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IN: Cameron Arnold (Hillston), Jarrad Cox, Frank Coyne, Luke Humphries, Brett Pickett and Gregory Pickett (West Aust.), Roland Finch, Matthew Hogan, Theo Valeri (Canberra), Josh Whelan (Deniliquin Rams),
OUT: Blair Alban, Jason Bertacco (Hanwood S.C.), Myles Bunn, Rodney Duncan, David Pasin, Rodney Simpkin, Simon Spiers, Chris Toohey; Jarrad Cox, Frank Coyne, Brett Pickett and Gregory Pickett (West Aust.).
A SWANSONG FOR BOB, BRENDA AND FFIONA
The Griffith Swans has paid homage to three of its most passionate long-term volunteers. Ffiona Beverley, and Bob and Brenda Spears will wind back their roles with the Swans from 2010 after spending half their lives filling various positions at the club. Bob Spears, a former topflight player with both Griffith (South West League) and Barellan-Binya, in the now-defunct Barellan League. Over the past 46 years he has filled a multitude of positions - from players rep and selector to selling raffle tickets and manning the gate on game days. Spears will remain involved with his beloved Swans but said it was time to let some of the younger brigade take over. He paid tribute to his wife Brenda, saying she was much of the reason behind his dedication to the club. "A lot of credit should go to Brenda because she loves footy and loves the red and white as much as I do," Spears said. "The club has been a big part of our lives for a long time."
Perhaps Spears' most important role - and admittedly his toughest - has been to help lure key out-of-town players and coaches to a city still perceived as an Aussie Rules backwater. "It is very hard to attract coaches and players," he said. "We offer good money but the first question they ask is 'where is Griffith'? "The mentality of the players and their commitment has changed a lot over the years too. These days they'll go on holidays and get bloody married in the middle of the season. "That was unheard of in my day." Spears emphasised he was leaving the club on good terms and said while he would retire from recruitment and working the gate, he would still sell raffle tickets on a Friday night. He nominated Sid Robins as the best player he had seen come through the club. And he said the game itself had changed dramatically over the years. "I think the standard has actually dropped locally but the game is certainly quicker now," he said. "It was a lot tougher in our day and you didn't end up in the judiciary every week because someone threw a punch in the match." At the recent Swans presentation night, Spears was given the AFL Volunteer of the Year award for this region.
Meanwhile, Ffiona Beverley was honoured with a 25 years' service to the club award. She said after a quarter of a century it was time to ease back her official duties with the club. Unless us older ones start stepping down the younger one's won't do it," Beverley said. "I still have a passion for the club though." Beverley has filled every committee position except president in her 25 years, most recently acting as treasurer. She said while she had confidence in the club's future, the current committee had a storm to weather. "We could find ourselves in an invidious position if we can't get off the bottom of the ladder," she said. "Unless we recruit more players we would easily be relegated to the Farrer League. "You have no idea how hard we work in the off-season to find those players ... it's just very difficult. "And sometimes the commitment isn't there from this generation of player."
(The Area News - Monday October 26, 2009)
HART PROVIDES NEW BLOOD FOR SWANS - By Scott Hazlewood
In a bid to take the club back to its glory days the Griffith Swans board have brought in some new coaching blood for the 2010 Riverina Foootball League season, with Western Australian product Sam Hart signing a one-year deal with the club. The news comes as a massive boost for the club that is looking to turn its talent on paper into finals appearances and a premier flag in the premier league in the state.
Hart was in Griffith late last week to inspect his new club and meet the senior players, with Swans president Robert Harrington very excited about the 26-year-old will be able to bring to the club. "He's signed on for one year, but we'll look at how things go as the season progresses but we're very happy with him, so Matt Noonan will be the player coach and Sam will be assistant," Harrington said. Harrington said Hart's experience at his relatively young age will allow him to pass on his knowledge in a way that will be able to inspire the new breed of talented young players the Swans currently enjoy. "At this stage I think he might bring a fair bit of enthusiasm as well," Harrington said. Having enjoyed a long and successful competitive career in his native life, Hart was on the brink of making the big time, having played five games with Coburg in Victoria, and in with a show for a place in the Richmond Tigers squad. Hart's injection into the club could be the catalyst it needs, as the Swans face 12 of the most important months in its existence, as it fights to avoid relegation our of the premier RFL competition.
The club is also getting its off-season business sorted out in the lower grades, with Daniel Best unveiled as the club's second grade coach for season 2010 ahead of its pre-season training on December 1. Harrington also confirmed the club is still in talks with new players for 2010 and said more news should develop before the end of the year. (The Area News - Monday November 23, 2009).
SWANS GIVE HART 'GOOD VIBE' - By Scott Hazlewood
New Griffith assistant coach Sam Hart said he is desperate to take the Swans back to the finals and to add a premiership flag to his already long list of achievements in his native Western Australia. The dynamite full-forward who kicked 87 goals this season, said he was impressed by the set-up the Swans have in place but said he hoped to add an extra level of desire in the playing group for 2010, and hopefully beyond. "The club's pretty professional as it is at the moment, but the clubs I have played for over here are very, very professionally run, and hopefully I can improve that a little bit and I'm looking to improve that a little bit and I'll be looking to improve some of the young players," Hart said. "But I was very impressed, I got a very good vibe as soon as I got off the plane."
During the first half of the 2009 season, Hart played for the Rockingham Rams in the Peel League before switching to the Harvey Bulls in the South West Football League. The change in club didn't effect Hart's form, as he went on to win the goal-kicking awards for both clubs and was selected for representative honours. Swans officials had asked Hart to take over the head coaching job next season, but the newest recruit said he would prefer to let Matt Noonan takeover the role until he can run his eye over the level of talent in the club.
"The first year will be for me to get to know the players and the year after I want to take the reins, they wanted me to do that first off but it's a bit too hard to do that when I don't know the players, so after I can see what they can do I'll be able to work with them," he said. "I did a bit of my own research on the RFL speaking to a few people that have been over there, it's a very competitive league, but we've just got to work hard, and the results will come. "Matt Noonan and I spoke over the weekend, and I think he and I will work really well together, because we have the same kind of football brain. "Hart returned to WA after agreeing to terms with the Swans and will return to take part in pre-season training on February 16. (The Area News - Wednesday November 25, 2009).
SWAN RETURNS TO NEST - By Scott Hazlewood
The Griffith Swans have received a massive off-season boost with the news star midfielder Michael Duncan has agreed to return to the club despite fielding offers from clubs across the country for his services this season. More than 10 other sides expressed their interest in the two-time NSW representative, but the lure of winning a premiership with the only club he has ever played for proved too much for the long-time Swan. In what is shaping up as one of the most important Riverina Football League seasons ever for Griffith, Duncan's return is just the news the club needed after they missed out on the signature of exciting Western Australian youngster Cameron Kickett this week.
The 27-year-old admits he was tempted by some of the offers fronted to him, but said he wanted to help good friend Matt Noonan and incoming assistant coach Sam Hart get the Swans to the grand final. "I added it all up, and if these guys that are coming from WA are as good as they say then it's going to be a good season on the footy side of things, and with Matt being a good friend I wanted to help him as much as I could," Duncan said. "I know the basketball (Griffith Demons) side of things is going to be good as well so I'm hoping that around September that I could be a chance of winning two premierships. "But they pick the NSW (AFL) side this year as well. If my form is any good hopefully, I can get in that team again. That's just a personal goal, but I wouldn't mind having a crack at getting my third NSW spot.
Adding to his desire to see the red and white succeed has been an annoying injury toll for Duncan last season, which saw him miss several games for the Swans and the Demons in the State League basketball due to foot and hip complaints. But the point guard and rover said he is feeling better prepared to tackle the rigours of two sports that frequently see him travel late into the night after Demons games so he can run onto the Exies Oval for his other team the next day. "The last two years I have had a few injuries and now I'm probably as fit as I ever have been, physically, and mentally," he said. "So, I just want to have a fair crack at both competitions before I go, just to reward the footy and the basketball teams for the last two years of going through injured." Duncan's commitment to the cause could not come at a better time for the Swans as they look to climb up the RFL rankings in order to stay away from the dreaded relegation zone.
As part of the shake-up of the game in the Riverina, the bottom two sides in the RFL this season will be dropped to the Farrer League, a fate Duncan says cannot be allowed to happen to the club. "If we did go back to that league then it's not good for the town and trying to attract players to the club would get even harder," he said. "But if everybody gets behind the team and the coaches then there's no reason why we can't go places." (The Area News - Friday February 19, 2010).
2010 SEASON PREVIEW
Griffith captain-coach Matt Noonan has downplayed the loss of assistant Sam Hart ahead of Sunday’s season-opening local derby against Leeton-Whitton. The Swans lured Hart all the way from Perth where the entertaining full forward was set to take on the assistant coach role under Noonan. But Hart lasted one training session in Griffith before fleeing back to Western Australia, where he is now seeking a clearance back to his former club Peel. Griffith is set to allow the clearance but will seek the sign-on and relocation fees from Peel before allowing the clearance. Noonan said Hart was not up to it. “Sam wasn’t the real deal,” Noonan said. “He talked it up, but he couldn’t handle it.”
A tough training session in the gymnasium was enough for Hart to decide that Griffith was not the club for him “I think he thought it would be easy,” Noonan said. “I think he thought given it was country NSW, it wouldn’t be too hard. “He came to a training session, and I don’t think he realised how tough it would be.”
The Swans are still likely to welcome three Western Australian recruits, who arrived in Griffith this week. They will come through the reserve grade, after missing the entire pre-season. Noonan is happy with how Griffith is shaping up but said the round one encounter against a Crows side severely depleted in the off-season was a total unknown.
“We’ll be pretty young.” Noonan said. “We’ll be a lot taller than last year; we’ve managed to get a couple of key position players up the field. “Everything should pan out well, we’ll just wait and see. I wouldn’t say I was confident, but I would say we’re ready to go.” Noonan said the Swans will be “pretty much” full-strength for Sunday’s round one clash at Leeton. (By Matt Malone - The Area News, Friday April 9, 2010).
NOONAN LAYS DOWN CHALLENGE TO TEAM - By Scott Hazlewood
FORGET September 18 at Narrandera - this weekend is our grand finale. That is the message Griffith Swans coach Matt Noonan will be handing out to his players this weekend as they look to snap a five-game losing streak when they play bottom-of-the-table Wagga Tigers at Robertson Oval. It has been an unhappy time at Exies Oval for the Swans with several heavy losses seeing Griffith plummet towards the bottom of the ladder after a promising start to the season. But injuries in key positions and simply not having the skill set to match the competition heavyweights has seen Noonan lay down the challenge for his side to show some pride in their jersey and stay away from the bottom of the ladder. "We need to win to get ourselves up there and Narrandera beating Mango didn't help so now we're bit further away from fifth spot," Noonan said. "They're a very young team (Wagga) and I suppose they have a fair few smaller bodies and, in a few games, they haven't been able to complete for longer periods of time because of their size and they've got a very young group that's trying to work their way back. "If we can throw our weight around so to speak, we might be able to bluff them and get over them as well. "But we definitely need a start, and that's been the case in a lot of our games, but if we cannot let the team get away then we don't have to chase them, and we can be out in front and set the pace." Not helping the Swans chances is the likely loss of star midfielder Mick Duncan, who is set to miss the game with a calf injury, and ruckman Shaun Curran is also in doubt with his hamstring strain again limiting his training, however, Noonan said if Duncan plays at all it will only limited minutes in the forward line. Curran's potential unavailability creates a selection headache for the Swans, with the big man potentially giving Griffith the edge it needs over the smaller Tigers. "For me this week, well I suppose for the last eight weeks it has been about the wins, the endeavour is there but sometimes that isn't enough. We need the boys to work on their skill level and nail all the basics so we're not putting ourselves under pressure," Noonan said. While experienced players such as Brett Owen will again step up to the mark required, Noonan said it was important for the side's younger players to not ball watch and take ownership of their role in the side. (The Area News - Friday June 4, 2010).
SWANS TOP UP WAR CHEST - By Scott Hazlewood
THE Griffith Swans will enter the free-agent player market this season with one of the biggest war chests in years, as they look to fill critical gaps in the senior sides. For much of this season a lack of depth in key areas has been the Achilles heel of the Swans, who find themselves at the bottom of the Riverina Football League first grade ladder. However, club secretary Janet Harrington said an unexpected $25,000, which was donated in thanks to a partnership program with the Commonwealth Bank, will mean not only clubs in the Riverina, but those further afield. "We'll use it to recruit and buy players, we've tried hard in the past few years to get players to the club, but this will allow us to offer money if it's needed, we'll be in position bargain a bit harder now. "No disrespect to Matt Noonan, but we are trying to lure a coach to the club, and I don't know if there has been an issue if we're not able to offer them money or if just simple in trying to get people to move to Griffith. "But now we've got this money it's enabled the recruiting officers to offer money if it comes down to that." Harrington confirmed the club was already speaking to several players in the hopes they can slot into the side around the local talent already at the club. The news is a boost to the club ahead of a must-win game this weekend against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes who will be desperate for points after their thrilling draw last round against Turvey Park. Griffith will have its sights squarely fixed on MCUE captain-coach Chris Willis who all but got his side over the line in the last quarter with a superb individual performance. Willis kicked three goals in a space of four minutes to give the Goannas the lead, with his scoring spurt taking his tally for the game to eight. The Swans will be without midfielder Mick Duncan who will travel to Queanbeyan as part of the Griffith Demons basketball side. (The Area News - Friday July 9, 2010).
RELEGATION WILL BE DEATH OF GAME - By Matt Malone
Griffith president Rob Harrington believes relegation to the Farrer League could be the death of the game in the city. AFL Riverina chairman Greg Carroll yesterday confirmed promotion-relegation will still go ahead at the season’s end, after weeks of debate at board level. Griffith is currently two and a half games behind on the bottom of the Riverina Football League ladder and is unlikely to move with only five rounds remaining. The AFL Riverina board has spent countless hours debating the pros and cons of the new system but will let promotion-relegation take its place at the season’s end. Carroll said the board will simply enforce what clubs voted for. “We’ve had a lot of discussion over the last six months and at the last board meeting we came to a fact that promotion relegation as called by the clubs is in play,” Carroll said.
“What the clubs wanted last year is what they’re going to get.” The Farrer League premier will still need to meet a criteria standard set by the AFL Riverina board. This looms as Griffith’s only chance of avoiding relegation. Either that or a loss to Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka in this year's Farrer League grand final. It is unlikely that the next three placed clubs, The Rock-Yerong Creek, Marrar and Northern Jets would pursue promotion to RFL.
Harrington yesterday said the Swans were not keen on dropping to the Farrer League. “Very much so, it would be the death of it,” Harrington said. “We’ve talked about it and just waiting to hear from the league.” The AFL Riverina board received a letter from the Swans this week, outlining the club’s concerns with possible relegation. Carroll understands Griffith’s concerns but said the board will simply enforce the system the clubs wanted. “We understand totally where Griffith are coming from, we really do,” Carroll said. “We just can’t put ourselves in that position when this is what the clubs wanted. “At the end of the day, if we don’t implement what the clubs wanted, we’re likely to have an appeal go in anyway.” Griffith’s inclusion to the Farrer League would be a big shock to the system, with the Swans’ facilities at Exies Oval arguably the best in Riverina. (Wagga Daily Advertiser, Wednesday July 14, 2010).
LET'S DO IT FOR CLUBMAN JEFF – By Scott Hazlewood
The Griffith Swans will have 201 reasons to beat the Leeton-Whitton Crows on Sunday and you're looking at a couple of hundred of them. One of the Swans' desires to win their second game of the Riverina Football League season and the rest belong to club veteran Jeff Mickan, who will join the exclusive 200 game club on Sunday when they travel to take on the Crows in what is traditionally one of the biggest games of the year. The man of the moment said testing himself against the best players in the region and the people at the club were the reasons why he had stayed around long enough to record the double century.
"It's enjoying the standard of the competition and I get along well with all the players and the people in the club," Mickan said. "If we can use anything (his milestone) we can get the win this weekend then that's fine because it's pretty important game for us because it's our best chance to get that (win) against a side that's not too far ahead of us on the ladder." "It's our best chance for probably more than a month so we're quite confident we can get a win." Coach Matt Noonan lauded praise on the workman-like Mickan saying his players will draw strength from his special day. "If the boys can draw from something and go out there and try and win for him then that's going to be a bonus because the amount of service, he has given the club over the years is impressive," Noonan said. "To still be there over the last few years and tough times it's a credit to himself and if we can win for him on his special day then I'm sure he'll take it." As the Swans look to try and rebuild after their disastrous 2010 campaign, Noonan said the club's young players could do much worse than to try and emulate Mickan. "Any young bloke growing up through a club, if you wanted to model your game after and follow in their footsteps, he's the best bloke on and off the field," he said. (The Area News, Friday, July 30, 2010).
SWANS SAFE FROM RELEGATION – By Matt Malone
The Griffith Swans are able to pull their heads away from the Riverina Football League chopping block after AFL Riverina made the shock announcement that the controversial promotion-relegation scheme will be scrapped. With the Swans finishing last this season they looked set to be dropped to the Farrer League, with club officials saying such a move would damage the code in the future. So concerned were the Swans they held a meeting with Riverina board officials saying such a move would damage the code in the future. Griffith president Rob Harrington was shocked by the news but pleased, nonetheless. “We’re glad it’s over,” Harrington said. “The main thing was it put out our club, our junior base, our structure and everything else. “That’s why we wanted to stay in the competition.”
AFL Riverina chairman Greg Carroll said clubs could still move between the two competitions if they wanted to but said for automatic promotion-relegation is dead. “So there no such thing as promotion-relegation. We’ve got rid of it. End of story,” Carroll said. There are still opportunities for Farrer League clubs to come to the RFL if they want to. “On the same token, if an RFL club wanted to come through to the Farrer League they can apply, it’s a two-way street. “We’ll take everything by its merits and bring out the criteria. The criteria are going to be very important tool for us.” (The Area News – Monday August 30, 2010).
SWANS KEEP LID ON NETBALL FINALS TALK - By Scott Hazlewood
GRIFFITH Swans A grade netball coach Karen Conlan said her side is not getting ahead of themselves despite building well towards the finals over the closing stages of the regular season. Conlan said despite playing Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes at the neutral venue of Narrandera, her side could not take anything for granted with the form guide going out the window. "We can never get too confident in the finals as it always seems to be a new ball game, especially in the stadium where I expect it will be a fast and furious game," Conlan said. "The whole competition this year has been so tight, making the final five a hard task in itself. We certainly can beat all the finals teams as we have done it before, but it still remains to be done when it counts." The season has been a disjointed one for the top side, with some of the side's exciting younger players regularly called away on representative duty. However, Conlan said the senior players in the side had taken many of the young Swans under their wing, adding they were forming a potent side for years to come. "Ideally we would have usually had more seniors to assist blooding a few juniors, however, we have been in the position of having half the team consisting of players under 17 years old. "Fortunately our senior players, such as Robyn Overs and Clare Irvin, are dominant players amongst the league standard, which is fantastic support, and our juniors are very capable and eager to learn." The side is full of confidence heading into the finals after disposing of the dangerous Turvey Park side by 15 goals last weekend. Griffith's final place on the ladder, and their course through the early finals rounds, were still to be decided by results last weekend, but when Leeton-Whitton lost to Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, the Swans were handed a sudden-death game first up. "This is probably not actually any different to the pressure we've been under just to make the finals, as we have been playing for fifth since June," Conlan said. "Our girls have certainly risen to this challenge week in week out, knocking off all the top teams." Turvey held a one-goal lead at the first break with Belinda Battistel stepping up in goal attack to score seven goals for the Swans, with Conlan helping Griffith to a five-goal lead in the second term thanks to her 13 goals. Ellen John's precision passing was fed from the dependable Clare Irvin and Peta Larkin who did a great job keeping Turvey to just nine goals as Griffith stretched the lead to eight by three-quarter time. A massive Swans' final quarter saw Maddy Tyson step up with some great intercepts to see Griffith run out easy winners 58-43. (The Area News - August 27, 2010).
OVERS PROVES SHE IS GRIFFITH'S LIFEBLOOD - By Scott Hazlewood
IF YOU were to look up the meaning of commitment in the dictionary you would find Robyn Overs' picture. The Griffith Swans netball veteran personifies the amount of dedication and desire in the A grade side at the moment. For much of the season, Overs has travelled from Canberra to train with the side on Friday before turning out on Sunday, with her presence at goal defence, wing defence and centre pivotal to Griffith's charge into the preliminary final on Sunday against Leeton-Whitton. "She's a great influence on the team and around the young players," Karen Conlan said. "The wing attack last weekend (against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong) was quite a pivotal player for them and i'd given the job to Maddy Tyson to step up on her, and Robyn worked really well with Maddy, and they were able to contain her together, so it was great leadership. "She was unsure what she was going to do at the start of the year and played one game out of seven and then basically she's been here every week. "The rest of the squad goes out to Barellan to train and try and cut 40 minutes off her trip to help her out, which says a bit of the rest of the team's commitment as well." Despite being one of the side's most consistent players this year, Overs has been doing it all while carrying around an injured shoulder and knee. It's that kind of determination that we need to be on show again on Sunday against the Crows, who will be looking to make amends for their shock loss to the Wagga Tigers last weekend. "I guess you never know they're going to throw at us, but we're just focused on what we do and the changes we're making to our game plan are starting to affect the way we're playing," Conlan said. But the Swans are red-hot heading into this weekend after thrashing the Lions by 28 goals, with the highlight being a near-perfect third quarter that broke Ganmain's backs. Griffith was on fire after the long break and scored an incredible 23 goals for the term, to all but end the game as a contest. "Ganmain came out and threw everything at us, but we really held our own and we retaliated all the time and everything they tried we had an answer for it," Conlan said. "In their confusion they tried to double (team in the third quarter), and then they tried to come off to pick me up and were able to set screens, she (Belinda Battistel) was a very strong target, and we were able to play big." Conlan moved herself into attack to compliment Battistel, with the double-prong attack confusing the Lions' defenders with Battistel scoring 14 goals for the term and nine goals going next to Conlan's name for the term. Conlan said while the team has gained confidence from their resounding win, they will be looking to use that momentum when they play for a grand final place when they tackle Crows on Sunday at Narrandera. (The Area News - Friday September 10, 2010).
LINNEGAR SAYS SIDE RELISHES UNDERDOG TAG
GRIFFITH Swans C grade netball coach Regina Linnegar admits her side are the underdogs heading into Sunday's grand final against Leeton-Whitton - but in the same breath says she doesn't care. Linnegar and the rest of her side will be out to dethrone a Crows side many have had penciled in for the title for months, with the dominant Leeton-Whitton outfit steamrolling their way to the decider. Three times the Swans have played the Crows this year for three losses, but Linnegar said if her side plays to their potential they can cause the upset of the season when it matters most. "We're trying not to think about them being undefeated, but at training tonight (Wednesday) we'll try and concentrate on attacking the way that they play, in the end we'll just play how we play and see how we go," Linnegar said. Griffith will have to reshuffle its line-up with the absence of shooter Mel Gadsby and mid-field general Sarah Tunstall, however Linnegar she had anticipated players not being available in the final series. "It'll only be a minor reshuffle, we've had a fair size squad all year with about 11 and we've had to reshuffle players during the year to make sure they can play a few different positions leading into the finals," she said. "It does leave the attack a bit short on to be honest but we've been able to figure out who will go where in the centre to cover for Sarah's absence because that's a pretty important part of the team obviously. "It places a fair bit of pressure on our shooters, and the rest of the team is hoping one of them doesn't go down with an injury early on otherwise they'll have to replace them." Michelle Polkinghorne at goal shooter and Meg Signor at goal attack will shoulder much of the goal-scoring responsibility on the weekend, but Linnegar backed the youngsters to get the job done. Griffith will need to bully the Crows for much of the game if they are to have a chance of pipping them in the decider, with their normal slick service across the court possibly upset by a physical defence in all lines. (The Area News - Friday September 17, 2010).
NERVES END A GRADE NETBALL FINALS DREAM - By Scott Hazlewood
THE Griffith Swans A grade netball side was not able to extend its late charge in the grand final last weekend, going down to a determined Wagga Tigers outfit that was hell-bent on making up for the last three seasons. Last Sunday's grand final was the fourth time in as many years Wagga had made the final but, unlike their latest appearance, the Tigers were sent home with their tails between their legs. Griffith's coach Karen Conlan put the side's performance down to nerves on the big stage, with some of the side's young players not handling the pressure as well as they have in recent weeks. "We didn't come together, we've been playing so well recently," Conlan said. "Everybody tried so hard, but when it's like that with everybody trying so hard sometimes things don't work. "We didn't value the ball consistently and we threw it away a bit, we'd do some good things and then we'd have turnovers which basically cost us the opportunity to win because our accuracy wasn't too bad. "I'd say a lot was down to nerves, we have a lot of young girls in our side and they have been amazing in the finals and until you're there, you can't anticipate the incredible pressure that you're under." Griffith was banking on another of its fast starts, but the Tigers got the jump on the Swans to lead by six goals at the end of the first term. "We knew there was only a couple of centre passes in it, so we managed to stay with them in the second quarter to still be six down at half-time," Conlan said. "We knew we had our chances, but we weren't able to bring the ball right through the circle." Sensing their chance to secure the title after three years of disappointment, the Tigers put a 12-goal gap on the Swans leading into the final quarter, a margin they maintained to secure the win. "We ended up coming fourth at the end of the regular season, but were battling to make the top five by the end of July, so for them to pull it together and grow, it's a remarkable achievement," Conlan said. "So they'll reflect on where they were at the start of the season to where they finish up, and that's not just the young ones as well. (The Area News - Wednesday September 22, 2010).
REALITY SETS IN FOR SWANNIES C GRADE NETBALL - By Scott Hazlewood
WHEN the final whistle went in the Griffith Swans C grade netball grand final, the players who had done the seemingly impossible could not tell if the final score was real or a dream. The Swans pulled off a massive upset to knock off the undefeated Leeton-Whitton Crows last Sunday 40-36 to claim the only premiership for the netball club this year. Heading into the grand final as deserving favourites the Crows were tipped by many to put the cherry on top of what has been an impressive season, but somebody forgot to tell Griffith that. Despite suffering from late-withdrawals Sarah Tunstall and Mel Gadsby, Griffith co-coach Karen Conlan backed her side from the outside to bring home the title. "The girls were in the mind space of 'if we can get close to them that would be good', but I said to them 'you can win this and it's up to you' and they switched on from there," Conlan said. The Swans hit the front and were never caught with their slim lead at the first break being helped along by an excellent early game performance by Regina Linnegar, who was named best on court in the final. Linnegar kept her opposite number on a very short leash and looked to pounce on any loose passes that came anywhere near her. The Swans changed their offensive unit for the game with Meg Signor and Michelle Polkinghorne working well together, with the former in particular taking the pressure off her partner late in the game, with several well-placed long-range shots. "We got the combination right for Michelle to be the focal point, so when the defence got near her, Meg stepped up and started sinking goals, so full credit to her she had a fabulous game for us," Conlan said. Amy Perez and Chloe Fuller shared wing defence and did a good job in keeping their defence tight, but also provided options up the court and Conlan said Hannah Toscan never shirked her important role on the day. "Leeton's goal attack shot very well and she was one of the better players in the league, but we worked with Hannah because patterns show that shooters in the last quarter start to feel the pressure and the fatigue and they miss," she said. "So it wasn't until the end of the third quarter that I could say to Hannah she's starting to miss her goals and you're doing a good job, keep it up." (The Area News - Wednesday September 22, 2010).