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IN: Chris Cerato (Turvey Park), Sam Daniel (Queanbeyan), Edward Faiva (Mallee Eagles), Will Griggs (Queanbeyan), Tom Groves (Coburg), Michael Handby, Ben King (Queanbeyan), Joseph Schirripa (Hanwood S.C.), Ben Vitucci.
OUT: Ryan Bulluss (Tracey Village, NT), Joshua Foley, Dominic Giorgi, Joel Gordon, Fletcher Josling, Guy Orton (St Marys, NT), Tom Shannon, Glen Snaidero (Barellan), Tom Webb, Tom West, Jack Tyrell (Barellan); Michael Handby, Joel Hourigan, Ben Vitucci.
TRIO TO ADD SPARK TO SWANS – By Andrew Piva
The Griffith Swans will boast a more formidable engine room next season after securing the services of three Queanbeyan on-ballers. Tigers players Will Griggs, Ben King and Sam Daniel will relocate to the Riverina town in the coming weeks to start preseason training with their new club. Th recruitment of the talented trio, who have played in the North East Australia Football League is a coup for the Swans following the departure of two-time Jim Quinn Medallist, Guy Orton. Griffith coach Brandon Mathews tipped Griggs, King and Daniel to have a big impact at the club. “All three players, to play at the level they have, sort of speaks for itself,” he said. “They’ll be quality for us, without a doubt. “And they’re not just good footballers. They’re good blokes as well. “They’ll just what we were looking for and will fit nicely at the club.”
The Swans finished sixth on the Riverina Football League ladder last season, two wins outside the top five, a series of close losses at the start of the year costing them a finals berth. A review of their campaign identified inexperience as a problem, but Mathews said the Queanbeyan arrivals would help resolve that issue. “To get the three guys with experience they have is a bonus.” Mathews said. “I think they’ll be really good at this level of footy, playing in this league, and will give us the extra bit of leadership that we need. “It’s not just what they can do in games either. “It’ll be great for our young blokes to see how hard they train and the standard they have to get to if they want to get the best out of themselves.” Mathews said the Swans expected to confirm more player signings in the coming weeks. “Recruitment’s been going good,” he said. “It makes a change from last year, which was just knock back after knock back. “I think it’s just the luck of the draw.” (The Area News - Wednesday November 19, 2014).
HOMEWARD BOUND – By Andrew Piva
The chance to raise a young family in the country has lured Tom Groves back to the Riverina to play with the Griffith Swans. Groves started his Aussie rules career with the Swans in the under 12s before heading to Victoria as a teenager and cracking the VFL ranks with Coburg, where he stayed for seven years. But with fiancee Jenna Vant – who is from Leeton – due to give birth in February, Groves pounced on an opportunity to become assistant to Brandon Mathews at the Swans. The 25-year-old has resettled on his family’s rice farm in Coleambally and can’t wait for the season to start. “I’ve definitely enjoyed coming back here,” Groves said. “My fiancee and I thought it was the right time to come back so we can be closer to our families. “I’m excited about playing and having that coaching role and working with ‘Brando’. “Hopefully we have a successful year.”
A broken foot saw Groves miss most of last season, but the half-back flanker used his time away from playing to help with coaching at Coburg. It was a role Groves enjoyed, and he hopes to have a positive impact at the Swans. “I was pretty much always in the leadership group in Coburg,” he said. “I think I can bring some of that experience and that professionalism playing at a higher level with me to the Swans. “The young blokes and older blokes can take stuff like that on board. “Hopefully it can help bring us a bit of success.”
Groves said the Swans’ roster was shaping up nicely. “I think we’ve got a very healthy list,” he said. “This year the boys were a bit stiff with injury, but if we can have a good pre-season, hopefully we can keep the strongest team we have out there. “With the young blokes coming through and plenty of pressure from the twos, I think we can be right up there.” (The Area News - Friday December 5, 2014).
SIBLINGS COMMIT TO THE SWANS – By Andrew Piva
The Griffith Swans have continued to strengthen their Riverina Football League roster for next season by locking up the services of Josh Hamilton. The former Ovens and Murray League star played with the Swans last season but was limited to five games because of work commitments in Queensland. Hamilton, however, has told the club he will be available full-time in 2015. Swans coach Brandon Mathews is delighted to have Hamilton on board and predicts the key forward player will have a significant impact.
“He’s an absolute gun,” Mathews said of Hamilton. “He was an Ovens and Murray rep when he was only 18 or 19 and has done a preseason with (VFL club) Port Melbourne in the past. “That sort of speaks for itself with respects to how good he is. He’ll be huge for us, without a doubt. “He showed a bit last season for us, even though he was only available every three weeks or so. “He wasn’t able to get in the groove fully, but having him here every week will be like having a new recruit for us.”
Mathews also reported that the Swans had signed Hamilton older brother Ryan. “Ryan’s sort of a medium-sized utility,” Mathews said. “It’ll probably take him a while to get back into it. He didn’t play last year, but he should be right once he gets a few games under his belt. “It’s good for Josh having him here. Hopefully having both brothers here will spur them both on.” (The Area News - Monday December 15, 2014).'
KING, GRIGGS READY TO FLY – By Andrew Piva
If first impressions count the Griffith Swans have done everything right to make Ben King and Will Griggs happy to be at the club. The Queanbeyan recruits arrived in the Riverina at the weekend and trained with their new teammates for the first time at Exies Oval on Tuesday. Along with fellow Queanbeyan player Sam Daniel, who is expected to arrive next week, King and Griggs will bolster the Swans midfield for the 2015 Riverina Football League season.
For Ben King, the offer to test his talents in a new competition was an attractive proposition following Queanbeyan’s departure from the North East Australian Football League at the end of last season. “I wanted to take on a new challenge somewhere in the country,” King said. “That’s where I grew up and played footy, so I thought I’d come out here and try something new. King, 23, is still a young man by any definition, but he hopes the experience he gleaned in the NEAFL can benefit the development of the Swans’ emerging list. “Hopefully, I can help some of the young guys improve their game a bit and pass on a bit of experience,” King said. “If I can help and have a bit of input then great. “Everyone seems keen to go and get stuck in today, which is good to see. “I’m still getting a feel for the joint, but that should come pretty soon.”
Will Griggs also hopes to settle into the Swans set-up quickly after playing all his football in Queanbeyan. The 24-year-old admits it was difficult to depart his old club but felt ready for a change. “It was hard seeing some of the faces you’re leaving behind,” Griggs said. “But now Queanbeyan is out of the NEAFL, I felt it was a good opportunity to go somewhere else and try something different. “Griffith were one of the first clubs to talk to us and they seemed like a good club, so I am happy to come on board.
Hopefully it all works out.” Griggs, who can also play as a small forward, doesn’t know much about the Riverina Football League but expects his skills to be tested. “I know a lot of players from our league back home have come into this league in other teams,” Griggs said. “Hopefully that will step up the standard of the competition a bit. “But I’m not too sure what to expect to be honest. “We’ll just have to wait until round one.” (The Area News - Friday January 16, 2015).
CERATO LANDS AT SWANS – By Andrew Piva
Often on the receiving end of Chris Cerato skills, the Griffith Swans are relishing the prospects of unleashing the former Turvey Park coach on their opponents in 2015. Cerato moved to Griffith last October and has committed to to staying the rest of the year after his partner gained employment at Griffith Base Hospital. Signing with the Swans was a logical move for Cerato, and on Thursday night his recruitment became official. The 30-year-old has played the majority of his football with Turvey Park and was part of the Bulldogs’ 2002 premiership winning team. While he admits it’ll be strange pulling on a new Riverina Football League jersey, Cerato expects his move to the Swans to reinvigorate his football. “I’m looking forward to it to be honest,” Cerato said. “You get to meet new players, new members of the club, new sponsors, new fans – the whole lot. “It’s a nice challenge getting to know everyone, but you also have to make sure you perform every week. “It’s a new lease of life in a new town, so you might as well get amongst it.”
Cerato is renowned in the RFL for his versatility, and it’s a talent Swans coach Brandon Mathews is sure to exploit. For his part, Cerato is happy to perform whatever role Mathews assigns him. “It (versatility) has been my strength throughout my career.” Cerato said. “I’ve played back, forward and midfield roles. About the only place I haven’t played in the ruck. “I think Brando’s preference is to play me forward to start with, but in saying that you don’t really know until you play a couple of practice matches and find the balance of the team.”
Cerato said the foundation was in place for a successful campaign. “Just looking at training on Thursday night, the numbers were pretty good,” he said. “Talking with Brando, players who haven’t committed before are putting in the hard yards now, which is a great sign. “Like-wise, we should be all right. The club’s improved on last year and kept losses to a minimum and picked up more players. After coaching against him the past couple of seasons, Mathews said it was great to see Cerato in a Swans jersey. “He’s a very good player,” he said. “He’s given us a few headaches in the past. “He’s pretty versatile, which is probably his biggest strength, and he’s also got a lot of playing experience, so he’ll be a good signing for all the young blokes. “I’m sure Turvey Park were sad to lose him, but he was sort of in the right spot at the right time for us to end up getting him.” (The Area News - January 26, 2015).
SWANS HUNT FAST START - By Andrew Piva
Griffith Swans coach Brandon Mathews says early wins are crucial to his team’s hopes of playing finals football in the Riverina Football League this season. The Swans open their campaign with an away match against Leeton-Whitton on Saturday and would love to make a statement first up. Griffith are targeting the top four in 2015, but Mathews said a poor first month would dent their September ambitions. “We lost a couple of close ones early last year ad it really hurt us later in the year,” he said. “It’d be nice to get the points and head into the early part of the season with our tails up a bit. “We got a week off next week. The way the draw is, it’s not really ideal. “You don’t want to sit down for a couple of weeks after getting done.”
Mathews is still to finalise his team for the showdown with Leeton-Whitton, but he expects the Crows to come out firing after they bolstered their squad over summer. “In my opinion, they (Leeton-Whitton) will be among the top few sides this year,” Mathews said. “They’ve got quite a few players from out of the same Canberra comp we got our guys (King, Grigs and Daniel) and some locals coming back. To play for them. “They had a lot of good young kids last year but probably a bit like us, they lacked a bit of polish. “But from all reports the players they’re got are really good.” Mathews, however, is backing the Swans to succeed. “It’s been a long pre-season for us,” Mathews said. “I guess because we’ve recruited a few guys, there’s a bit of excitement around the place. “The last month of pre-season can get a bit long. You can play practice games, but it seems like you’re getting stale. “You’re sick of doing all the running and just want to get out there and play for something.” The Area News - Friday April 10, 2015).
SWANS EXPECT TO LIFT FOR ANZAC DAY CLASH - By Andrew Piva
GRIFFITH Swans coach Brandon Mathews doesn't expect motivation to be a problem when the Swans run out for their Anzac Day clash with Narrandera on Saturday. The Swans are hosting the Eagles at Exies Oval and will wear special jerseys to commemorate the centenary of Anzac. Adding to the game's significance is that the Swans are desperate to bounce back from their 46-point loss to Leeton-Whitton in round one a fortnight ago. Mathews said the Swans had plenty to play for in their first home match of the Riverina Football League season. "Anzac Day is one of the most important days on the calendar," he said. "I don't think the significance of the day will be lost on the boys. "But regardless of what day it is, we got done in round one and we've got to win games. "At the start of the year, every club would aim not to lose games at home and we're no different. "We sort of put a fair bit of emphasis on that, so we need to have a bit of a crack out there." The Swans were out-muscled at the contest against Leeton-Whitton, but one exception was Josh Hamilton, who earned best-on-ground honours for the Griffith combination. Mathews said Hamilton had set the standard his teammates needed to reach. "Josh is just a competitor and is certainly a very good footballer," he said. "He's played at a high level and has got that never-say-die attitude you want all your players to have. "It won't be the last time he gets best on ground. He's very handy and a big boy. "He's a quiet sort of bloke and doesn't say much, but he can lift everyone with his actions." If the Swans can play close to their best football, Mathews is confident they'll have too much firepower for the Eagles. But he remains wary of the visitors, who also suffered a loss in round one. He said the Swans would give Narrandera the respect they deserved. "They're in the same position as us," Mathews said of the Eagles. "It's pretty hard to get a gauge on how everyone's going, especially sides with a lot of new players. "It'll take some time, but they (Narrandera) recruited well and have got some good players. "It's going to be pretty red hot out there during the game." The Swans will auction their playing jerseys after the match. The main game starts at 6.30pm. (The Area News - Friday April 24, 2015).
HAMILTON A HEAVY HITTER IN THE RING - By Andrew Piva
GRIFFITH Swans footballer Josh Hamilton has proven he's as much as a force in the ring as he is on the field. Hamilton won his amateur interstate heavyweight fight in Albury on Saturday after earning a unanimous points decision over Shane Hughes in the night's main support bout. The Griffith Aussie rules star wasn't playing at the weekend because of the Swans' bye and accepted the fight at short notice. Griffith City Boxing coach Mario Rizzeri, who trains Hamilton said the brief preparation didn't bother the 99kg enforcer. "He's football fit," Rizzeri said of Hamilton. "It was a very hard fight. Shane kept coming at him, but Hamilton was the cleaner boxer and landed more solid shots." Fighting on the same card, Griffith City Boxing stablemate Greg Halden lost a split decision to Australian champion Mitchell Watt after stripping four kilograms off his already lean 76kg frame to make the weight. Rizzeri said Halden sweated off the excess in the sauna and during punishing early morning runs. "The weight Greg had to get off for the day should've deterred him his strength, but he still fought strong," he said. "He deserved to win the fight. He did the better punching, and he was cleaner and connected more. Ninety per cent of the crowd thought he should've won." Halden had a goal o representing Australia in the 2016 Olympics, but Rizzeri said it had been hard finding opponents for the Rio aspirant. "At this stage the only ones putting their hands up are Australian champions who are either than him or a couple of kilos lighter than his best weight," he said. "It's a bit hard because he's only been fighting for 12 months. "We know that boxing is all about getting knocks, but sometimes we have to overcome the knocks that come with the decision." Halden hopefully won't have to wait long before his next fight, with Rizzeri trying to organise a bout against Australian middleweight champion Shane Hasler in Cootamundra on May 30. Rizzeri also hopes to secure Hamilton a fight. (The Area News - Wednesday May 20, 2015).
SWANS SUFFER UNLUCKY BREAK - By Andrew Piva
THE Griffith Swans have suffered a major blow after losing towering ruckman Michael Griffiths for the immediate future with a broken right arm. The 2006cm giant was injured in the first quarter on Saturday in the Swans' Riverina Football League victory over the Wagga Tigers at Exies Oval. Scans on Sunday confirmed the break, but Swans coach Brandon Mathews isn't sure how long Griffiths will be sidelined. "He (Griffiths) had surgery on it yesterday so we won't know for another day or so," he said. "He's going to let me know as soon as possible, but it'll certainly be a few weeks at least." Griffiths, who plays in the forwards as well as ruck, is one of the most experienced players on the Swans roster. The former WAFL and SANFL footballer was recruited last season and quickly established himself in the league. Mathews said Griffiths had a big on-field presence. "He probably doesn't say much, but he says what he has to say," Mathews said. "Just his experience at times in games, you can only get it from playing a lot of games like he has. "It'll be missed, but in saying that we're hoping it's not going to be really long term thing. "It gives someone else a chance, and he's still going to be around and helping some of the others while he can't play." With Griffiths unavailable, Mathews will likely entrust some of the ruck work to Henry Delves, who returned from university at the weekend to boot five goals in his first game for the Swans this season. "It would've been really formidable if we kept both of them and 'Griffo' hadn't been hurt," Mathews said. "But it certainly helps having Henry back. He was absolutely fantastic at the weekend. 'Especially being a local, he loves the club and is a fantastic bloke and fantastic player. Really, you can't as for much more." (The Area News - Wednesday June 24, 2015).
DELVES TO GIVE HIS BEST – By Andrew Piva
Henry Delves doesn’t know how many games he’ll play for the Swans this season, but he plans to make the most of every moment he’s on the field. The 19-year-old Australian National University student returned from Canberra last week to play his first game for the Swans in more than a season. His impact was immediate, the forward kicking five goals in the Swans 11-point victory over the Wagga Tigers. Delves will run out again in Saturday’s home match against Leeton-Whitton and will be available for the following fortnight. But beyond that, Delves isn’t sure. “The plan is hopefully I can start making the trip back (from Canberra),” he said. “There’s a bit of water to go under the bridge before then, but fingers cross it happens.” Delves devotion to the Swans is genuine.
After playing his junior footy at the club, Delves wants to contribute to the senior team. “I love the Swans and that’s because of the people who are there,” he said. “What they got going there at the moment is pretty special. “I went down to training for the first time on Tuesday last week and the vibe was really fun and positive. “It was a really good to be back.” After taking a year off from football in 2014, Delves admits he was a little nervous before the Tigers clash. “The Wagga Tigers are a quality outfit. From memory I’ve never beaten them ever,” Delves said. “The Riverina Football League is the most physical I’ve played. “I was definitely nervous, but just from a few sessions I had with the team, I had a lot of confidence in them.” That faith is the reason why Delves believes the Swans can beat Leeton-Whitton at Exies Oval on Saturday.
The Crows are second on the ladder and Beat Griffith by 47 points in round one, but Delves said his side could reverse the result. Leeton are Leeton. We always want to beat them and hopefully we give them a run for their money,” he said. “To be truthful, I’ve got a lot of confidence we can deliver the win. If everyone plays the role they did last week, I can’t see why we can’t win.” (The Area News, Friday June 26, 2015).
SWANS CROWN KING AT AWARDS – By Andrew Piva
Ben King’s stellar debut season with the Griffith Swans was awarded on Saturday night when the midfielder was named the club’s best and fairest for 2015. The win wasn’t a surprise after King finished runner-up in the Riverina Football League Jim Quinn Medal count three weeks ago, but the 23-year-old was grateful to receive the recognition.
After arriving at the Swans via Queanbeyan Tigers at the start of the year, King quickly settled into his new home and established himself as one of the best players in the competition. “I’ve played a couple of different clubs before, so making the adjustment (to the Swans) wasn’t hard,” King said. “All the boys made me feel welcome straight away at the club. “I had family and friends around me as well, so I was made to feel pretty comfortable. “I could just concentrate on my footy.”
Despite King’s efforts, the Swans missed the finals after finishing seventh on the ladder, a draw and a couple of close losses costing them a shot at September football. King, who confirmed he would play for the Swans in 2016, said the club didn’t need to change much to become a threat. “I honestly don’t think that we’re too far from it,” King said. “It’s just a matter of putting four quarters together consistently. “We would play great footy for two quarters for most matches and then we wouldn’t be too good for the other two. On his own form, King was satisfied with the contribution he made on the field. “I was pretty happy with the way I went about my football.” he said. “I would’ve liked to have got a few more wins for the club, but maybe next year.”
(The Area News, Wednesday September 30, 2015).