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IN: Casey Boye (West Wyalong-Girral), Tom Buckley (Bright), Che Jenkins (Waratahs, NT), Tim McMahon, Guy Orton (Waratahs, NT), Beau Runnalls (Waratahs, NT), Tom Webb.
OUT: Cameron Arnold, Peter Crawford, Shaun Curran (Barellan), Roland Finch, Ben Ford, Luke Humphries (West Aust.), Matthew Kenny, Alex Overs, Josh Whelan (Deniliquin Rams).
SWANS UNABLE TO SIGN A NEW COACH - By Scott Hazlewood
The Griffith Swans are still on the hunt for a full-time first grade coach despite the Riverina Football League season being only 86 days away. While every other club in the RFL has secured the services of an off-field leader for 2011, the Swans’ recruitment committee is still hitting the phones in desperate bid to lure a big name to the club. However, the club’s lack of success to date has not been without trying, with The Area News learning this week three top-line player-coaches had seemingly been on their way to Exies Oval before pulling out at the 11th hour. Griffith recruitment officer Gerry Toscan expressed his annoyance at the situation, but said the club was moving forward ahead of a season that looms as one of the club’s most important in the last decade, with Damien Scott named caretaker head coach and Mick Duncan as his assistant. As far as the coaching’s gone, it’s been very frustrating to have that many guys that have agreed and then wanting to agree later, but then they’ve said they’d changed their mind,” Toscan said. “Two guys were exceptional guys playing VCFL footy in Victoria, but they said the jobs they had were worth too much for their future long-term future.” While the cub’s search for a coach has so far been fruitless, a surge of new blood has been added to the ranks with James Toscan returning to the city (Griffith) after after playing for Avondale Heights in the Essendon District Football League. “He’ll be handy for our side because he can play up forward a bit, and he can hold a key position down the back and he’s played on some big fellas down south,” Toscan said of his son’s return. “He can play in the midfield as a bigger on-baller because he’s put on a bit of bulk since he left Griffith, so he’ll be a handy utility for us.” Glen Snaidero also will pull on the red and quite this year along with Michael Johns, who returned to training this week after injuring his wrist 18 months ago. The only major loss for the Swans in the off-season is promising youngster Josh Whelan, who proved to be one of the finds of the year for Griffith. Club officials were hoping Whelan would add more depth to their big man ranks in 2011, but his return to Deniliquin means a place needs to be filled. However, Toscan said the club has a custom-made fit with exciting youngster Tom Buckley, who comes to the club from the Murray Bushrangers under 18s side. (The Area News, Friday January 14, 2011).
GREAT SCOTT – SIMPSON TACKLES AFL CHALLENGE - By Scott Hazlewood
A Scotsman walks into an Aussie Rules club and says … It sounds like a start of a joke, but Scott Simpson is serious about mastering a sport he knows very little about. In the pure clash of cultures the 29-year old Scot completed his first week of training with the Griffith Swans this week, and instead of corners and off-side traps, he’s been trying to wrap his head around hand-passes and marks. Having only been in Griffith since November last year, Simpson said he enjoyed what his first taste of a sport that only appeared on late night television in his hometown of Peterhead in the north-east region of Scotland. “It was brilliant I loved it, my hamstrings are pretty tight at the moment though, but I really enjoyed it,” Simpson said of his first training session. Normally the only place you hear Scottish accents in Griffith are on various soccer fields, but Simpson believed his previously used skills could help him smooth the transition. “Back home I played a fair few different sports basketball, boxing, soccer so this is kind of a new challenge to test himself,” he said. “But there are some basic skill movements you can take from basketball and soccer and I’ve done a lot of running in half-marathons and things like so, that will help hopefully. “But in saying that the coach Scotty (Damien Scott) was probably teaching me things they show seven-year-olds.” Simpson isn’t the first code-jumper from soccer to the Swans in recent years, with Hanwood Football Club star Jason Bertacco having a brief but successful stint at Exies Oval. While the two sports look very different, both soccer and Australian (Rules) football require excellent foot and eye coordination and the ability to find players in space and make themselves open for teammates. While he has got through his first week as a Swan, Simpson has already has given some meaning jibes by his new teammates, with some suggesting he might be more suited to “soccering” the ball off the ground. “I’ve given myself plenty of time to get used to things but the set up is pretty professional and the intensity was really good from what I’ve seen for this early in the year,” he said. “There hasn’t been too much grief from the boys yet but I’ve got a bit of ‘the ball’s not round’ from them. (The Area News, Friday January 21, 2011)
ORTON IS THE NEW GUY ON THE BLOCK - By Scott Hazlewood
THE Griffith Swans' search for a big name coach has finally come to an end, with the club signing Guy Orton as an assistant coach to head coach Damien Scott for the upcoming Riverina Football League season. Orton's signature ends what has been a frustrating off-season for the Swans, with several big name coaches slipping through their fingers at the last minute. But club officials said the 24-year-old is not a second choice player-coach, with his skills through midfield set to add depth to a side looking to improve to their horror 2010 season. Orton was in Griffith last weekend being shown around the club and the city, and after his inspection he said he was happy to sign on the dotted line. "I had a ball down there and the guys seemed really nice and the club came across really professionally," Orton said. "But I wanted to come back up here (Northern Territory) for a week to think about it but I'm happy to come down there." However, Orton will not join his new teammates until late March, with work commitments in Darwin meaning he is unable to train any sooner. But he will not arrive in Griffith short of a gallop, with the former representative star currently playing with the Waratah Warriors in the Northern Territory Football League. "I know it's hard to be starting at a club where I don't know many people, but having that weekend down there (Griffith) and meeting a lot of the fellas I'm a lot more comfortable with the move," he said. "Hopefully I'll be go through the midfield and being having a senior role there once the season gets going." Orton's influence on players is evident by the fact he likely to be bringing two Waratahs teammates to Exies Oval with him. "I only met one of the guys this year (2010) but he asked me a little while ago 'where are you going to play next year' and I told him I was thinking about going to Griffith and once I came back from my trip there he'd decided he'd come with me," Orton said. The player confirmed to don the red and white this year is Beau Runnalls, who is a small forward and equal leading goal scorer in the Northern Territory competition this season. (The Area News - Friday January 28, 2011).
AFL’S GIANT LEAP FORWARD - By Scott Hazlewood
History will be made tonight at Exies Oval with the debut of the region’s newest junior Australian (Rules) football club, the aptly-named Griffith Giants, taking huge steps towards becoming a recognised entity in the last year. Officials have been counting down the days until the Giants debut in the South West Junior competition, with tonight’s clashes to be viewed with a great sense of achievement according to Junior Griffith Swans president Stephen Lewis. With months of work finally coming to fruition, Lewis said he was looking forward to finally seeing the teams take to the court and field respectively. ‘It’s brand new and because of that it’s really exciting ,” Lewis beamed. “When did the junior Swans start, 20 years ago? This is basically the same thing with the Giants club starting up.”
Officials did have some apprehensions about whether they would be able to fill both Australian football squads but they evaporated when sign-ups sheets quickly filled earlier this year. “Last year we had three junior football teams and one netball team and now we have six junior football teams and four netball teams for the season,” Lewis said. “Our under 11s will be pretty strong this year but we’ve a little bit down in numbers in the under 15s, but we expected that. “We’re still trying to keep mates and brothers together, and I think we’ve achieved that because all of the coaches are happy with squads they’re been given.
The Giants netball sides are also an important part of Griffith’s future according to Lewis, who said they attempted to make the teams as flexible as possible for potential players. “The main reason why we’ve gone to Sunday football and netball, we’ve not trying to cash with anyone else,” he said. “For example my two girls will play town netball on the Saturday and then play Swans or Giants on the Sunday so it’s the best of both worlds really.” (The Area New, Friday April 8, 2011).
WE'RE NOT THE UGLY DUCKLINGS ANY MORE - By Scott Hazlewood
GRIFFITH Swans coach Damien Scott said there is only one way for his side to go this Riverina Football League season, and that is up. Scott’s frank assessment comes ahead of the club’s massive home clash against the Turvey Park Bulldogs, with the first round game to give the club’s faithful an early indication whether their side will be rocks or diamonds this season. It has been a barren few years for the proud Griffith club, the 2010 wooden spoon not sit