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IN: Robert Bridgen (Ardlethan), Ryan Bull (Coleambally), Chris Forwood (Barellan), Jason Hampel, Brenton Harrison (Camden), Brock Harrison (Noorioopna, SA), Peter Hunt (Barellan), Dean Jamieson (Ardlethan), Zach Lewis (Deakin Uni), Jason Malone, Phillip Rowston (Barellan), Jarred Wilson (Blighty).

OUT: Gary Argus (Hillston Swans), Matthew Bunn (Hillston Swans), Ashley Gardner (Mulwala), Sam Hickleton (Geelong), Ryan Hill (Lockhart) Tim Matheson, Nathan Petersen-Gray (Mt Lofty, SA); Brock Harrison (Noorioopna, SA), Jarred Wilson (Blighty).



GRIFFITH Swans captain-coach Luke McLean says the club has the player depth to cover for the shock departure of two of its biggest stars. Talented centre-half back Nathan Petersen-Gray and rover Mick Duncan, both of whom are NSW Country representatives, are set to leave the Swans in an exodus that could leave the 2006 Riverina Football League semi-finalists reeling. Petersen-Gray returned to his home in Adelaide earlier in the month, while Duncan said he should move to the Gold Coast around Christmas. McLean said the departure of the two players was a "big loss", but was confident the Swans' younger brigade could cope without two of the most consistent performers in the RFL this year. "I'm sure we can fill the void somewhere and I think we can re-fine our game plan a bit," McLean said. One possible move would be for McLean to use his influence in his native Geelong to try and attract some gun recruits. After a brilliant debut season with the Swans, Petersen-Gray looks to have played his last of his football in Griffith. The 20-year-old is chasing a job in a mine near Port Headland in Western Australia and he said if he lands that, any speculation of a possible return to the Swans next year would be quashed. Returning to Griffith is not out of the realms of possibilities ... I find out at Christmas time but I don't think I'll play next year if I get the job," Petersen-Gray said. "I really enjoyed my time in Griffith and met a great group of friends." Duncan, 24, has already been in talks with two Queensland (QAFL) clubs - Broadbeach and Southport - and is looking for a sea change after enjoying a week on the Gold Coast this year with the NSW Country team for the Australian Country Championships. Duncan has family in the area and said he would like to continue his trade as an electrician. However, he said the door was still open for a return to the Swans next year, but with one condition. If (Petersen-Gray) comes back, then I'll come back," Duncan said. "I told him that at the presentation night if the footy club can get him back then I would. "I want to play 200 games for the Swans, I'm on 120 so I've got 80 to go so whether that's in the next couple of years or in five we'll see." (The Area News - Wednesday October 18, 2006).


THE Griffith Swans football and netball club held their annual general meeting last Wednesday night. There was a good attendance of Australian Rules enthusiasts. The balance sheet presented found the club's financial position being satisfactory, but unforeseen happenings, declining sponsorship revenue and not being helped by the ongoing drought conditions, all played a part in the loss of $9336 for the past 2006 season. George Duncan and Ian Wade, both old football identities of the Griffith club, were elected unopposed for a fourth term in their respective positions of president and vice-president. 2006 season RFL netball president Alison Ward was elected as secretary, replacing Ffiona Beverley, who returns to her old role of treasurer. The directors are Alison Ward and Darryn Savage (sponsorship), Kate Toscan and Myles Bunn (fundraising), Robert Harrington (football), Brenda Spears (catering), Bob Spears (recruitment), Janet Harrington (netball liaison), and Terry Potroz (junior Swans liaison). The general committee is Graham Foley, Louise Hornery, Peter Knox, Ernest and Sue Wade. Club president George Duncan assured all general committee members they are more than welcome to attend meetings and would not be left in the dark as they all work for the football club and have the right to know what is going on. Ian Wade endorsed Duncan's gesture, saying "the more the merrier." Regarding new recruits for the coming season, a cautious Duncan announced the club was still looking around and had talked to four or five players but at this early stage, someone was yet to sign on the dotted line. The next general meeting will be held on Tuesday November 21 at the main Ex-Servicemen's Club boardroom at 6pm. (The Area News - Wednesday November 1, 2006).


GRIFFITH'S premiership winning A grade netball coach Roz Fraser has left the Swans after just one year at the helm. Fraser will return to coach Leeton-Whitton Crows for next year's Riverina Football League netball season - a team she took to the grand final in 2004. Fraser said she only intended to coach Griffith for one year if the Swans won the A grade crown. "When I joined Griffith in the first place I told them I would be here for one year, but I'd see how things went, and the aim was to get the premiership and we did," Fraser said. "I'm not going to cut all ties with the Swans, it's not my personal - I just need to do this for myself." The move also means Fraser will no longer coach the Griffith under 17 representative side. Instead, she will take over the Leeton team. But she insisted she would be prepared to facilitate a training run between the two sides before next year's state championships. Fraser's defection has left the Swans searching for a suitable replacement to bolster their playing roster, as well as looking for a new coach. Talented junior Erin Patterson, who figured prominently for the Swans A grade team last season, decided to follow her mentor to the Crows next year. The 16-year-old said the chance to learn under Fraser for another year was too good to slip. "I'd like to stay but I want to keep developing my game," Patterson said. At the core of Fraser's decision to rejoin the Crows was some "unfinished business" dating back to 2004 grand final, when Leeton-Whitton lost the grand final to Turvey Park. In addition to luring Patterson, Fraser has secured the services of Manngoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes' player Michelle Lumsden for next year. Fraser said despite her absence, she expected the Swans to continue their strong form, which this year saw then take out the A and B grade and junior grand finals. (The Area News - Friday December 8, 2006).


GRIFFITH AFL community is wishing former star player Ben Wade all the best after he suffered terrible head injuries in a freak accident in South Australia last week. Twenty-one-year-old Wade, who won the Swans' best and fairest in 2004 in his second year with the seniors, was working as a plumber in the Adelaide suburb of Largs North last Wednesday morning when a trench collapsed on him. It is believed Wade hit his head when he tried to jump out of the way and was then buried up to his chest. It took emergency services 40 minutes to dig him out, by which stage he had lapsed into unconsciousness. He was rushed to Royal Adelaide Hospital and spent the Christmas period in an induced coma. Swans president George Duncan said everyone involved with the club was thinking of Ben and his parents, Ian and Barb, who immediately flew to Adelaide following the accident. The Wades are a huge part of the footy club and Ben was a great player for us," Duncan said. "He moved to South Australia at the end of 2004 to play with Glenelg to try and break into the big league." Former team-mate Damien Scott said surgeons operated on Wade last week to relieve the pressure around the brain. "He started to wake up in the last few days and has been cooperating with his doctors," Scott said. "Apparently he even wanted to get out of bed ... he's showing positive signs. "He's young and fit so he has the best chance of recovering." Scott said Wade's parents had been "overwhelmed" by the level of support from the Griffith community. "People have been asking if there's anything they can do, and calling and texting," he said. "We're all just hoping he can make a good recovery." Scott said Wade was doing well at Glenelg, a leading team in the South Australian National Football League, and had been appointed vice-captain of the reserves. A Royal Adelaide Hospital spokeswoman yesterday confirmed Wade condition had come out of his "sedated state" and was now in a stable condition. (The Area News - Friday December 29, 2006).


THE Griffith Swans have two new faces in the coaching ranks this year. Gerard Toscan and Roger Heenan have taken the roles of under 18's and reserve grade coaches. Toscan is stepping into the role as under 18's coach after being associated with the club for many years and said he had always wanted to be more involved. "I am a past player and I have wanted to be more involved for a while, but my son was in the team and didn't think it was the right time," Toscan said. "Now he's gone up I'm looking forward to it. "I want to get their skills up individually and try and help some of the guys have a go at seniors. "And to win more games than we lose - that's my goal this year." Heenan has taken on reserve grade and said he wants to see the squad go a step further than last year, when it was knocked in the first round of the finals. Heenan will be a playing coach. "I want to get them working really well as a team, not a few guys really pushing and the others lagging," he said. "But I think we will be all right; there are already quite a few interested to play and I am just looking forward to the season. (The Area News - Wednesday January 17, 2007).



GRIFFITH president George Duncan said Wagga Tigers' imminent return to the Riverina Football League could be advantageous for the Swans' title chances in 2007. The Tigers members met last night to decide whether the club would seek re-admittance to the RFL or continue playing in the ACT-Canberra competition. Duncan said if the Tiger returned a positive vote to join RFL less than five years after their original switch, the Swans' travel schedule would decrease considerably. "I think it would be a good move for the league going to nine teams," Duncan said. "Another team in the competition means we play some teams twice and others three times, and that would stop the excess travel for some of us. " On Thursday, Duncan said he had "a gut feeling" that the Tigers' would return to the competition, but did not want to speculate about how the club would vote. In ACT-Canberra, the Tigers first grade struggled to replicate its dominant RFL form against the cashed-up Canberra clubs. "Obviously they've got their reason but I'm not tied up in that," Duncan said. Duncan said the Tigers' members chose to return to RFL, he was unsure of whether they could hit the ground running. The Tigers have suffered significant losses recently, particularly as the reserve grade side launched an unsuccessful push to enter the Farrer League and merger with Wagga club, Rivcoll. "They've had great success in the past but who's to say Ganmain might dominate for four years and think of going and be brought back down to earth. (The Area News - Friday February 2, 2007).


GRIFFITH will rely on the rotation of several small forwards to help bridge the gap after yet another three players left the Swans' nest for the upcoming Riverina Football League season. Key forwards Sam Hickleton, Ash Gardner and Gary Argus have all left Griffith over the past month, leaving the Swans without a designated full-forward for the new season. Hickleton, Gardner and Argus all played full-forward for Griffith last season with varied levels of success. After moving to Griffith with coach Luke McLean, Hickleton has moved back to Geelong while Gardner has ended his lifelong association with the Swans by moving to Mulwala. Argus meanwhile, who was recalled into the first grade line-up for the Swans ' finals campaign, has accepted the coaching position at Northern Riverina League club Hillston. Despite also losing stars Mick Duncan and Nathan Petersen-Gray for next season, McLean is confident the Swans can overcome the player loses. "We'll look at rotating Craig Conlan and James Toscan at full-forward," McLean said. "As long as we can move it quickly to them it should work ou well. "One on one they are quick out on a lead, and given we use the ball well when delivering it to them it should work well." The Swans have been training for several weeks now with consistent numbers in the mid-20s turning up to each session. Despite no recruits to speak of yet, McLean said Griffith was still on the hunt for potential signings. "We've got reasonable numbers, we're still trying to get a few players but it's a bit quite at the moment," McLean said. "We've go a few maybes but nothing concrete yet." (The Area News - Friday February 2, 2007).



OKAY, I confess. A couple of weeks ago when Collingwood played the Kangaroos at Carrara in their round one clash of the NAB Cup, I was hoping for a loss. There it is in print ... Okay! Sure enough, Collingwood lost and this week my beloved Pies will make the trek to Narrandera to play the Sydney Swans as part of the NAB Regional Challenge. Collingwood mid-fielder Tarkyn Lockyer this week asked: "where is Narrandera?" I can tell you where that Narrandera is all systems go for tonight clash of the AFL titans. Collingwood, steeped in tradition against the pride of NSW, the Sydney Swans. Be warned footy fans, there will be a few fresh faces as both teams will tinker with final team settings before the season proper later this month. It will be the return of Anthony Rocca, and the buzz at the moment following a long flight in a small plane will find Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley in the coach's booth alongside Mick Malthouse. Sydney fans will see tonight their latest edition to the flock Peter "Spida" Everitt from Hawthorn, among Sydney big guns Barry Hall, Adam Goodes, and almost local Brett Kirk from Albury. These teams only played against each other three weeks ago, where the Swans won in Sydney by 15 points.

Tonight will be a game of "footy chess" as both coaches will be switching the players and trialing strategies with fresh faces. No matter the result, this is a major win for football in the Riverina. It's an absolute credit to all involved in Narrandera and the public will vote with their feet with an expected 10,000 strong crowd, a figure that will annihilate the poor showing in Canberra for the Sydney v Western Bulldogs game a few weeks ago. Auskick kids I'm sure will treasure many memories of kick-to-kick with Paul Licuria, Josh Fisher or Michael O'Loughlin.

A word of advice for those looking to attend - get there early. The best position will be snapped up quickly and it will be a great day weather-wise, according the bureau it's going to be fine and warm. Another question I've been asked in the lead-up is whether Eddie McGuire will be there. Footy's a funny game and expect the unexpected. He might just fly in with the boys for a look. Either way, both teams will be fielding strong line-ups, and will look to impress, as all players look to solidify for round one competition. Finally, thank you to the AFL. The people of Narrandera, and both Collingwood and Sydney teams, I'm looking forward to a cracking display of footy at it's best ... A tip? Collingwood by heaps! Go Pies!  (The Area News - Friday March 9, 2007).



ON SUNDAY, the Griffith Swans will prove real men wear pink. The Swans will take part in one of the city's most visible and unique efforts as they aim to raise money for the Griffith Breast Cancer Support Group. The club's first grade side will wear specially made pink jerseys for their match against Wagga Tigers at the Exies Oval, while there will be raffles, auction and a celebrity kicking competition to assist in raising funds on the day. Tomorrow, a bevy of Swans will hit the pavement on Banna Avenue armed with buckets and will be hunting down donations. Member of the Griffith Breast Cancer Support Group, Jan Newman, hoped the community got behind the unique idea. "It started three years ago and it's getting better each year," Newman said. "We're grateful for anything they can raise. Local identity Brad George pioneered the concept in Griffith after his mother was struck down by the disease while he was living in Albury. "She had an operation three years ago and she's still kicking goals," George said. "The Breast Cancer Support Group supported her, looked after her and even gave me phone numbers if I needed any help." The day will kick off at 10am with the start of the under 18's game and the celebrity kicking competition will be on at half-time of the Swans and Tigers match, which starts at 2.15pm. (The Area News - Friday May 11, 2007).


IN 1982 followers of Australian Rules football witnessed some drastic changes to the structure of football in the Riverina when the VCFL Boundaries Commission reorganised the then South Western District, Farrer and Central Riverina Leagues. The new reconstructed league, the Riverina Football League, comprised eight former SWDFL clubs Griffith, Leeton, Narrandera, Ardlethan, Ariah Park-Mirrool, Coolamon, Turvey Park and amalgamated Ganmain and Grong Grong-Matong clubs, plus the addition of Wagga Tigers, North Wagga, East Wagga-Kooringal (Farrer) and Barellan (Central Riverina). Unfortunately for die-hard Griffith Swans supporters, the changes could not have come at a worse time. Off-season departures of many prominent footballers including Bruce Thomson (Tocumwal) and Ian Geddes (Barellan), and financial woes had the club close to crisis point. Things were not to improve when Griffith started off the season with six consecutive losses, including a 62-point drubbing by RFL minnow, Barellan. Clearly, however desperate Griffith's situation might be, there was still one reason for not abandoning all hope for the season - a chance meeting with good old rivals, Leeton. The Redlegs were to fire the first shot in the local derby at the Ex-Servicemen's Oval on Sunday, May 16, when they rejected a Griffith move to play ace forward Darrell Collins on a one-match permit. With Collins denied the chance to play, Griffith then produced a masterstroke in placing "Battle of the Bands" star performers, Paul Baldi and Stephen Crack on the forward line. Their boldness was rewarded with Baldi booting five goals, while Crack, although badly hampered with two broken fingers, secured four goals. When the final siren sounded, about 500 ecstatic red and white supporters gave their players a standing ovation after watching an epic Griffith win over Leeton 15.10 (100) to 12.8 (80). For Swans stalwart, Ian "Sheeds" Wade, it was his first win since June 1980 while playing coach of Coleambally "Magpies" (1980-81). (The Area News - Friday May 18, 2007).


GRIFFITH Swans coach Luke McLean said axed star Mick Duncan could be back this Sunday against Narrandera, providing he curbs his behaviour. Duncan was dropped for Saturday's Riverina Football League match against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes after skipping training on Wednesday. McLean yesterday stood by his decision to relegate Duncan to reserve grade on the eve of the game, which Griffith lost by nine points, and said that he had the full support of the committee. "If he comes to training and does the right things he'll be back," McLean said. The coach also emphasised his desire to develop a successful culture within the club, and said he had no alternative to take the drastic action against the NSW Country representative. "I think you can let a couple of things go but we want a successful club, not just in the first grade," he said. "You look at clubs like Ganmain and someone might flake here and there, but it's about building and that's what I'm trying to do and the committee supports me." Duncan said he attended a wake on Wednesday night and gave McLean three hours notice that he wouldn't be attending training that night. He said he felt the action as "a bit harsh" and was unsure about his immediate future in first grade. "Apparently the leadership group had a vote and they voted six to two in favour of me playing, so I don't know if I want to play when half of the team doesn't want me there," Duncan said. In spite of his relegation, Duncan booted seven goals for the Swans' reserve grade side in its big win against MCUE. In a further blow for the Swans, dominant ruckman Brock Harrison has played his last game for the club. The towering Harrison will move back to the Barossa Valley for work commitments in three weeks but will miss Saturday's match against Narrandera because of work. McLean said the future of another one of the club's most dominant players, Jarrod Wilson, was unsure. He said Wilson would be out of the side "indefinitely" because of family and work commitments. (The Area News - Friday May 23, 2007).


KEENLY contested matches and a brawl were the order of the day for followers of Australian Rules football played in the SWDFL competition on Sunday June 9, 1957.
Griffith travelled to Mirrool for their fixture with Ariah Park-Mirrool but due to the late arrival of the VFL umpire the game finished in near-darkness. Despite inspired play of coach Tom Allen, the Red and Whites fell short by 16 points. 
Mick Grambeau's Ganmain remained top team by beating Narrandera 10.17 to 7.9. Leeton recorded their first win of the season in defeating Ardlethan 11.16 to 9.11, while Grong Grong-Matong moved into second place with a good win against Turvey Park at Bolton Park, 17.15 to 15.15.
The Coolamon verses Whitton game at Kindra Park, Coolamon was a hard and fast one but not as tough as made out. Even though, a daily newspaper report stated an eyewitness at the game said a Whitton player ran on to the ground as the siren sounded and kicked a Coolamon player. 
Only trouble sighted was an incident in the third quarter when Coolamon's rover Jacko Reid and Whitton's highly excitable ruckman Rusty Kelly had a bit of a tiff in the middle of the ground. Both players ended up on the wing throwing punches at each other. 
After that Reid backed up onto the concrete bicycle track which surrounds the ground and came level with the much larger man, Kelly, and gave him a fair pounding. The umpire stopped the fight, and the game carried on. 
The game came to a conclusion with Jim Conway's Coolamon men 26 points ahead - 12.23 (95) to 10.9 (69).  
At this point Rusty Kelly took off in pursuit of Jacko Reid, who ran very fast towards the dressing shed. "Get him Boxy," Kelly shouted. Big Bill Box duly obliged and tripped the Coolamon rover over, enabling Kelly to nearly catch him.
The Coolamon crowd then came off the boundary line, many in an angry mood and from there the ruckus started. Players, trainers and spectators of both clubs then proceeded to pound each other in the middle of the ground. The Sergeant of Police came onto the field and he took a pounding as well. After about 15 minutes the umpire pulled up the fight. 
Whitton bus driver, Mr. Boxer Lloyd then drove his bus up to the gate and the footballers left the ground, not showering or changing and got straight onto the bus, and onward back to Whitton.
The VFL umpire said later that it was all very exciting while it lasted. (The Area News - Friday June 8, 2007)



THE South-Western District Football League's competition matches played on Sunday, June 18, 1967, provided many interesting games, However, the Turvey Park fixture was very one-sided. Ardlethan were outclassed by Turvey Park with the final scores, 36.26 (242) to 8.5 (53).

Bulldogs' rover Robbie Nolan kicked 16 goals, well short of the all-time SWDFL record held by Jack Green, a former Coolamon full-forward, with 28 goals in 1940 against Matong. The Ariah Park-Mirrool / Coolamon match was a close contest, and with sowing underway, it saw many changes to both teams.The Park' eventually won, 19.15 to 17.8. Top-of-the-table side Leeton continued its winning way, beating second-place Narrandera 11.12 to 7.8, while Ganmain easily defeated Whitton 19.18 to 5.7.

The match at Matong Sportsground, where Grong Grong-Matong met Griffith, was a controversial affair with Magpies' coach Fred Mundy calling on his own team to walk-off the field in protest to an umpire's decision. Several of the players supported the walk-off, but common sense prevailed. Despite an approach by Merv Sellars to appeal with Mundy to stay on the field, he continued steadfastly on his way to the showers. Mundy, who had figured prominently in several of the earlier incidents of the game, was reported by VFL umpire John Gambetta for striking Griffith coach Kevin Kirkpatrick. The walk-off came five minutes from the end of the third quarter when Griffith was leading 108 to 41.

From 10 goals down at three-quarter time, the Magpies, with Sellars leading the way, launched a tremendous comeback - piling on eight unanswered goals. The home side looked unlikely winners until Bobby Spears twice came through in tank-like style to hold them at bay and save the Swans from a humiliating defeat. Final scores were Griffith 16.15 (111) to Grong Grong-Matong 15.11 (101).

After the game "Fearless Fred" told Magpies' club officials that he was quitting his position as playing coach and would not play again in the SWDFL. Best players for GG-M were Paddy Walsh, Greg Sheather, Merv Sellars, Barry Price, Keith Ceely and Trevor Le Poidevin, while best for Griffith were Sid Robins, Kevin Kirkpatrick, Ray Davies, Bob Spears, Wayne Bromley and John Scott. (The Area News - Friday June 22, 2007).


THE Griffith Swans returned to winning form last weekend against Turvey Park, but will be put to the test against competition leaders Wagga Tigers on Saturday. The Swans posted an impressive first half against Turvey Park and were able to hold off the visitors' attempts at a comeback in the second half.

It was the Swans first win since round nine and the spirit in the side was clearly lifted, despite their finals hopes already being dashed. Swans club president George Duncan said the side would travel to Wagga this week with a positive attitude. "They'll have in their mind there always a chance of winning," Duncan said. "We will probably try a few young blokes out and give them a taste of it, but no one will be chucking the towel in. "They will be in the right frame of mind and play the best game they can.

"If you are going to get beaten, though, you hope you won't get a flogging, so you'll always play your best footy."

LAST weekend Swans player Jeff Mickan notched up his 150th game for the club. Mickan is one of the club's important Barellan connections. Mickan commenced his junior football at 12 years of age with Barellan. He started with the Swans in 2000 and is one of the team's most consistent players.

He has not missed a game through injury since he joined the club. Mickan has only missed one game in his whole time at Griffith - the first game of 2004 season - because he was not back from an overseas trip. He has a remarkable record and has not been equalled by any player so far.

In his first year at the club, Mickan won the prestigious coach's award from Jon O'Dwyer. In 2002, 2004 and 2005 he was awarded the Ferg King Memorial Trophy for the best utility player.

Over the years Mickan has been used in several positions and has acquitted himself superbly, in many cases turning the game. He is a very strong mark and is fast becoming known as "sticky fingers" because there are very few times when he flies for a mark that he doesn't hold it.

He travels from Barellan three times a week for training and is very dedicated and popular member of the team.  (The Area News - Friday July 20, 2007).



GRIFFITH Swans captain-coach Luke McLean expects Leeton-Whitton's perilous season to end in fireworks or a whimper, as the Crows search for their first win of the season against their cross-town rival at Exies Oval on Sunday. With the Swans' finals aspirations evaporated, the Griffith side will look to avoid the indignity of becoming the Crows' first scalp. But the dangerous blend of youth and experience, McLean was not sure what to expect on Sunday. "I think they'll probably be pretty keen and I think they'll come out all-guns blazing or nothing at all and they'll just want the season to be all over," McLean said. "They have some good young kids and some guys are still left over from when they made the grand final last year, so they'll definitely be a threat." Despite mounting a brief challenge for the last remaining finals position three weeks ago, with a big win against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, the Swans bowed out of the Riverina Football League premiership contention with a loss against Narrandera the week after. After struggling to field a consistent side in the first half of the year, McLean was impressed with the form the side showed over the end of the year. "In the second half of the year, we played some pretty good footy and at the start we struggled to get guys on the paddock and we were caught on the back foot a bit," he said. "A couple of close losses hurt us, but we have been more consistent and besides getting beaten by 70 points by the Tigers, we haven't got flogged. "In the first half, we were beaten well by Wagga, Ganmain and Narrandera." The Swans will be without key players Ben Ford (shoulder) and Myles Bunn (fractured cheek bone) for the Crows game. (The Area News - Friday August 24, 2007).



FOR the third-consecutive year, on-baller Michael Duncan took out the Vic Hathaway medal for the Griffith Swans' best and fairest for 2007. Duncan polled 37 votes, two ahead of second-placed Matt McDonald and six clear of Jeff Mickan in third. Duncan this week admitted he had thought about travelling next year and not lining up for the Swans, but the award could change his mind. "I thought I had made up my mind not to play next year, but but now I have a chance of four in a row, things might change," Duncan said. "It hasn't really sunk in in yet and I was talking to a few of the older guys (on Sunday) and they let me know how big of an achievement it is." Duncan also feared a brief stint in reserve grade after disciplinary issues had damaged his chances of winning the award. In May, Duncan was dropped for missing training, but made a solid return to be one of the side's best in the second round. "I thought a week in the reserves had cost me .. and it was a bit of an up and down year, but it was good that everyone got over it in a couple of weeks." 

Andrew Cappello was judged reserve grade's best, finishing four votes clear of Dean Jamieson and nine in front of Chris Forwood and Damien Scott. The side capped off a remarkable regular season on Sunday with a 205-point thrashing of Leeton-Whitton, sealing the reserve grade minor premiership. In a tightly contested race for the under 18's prize, a strong showing for James Fallon against the Crows on Sunday was enough for him to take the award from Luke Piccolo. Fallon polled 33 votes, just one ahead of Piccolo. Jack Geddes finished third on 18. With all four of the club's netball sides set to contest the finals, voting was close as ever. Robyn Overs and Karen Conlan tied for first in the A grade race, while Alison Ward was best and fairest for B grade. Kim Savage won the award for C grade and Ashley Tyndall was the best for the junior side. (The Area News - Wednesday August 29, 2007).

2007 Best and Fairest Vote Count
First Grade: 37 M Duncan, 35 M McDonald, 31 J Mickan, 20 C Conlan, 16 M Bunn, 15 Z Lewis, 12 B Ford, 9 M Crack, P Hunt, 7 R Heenan, 6 L McLean, 5 J Brown, J Gastin, J Malone, J Wilson, 4 R Bull, S Spiers, 3 J Toscan, J Ward, 2 D Crack, J Hampel, D Jamieson, M Kenny, 1 D Meade.   
Reserves: 27 A Cappello, 23 D Jamieson, 18 D Scott, C Forwood, 16 P Rowston, 13 C Lugton.
Under 18: 33 J Fallon, 32 L Piccolo, 18 J Geddes, 15 C Harrison, 14 D Bruce, 13 R Bull, C McGann, M Tyndall.



GRIFFITH Swans netballers were rewarded for another productive season by sweeping the awards at Tuesday's night Jim Quinn medal night in Narrandera for the Riverina Football and Netball League. For the fourth year in a row a Swans took out the B grade medal for best and fairest, with Alison Ward claiming the prize. "It was a total shock," Ward said. "It was really special for Griffith has won the award four years in a row. " Although only playing three game during the year, Hannah Binks still did enough to be named joint junior best and fairest with Coolamon's Molly Campbell. Emma Heenan and Renae Rawle also polled well in B grade. Wagga Tigers' Peta Wykes was A grade's best and fairest, while Turvey Park's Katherine Pretious won the C grade gong. Swans midfielder Matt McDonald came close to repeating his Jim Quinn Medal-winning exploits of 2005, but fell six votes short of Coolamon's Luke Maloney. McDonald, 24, only polled five votes in the first 12 rounds but flew home, pulling in 11 votes from the umpires over the last six. "I knew the first half of my year wasn't that good," McDonald said. "From the team's perspective the year was pretty disappointing and we probably lacked about two players or three key positional players. "It took a while for me to get into the season ... but then again you don't play to get these awards." Narrandera' s Peter Heath finished runner-up on 17 votes, five adrift of Maloney. (The Area News - Friday September 14, 2007).


GRIFFITH Swans reserve grade coach Roger Heenan believed his squad would be more finals hardened ahead of Sunday's Riverina Football League reserve grade decider against Coolamon at Narrandera Sportsground. The minor premiers overcame a plucky Mangoplah-Cookardinia United -Eastlakes on Sunday to move into the grand final, turning the tables on a disappointing showing the week before against the Hoppers in the qualifying final. But Heenan said the Swans had matured since that loss, and the squad's younger players had learned some valuable lessons about finals football. "They more aware, and I wouldn't say they were raw but their first final was a bit of an eye opener," Heenan said. "There were a lot of nerves but I think the older blokes will help to settle them down." Twice during the regular season the Swans outplayed Coolamon, but it was a "very different" Hoppers outfit that made the Swans pay two weeks ago. Heenan expected a full-strength Coolamon to again take the field but a question mark remains around two key men for the Swans. Damien Scott (groin) and David Dunn (hamstring) will both be given until Sunday to prove their fitness, but Heenan said the Swans had the numbers to cover the injuries. And those coming into the side will have little trouble understanding the simple game plan. "We actually don't have a game plan," he said. "We try and keep it simple and get numbers to the ball. "We've got adequate replacements and we have 26 blokes to pick from who will do the job. "Throughout the year we were probably missing six blokes every week, but we always had plenty of numbers."


AN UNDEFEATED season should have Griffith Swans junior netball coach Louise Hornery brimming with confidence before Sunday's grand final against Narrandera at the Narrandera Sportsground. Add to that the two regular season hidings the Swans handed to the Eagles and you have all the ingredients for a one-sided affair. But Hornery, with the memories of last year's narrow one-goal final win against Narrandera lingering, was taking a more tentative approach to Sunday's game. "This year we have beaten them fairly convincingly, and one of those times we had only had six players. But grand finals are completely different and we're not going to go in under prepared," Hornery said. "I think (being undefeated) will probably make them more hungry and that's why we're not taking this for granted." The majority of the Swans have played in the same side for up to three years, so their combination are honed. But it is the side's ability to adjust to its opposition and to different position that could prove the difference against the Eagles. "The best part of our game is that we are strong in every part of the court," she said. "A girl like Annaleise Jones, who plays in attack, can just as easily play in defence or in the centre of the court. "The centre court has been together for three years, which makes a big difference. "They go out and give their all and enjoy it. "They play for each other and are a very respectful team." The Area News - Friday September 21, 2007).



THE Griffith Swans junior netball side claimed its third-straight crown with a come-from-behind nine-goal win over Narrandera at Narrandera Sportsground. Finishing the year undefeated, the Swans were shocked early by the physical Narrandera side and were down by five goals at the end of the first quarter. However, the side was able to regroup and stormed to the front, led by a stellar performance by goal shooter Hannah Binks. Binks scored seven of her side's 10 goals in the second quarter, as the Swans forged away and established a match-winning lead at half-time. Coach Louise Hornery said the tactical move to switch defender Annaliese Jones from defence to attack also played a big part in the win. "They came out to rattle us and once the girls settled down, they were able to play their own game," Hornery said. "It was just a matter of us being able to adjust and after the first quarter, the girls worked through it and showed great character." The Swans, who finished the home and away season as minor premiers, piled on 10 goals to two in a dominant second quarter, and by the end of the third term, their lead had ballooned to six. "We've won three in a row and that's very good, because if the juniors are doing so well, it paves the way for the seniors players," she said. (The Area News - Monday September 24, 2007).



GRIFFITH Swans captain-coach Luke McLean announced at the club's presentation night that he would not be staying on for a third year in his contract, citing family reasons for his sudden departure. The decision came as a shock to the many involved with the club, with only a couple of committee members finding out last week of McLean's decision to step down. McLean, a well-respected and admired part of the club, said the decision was based around the birth of his first child with his fiancee and son to move to Launceston in around a month's time. "It was really a hard decision to make, I really enjoyed my time at the club," McLean said. "But I guess your priorities change when you have your first bub, so basically we are moving to be closer to family." In McLean's first year he took the Swans to the doorstep of the grand final, only to lose to Leeton-Whitton. That success was the catalyst for a two-year extension of his contract. However, as the club found out last weekend that tenure will be cut short, handing the club the previously unforeseen off-season job of finding a coach. Despite the relatively short stay, McLean believed he was leaving the club in good shape, highlighting the strength of the junior ranks as one of the big positives.  Swans president George Duncan said the committee was looking forward to what McLean could do with the club next year but respected his wishes to make the move.

"It came as a shock, I got the phone call last Thursday night; we had no indication it was going to happen," Duncan said. It was a tough season for the Swans first grade side with an exodus of players and a lack of new players coming to the club, which meant the side failed to make the top five. The Swans board held a meeting Monday night to map out a direction the club would take for next year, starting with a new coach.

The president said the club would be casting a wide net in the search for a new coach, with applicants being looked at locally and possibly interstate. Duncan hinted at the possibility of new blood at the club with the usual off-season scouting currently in progress. (The Area News - Wednesday October 10, 2007).



COVERING a more diverse range of sports and celebrating the achievements of our junior champions are two of the key challenges nominated by The Area News's new sports editor. Scott Hazlewood this week replaced outgoing sports editor Will Gilroy, who has moved back home to Sydney. Hazlewood comes to Griffith with a solid pedigree, having been an avid fan, commentator and participant in a wide variety of sports.

Most recently a senior news journalist at the Cootamundra Herald, he has previously been a sports journalist at the Cooma-Monaro Express and the Jindabyne Summit Sun. Hazlewood has played representative rugby union and performed at a high level in soccer, basketball, cricket and athletics. But it's the challenge of reporting on grass roots sport which really inspires the 23-year-old.

"I love every little aspect of regional sports; from the personalities to dissecting the games," Hazlewood said.  "Sport in a regional city like Griffith links people together and is such a crucial part of the fabric of the community.  "The biggest challenge here will be making sure I cover everything I can - from bocce to body building. "For me, a sports section is not just about the big footy codes and cricket, it's about the passion of the participants and the variety of sports. "My mantra is going to be, if the sport is played in Griffith, I want to cover it."

(The Area News - Friday October 12, 2007).

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