GRIFFITH NOTES: "The Aussie Ruler" April 16, 1967 - No. 2
By Neil Griggs: A hat-trick of wins at Ariah Park was a really bright start to the new season.
The ground was hard and dusty but the early arrivals saw the efforts officials made to improve the conditions as much as possible and their work was appreciated.
Taking over at centre half forward in the absence of John Foley, coach Kevin Kirkpatrick turned in a brilliant exhibition, highlighted by some spectacular marking and gained an early lead in the Ernest Hillier-Co-op Menswear suit award.
Malcolm Russell also started the season off well with a lively performance, plus 7 goals, and he, too, seems destined for a good season. Others to have good games included Angie Maloni, Geoff Martin, a real find this lad, John Higgins, Mick Newman and Denny Dreyer. New assistant coach, Wayne Bromley, had a quite day in unfamiliar conditions but, at times, showed that better things are to come.
The seconds played well for their 39 points win with Max Eldridge, Ray Smith and Darryl Collis giving notice to the first graders to keep on their toes. Highlight of our third 18 was the six goals kicked by Jim Portolesi who could be a handy forward in a year or two.
HIGH MARKS AND FUMBLES
By Neil Griggs
Griffith's win over the Coolamon "Grasshoppers" on Sunday ended up being decisive enough but the first three quarters it was anyone's game. Griffith won mainly because they were the fitter and because eventually they developed some system in their play but that didn't come until most of the Coolamon players "ran out of puff". It was not a good exhibition from either team but the close scores kept interest alive until the final term when the result was soon resolved and Griffith, at least, had the satisfaction of collecting another four valuable early points.
Once again coach Kevin Kirkpatrick set an inspiring lively tempo for the Griffith first 18 team and with most fans he rated the best player of the game. Kevin is certainly getting away to a splendid start this season, perhaps he is more relaxed but whatever it is Griffith fans hope it is "powerful medicine" and he keeps up his present form right through the season.
Another Griffith player who has kicked off in top gear is Angie Maloni who dominated the centre on Sunday last. In the past Angie has been a little prone to try to do too much and was quite often caught with the ball but in the last two comp. games to date appears to have given this trait away and he is certainly giving the team good service at present.
Everyone was pleased to see Brian Fitzpatrick hit top form on Sunday when with an exhibition of strong, vigorous defence on the half back line he rated as one of Griffith's best players. Coming to the Red and Whites from Leeton in 1965, Brian became a regular first 18 player but following a car accident that had him hospitalised for some time he played very little football last year. This season however he has quickly regained top form and one of his spirited clearances on Sunday saw him take the ball straight down the centre for 60-80 yards. Brother John is also in dashing form on the other half back flank and the two, with Sid Robins has given the Red and Whites a formidable half back line.
The Griffith Co-op Menswear - Ernest Hillier suit award for last Sunday went to Kevin Kirkpatrick his second successful first vote and he now leads the way with 6 points. Other point scorers were Angie Maloni(2) and Brian Fitzpatrick (1).
With the inclusion of Bill Biron, Joe Whyte and Jim Eley (all in first 18 grand final team last year) having there first run of the year and Les Collis, the Griffith second 18 fielded quite a strong team last Sunday but surprisingly enough they did not turn on a very impressive exhibition even through they won easily by 74 points. Coach Don Best is putting the second 18 squad through some varied and vigorous training and as they have won both their games to date it evidently is paying dividends.
With little training to date in his first game of the new season Joe Whyte was adjudged best player of the Griffith second 18 against Coolamon and by his grand exhibition gave notice that he surely intents to strive to win back his place in the first 18.
The Griffith third 18 did not have a game last weekend but they will be on deck again next Sunday at Ganmain, who, this year are fielding a third 18 competition team for the first time. In their first match the Griffith thirds turned up with only 16 players and it is hoped they will have their 20 at Ganmain. Coach Bob Spears requests that all third 18 players turn up for training this afternoon and also again on Friday to fit them for their first visit to Ganmain.
The recently formed Supporters Club gave an indication last Sunday of just how valuable they are going to be to the players and the Griffith Club when they provided refreshments for the players after each game. Sunday was a pretty warm day and all he players came off hot and thirsty so they really enjoyed the cold can (hard or soft) that was waiting for them. It was a very thoughtful gesture by the members of the Supporters Club and one really appreciated by the beneficaries.
Riverina Advocate - Wednesday April 19, 1967