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GRIFFITH NOTES: "The Aussie Ruler" April 11, 1965 - No. 1
By Neil Griggs: Our form in the trial games was not so hot, but the loss of Peter Morris and Bob Little, and five other senior players cleared to coaching jobs, and the unavailability of Vic Hathaway, Ian Crewes and Mal Brauman for these early fixtures had the line-up rather unsettled.
Our two new coaches, Kevin Kirkpatrick (Geelong) and Cliff Hawkins (Wangaratta) are classy players, however, and having gained several good recruits, we expect the full team to well again this season.
It was disappointing that we could not arrange a home trial game for our keen supporters and, apart from the valuable practice, all our players gained from two long trips was blistered feet and hard grounds, whilst our own springy turf oval remained unused.
Recruits George Schlitz (ex-Leeton), Claude Smith (Tasmania), seem to have solved our ruck problem caused by the loss of Bob Little and Jim Eley and they, with Bill Biron, coupled with two good rovers, should get us our share of the ball from the packs.
Senior coach Kevin Kirkpatrick takes the big plunge in Geelong next Tuesday, and best wishes of the Club and players go to Kevin and Joan on the happy occasion.
HIGH MARKS AND FUMBLES
By Neil Griggs
The win at Leeton last Sunday when decided underdogs was a real "shot in the arm" for the Griffith first 18 and the pleasing aspect of it was that it was a real team effort with every player finding that little bit extra for the Red and Whites when it was most needed. Griffith is a happy club but there is nothing like a good win to boost morale and Sunday's result should certainly lift team spirit to a high level.
Win this game as a wedding present from the team to Kevin was the plea put to the players prior to the game at Leeton and there is no doubt that all the team had this idea well in mind right throughout the four quarters. Coach Kevin Kirkpatrick, who received quite a few telegrams of good luck and best wishes from Geelong friends, was tremendously pleased by the wonderful support given him by the players in his first competition game as a coach but he did not leave everything to his team-mates and contributed his full share to the win. Kevin was married in Geelong yesterday (Tuesday) and with his new bride Joan will return to Griffith on Friday to lead the Red and Whites in their first home game against Ariah Park-Mirrool on Sunday.
The two "cuzzins" Len Sexton and John Foley had a field day at Leeton to share the honours as the best players of the game. "Cuz" Len dominated the centre all day and his combination with "Cuz" John at centre half forward was one of the big factors in the Griffith win. Len's speed and clever ball handling gained him innumerable opportunities many of which John advanced with tenacious play and several fantastic high marks. Yes, these "cuzzins" at their top are certainly match winners.
With so many of the players going really well, the two non-playing Griffith selectors Jim Eley and Allan Smith had a nice old time at Leeton trying to sort out the winner of Mr. Ron Dalla's shirt award. Yes, Ron has once again come forward with the generous donation of a popular Whitmont shirt to the best Griffith player in each competition game and first up the judges could easily decided on a ten-way dead heat. After a lot of thought and consideration, however they finally settled on Sid Robins, who had just played his best ever game with the team. The players reaction to the award left no doubt that the decision was a popular and fully merited one.
Ian Crewes returned to Griffith last Friday with a well conditioned appearance and certainly did not belie that appearance when he got into the action at Leeton. Conditions after the rain didn't suit "Killer" style of play. Many of his fast leads went unanswered as players with the ball quite often were astray with their passes on the slippery surface but he did more than enough to show he will cause opposing fullbacks plenty of headaches before the season concludes.
Although the Griffith team on Sunday contained only 7 of last years grand final team it included quite a number of good recruits. George Schlitz, Brian Fitzpatrick and Claude Smith, to name but three newcomers who impressed at Leeton showed by their performance that they are decided acquisitions and they all have the added advantage of having a bit of size. George and Claude have previously come in for deserved favourable mention in trial matches and Brian on Sunday left little doubt in the minds of Griffith fans that he will prove a very valuable man in the defence, a section that has been left a little threadbare with transfers this year.
Advocate - Wednesday April 14, 1965