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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 footbal