATT McDONALD - By Matt Malone
GRIFFITH Swans midfielder Matt McDonald was the toast of the Riverina Football League last night when he was announced the Jim Quinn Medallist for the 2005 season. McDonald shared the honour with Narrandera Eagles midfielder Nathan Reynoldson after the pair finished on 19 votes apiece. With one round to go the 22-year-old Swan led by three votes to Reynoldson and Eastern Hawks' Phil Evans.
But with Swans' big loss to the Hawks, McDonald failed to poll while Reynoldson got three votes on a best on ground performance in their win over Coolamon. The win was somewhat of a shock to Swans supporters, with onballer and club best and fairest winner Michael Duncan the one everyone expected to poll well. McDonald was voted best on ground in four games during the year and polled in eight of the 18 games this season and missed two through injury. It could have been a different story for McDonald after he was reported in round four against the Eastern Hawks for tripping. But McDonald was eventually cleared due to lack of evidence.
McDonald has played 49 senior games for the Griffith Swans after crossing from Ardlethan in 2003. He only played 12 games in his initial year in Griffith due to injury but returned to play every game last season. McDonald was the Swans' equal best in the award last year when he tied with Ben Wade on 13 votes, 15 shy of winner Coolamon's Nigel Scott.
Griffith Swans secretary Ffiona Beverley said McDonald had a wonderful season. "Matt had his best season ever with the club," Beverley said.
"He was in our top five players every game he played this year I'd say. "He was a very consistent year."
McDonald's win capped off a good night for the Swans at the league presentation night at Narrandera. Greg Dreyer finished in equal second position in reserve grade with 12 votes while Renae Rawle took out the B grade league best and fairest.
Other Swans to poll well were Shelly White who finished in third place in A grade while Kayleen Ward finished in third place in B grade.
(The Area News - Wednesday September 7, 2005).
SWAN STILL IN SHOCK OVER MEDAL WIN - By Matt Malone
GRIFFITH Swans midfielder Matt Malone is still getting used to his win in the Riverina Football League's Jim Quinn Medal on Tuesday night. Heading to Narrandera for the awards presentation with no expectations of winning the award, the win came as a huge shock to McDonald. "I'm still coming to terms with its McDonald said. "There are so many good players in the league, I just never expected it.
"I sat there having a few beers, I didn't even think I had a chance, so I wasn't nervous at all." It was a huge moment in the 22-year-old's career after just three seasons with the Griffith Swans. McDonald said the win was one of his career highlights.
"It was an unbelievable feeling," McDonald said. "It was a pretty emotional night. It's up there with the grand final win a couple of years ago." McDonald was in the top three almost all the night but never really considered he was a chance to the final round.
"A quarter of the way through I was in the top three, then half-way I was still up there. "Towards the end I was still up there and thought 'gee what's going on'. "Then with one round to go I knew I didn't get a kick in the last game, and everyone was telling me I couldn't lose."
If it weren't for injury McDonald could have well and truly bolted away with the award. But it was that injury that was the main reason McDonald never considered himself a chance. "My year was not too bad," McDonald said.
"I had injuries through the middle part of the season, and I missed some games. "And it took me a couple of games to get back into it, so I didn't really expect it." McDonald was the Swans' first Jim Quinn Medallist since Phil Rowston in 2000.
(The Area News - Friday September 9, 2005).
SWANS NETBALLERS SET TO FIRE IN GRAND FINALS
THIS Sunday the Griffith Swans B, C and junior netball grades all play in the Riverina Football League grand final. B Grade will be taking on rivals Coolamon in what should be a spectacular and very close game. With B Grade suffering their only loss of the season to this side, they will be looking to take an early lead. The players to watch in the Swans Riverina Netball League B Grade best and fairest Renae Rawle and runner-up Kayleen Ward in top shooter and goal keeper respectively. Players to watch from Coolamon are goal attack Tamara Hamilton and centre Kylie Parr. C Grade will encounter Narrandera in their game, in the 2004 grand final re-match. The Swans lost the grand final last year to the Narrandera side, but this year the Swans have a lot more skill and knowledge, and should be able to take the cake home on this game. With the Swans taking a 21 goal victory over Narrandera just under two weeks ago, it is difficult if Narrandera can come up with the goods to defeat the Swans. Players for the Swans to watch are goal attack Louise Hornery and keeper Jeanette Ward. Players for Narrandera to watch are shooter Erin Hands and Kate Martin. Players to for the Swans juniors game against Narrandera are versatile Erin Patterson and goal defence Clare Irvin. The juniors start grand final day with their game at 9.30am, C-Grade at 10.30am, followed by B-Grade at 11.30am, all played at Narrandera Sportsground. (The Area News - Friday September 16, 2005).
SWANS SOAR FOR A NETBALL DOUBLE - By Amelia Elliston
Two out of three ain't bad, according to Swans netball president Alison Ward. The Griffith Swans sent three teams to Narrandera to battle it out for the Riverina Netball League premierships yesterday and came home with two. The juniors faced off with Narrandera and were rattled in the first half. The Swans juniors went through the season undefeated, but came out restless and were only up by four points at the first quarter and not increasing their lead much before half-time. But, according to Ward, they found their feet in the second half. "After the second quarter, they really did come good, they got themselves together and played a great game," Ward said. "They were back to the amazing type of game they played all year and it was a good win 41-20. Goal attack Camilla Campbell was named best on court. The Swans also took out the C grade premiership with a strong 37-24 victory over Narrandera. C grade was also rattled in the opening of their match, but again the Swans gained composure for a strong victory. It was seven-all at the first quarter and 15-all at half-time, but in the third the Swans broke away and stabilised their lead. "It took the C grade girls a while but once they got the lead they really kept it up," Ward said. "They put on a good performance." Goal keeper Jeanette Ward claimed best on court. But it was the B grade where the disappointment fell for the Swans as they were defeated 24-20 by Coolamon. The Swans were competitive through the game, but failed to get that of extra strength to take the lead. "It anyone was going to beat us it was going to be Coolamon," Ward said. "They were more accurate than us in shooting and they played a better game." Coolamon was the only side to defeat the Swans throughout the season. (The Area News - Monday September 19, 2005).
BEN WADE MAKES SANFL GRAND FINAL - By Matt Malone
THE move to South Australia has paid off for Griffith footballer Ben Wade who this Sunday finds himself in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) reserves grand final. Wade left Griffith at the end of 2004 season after taking out the club's best and fairest in an attempt to try and take his football to the next level at Glenelg. Less then 12 months later and Wade will find himself in front of an expected crowd of 30,000 spectators at AAMI stadium for one of his biggest games in his short career. Wade and his teammates finished as minor premiers before losing the second semi-final to North Adelaide by a goal. They regrouped to win the preliminary final by 23 points and will meet North Adelaide again on Sunday. Wade will start at full-back, a position he has held down all year, and he said he tried not to think too much about the game this week. "I'm pretty excited but trying not to think too much about it," Wade said. After a successful first season in the big league, Wade is happy with the season he has had. "I'm happy with my season without standing out or doing anything spectacular," Wade said. "I've got good improvement and just getting better and better." He also said he is confident they can win the premiership. It's been a big year for Wade who at one stage lined up on Adelaide Crows ruckman Rhett Biglands. (The Area News - Friday September 30, 2005).
BURNS IS NOT RIGHT MAN FOR SWANS JOB - By Matt Malone
GRIFFITH Swans coach Adrian Burns will not coach the club next season after the club informed him on Monday that he is no longer required. Burns will look to head back to Victoria next season after two years with the club where he took them to two final series including a grand final. But Burns experienced a difficult season with the club in 2005 as he struggled with injuries that never seen him fully fit.
Swans' president George Duncan said despite not securing a coach for 2006 at this stage, Burns was not the right man for the job. "Its official, Adrian won't be coaching us next season," Duncan said. "At this stage we haven't got a coach, we're in hunting mode.
"Adrian had two years with us and the committee decided we need a change. "But we thank Adrian for his experience."
Burns said he would have liked to coach for another year but unfortunately that would not be the case. "It's disappointing, my goal was to try and coach a grand final team to a win," Burns said. "And I thought we had the side to do it this year.
"But we were just too inconsistent, up and down like a yo-yo. "A third year might have made the difference."
Burns said he wasn't too surprised that his contract was not extended given the club's past history. "It just goes with the history of the club over the last few years that they only keep someone for two years," Burns said.
"They might find it hard to try and get someone with AFL experience. "But I enjoyed it here watching the young blokes get better."
Duncan defended the club's record with coaches, stating they would love to a long-term coach. "My experience with coaches is that they only want two-year contracts," Duncan said. "We'd love to get a bloke for three or four years if we get the right person."
Burns said he is exploring his options and has received several calls. He added he would most likely return to Victoria unless the Swans contact him before he leaves. (The Area News - Wednesday October 5, 2005).
GRIFFITH REMEMBERS A LEGEND - JACK KLOOT
WHEN Jack Kloot arrived in Griffith from Melbourne to work as a bookkeeper in 1948, he surely could not have imagined that in a few seasons he would become part of the Griffith Swans Football Club folklore.
After one season playing under the Griffith coach, Geoff "Sugar" Willis, Kloot packed his bags and left the channel water behind only to return four years later in 1952 to play an important part in the Red and White's premiership glory. One of Jack Kloot's finest and most courageous performances for the Swans happened during a semi-final clash against old local rival, Whitton. On the morning of the game, he experienced what could have been a life threatening moment. Kloot was boarding at the O'Dwyer family residence in Kookora Street when he mistakenly consumed the contents of a bottle of goanna oil thinking it was cough mixture. After a hasty trip to the Griffith Hospital for a "pump out", Jack arrived at the Leeton ground quite pale.
Much doubt was expressed as to his fitness to contest the expected hard game, but once the game started those doubts were quickly dispelled. Kloot played in top form, his high marking being particularly impressive. It's no wonder Jack Kloot was the most publicised footballer in Griffith that week.
Former teammate Keith Thompson told him he should take the goanna oil every week! Two weeks later on, Griffith finally achieved their goal with a 39-point victory over Whitton - winning their first Premiership in the SWDFL. Jack is the third member of the 1952 Premiership side to pass away this year.
Jack (died on September 25, aged 77) is survived by his wife Vilma, his sons Mark, Simon and Paul and his daughter Leah. (The Area News - Friday October 7, 2005).