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HOW THE 2002 RFL GRAND FINAL WAS WON / LOST - THE REAL STORY
First quarter: Griffith kicking to the northern end of the Narrandera Sportsground started the game well but inaccurate shooting for goal after two strong overhead marks by full forward Danny Beriman resulted in only one point being scored. Turvey Park seems to be settling the better with Andrew Loughman kicking the opening goal from 40 metres out after a strong lead. Turvey Park captain-coach Jeremy Masterson stamped his authority on the game early with a hard but fair bump on Griffith's tough defender Jon O'Dwyer. The loose ball spilling out to the Bulldogs' Stuart Anderson who snapped a brilliant goal from the forward pocket to set the pattern of play for the day. A strong tackle by Chris Blanchard on his Turvey Park opponent led to Michael Duncan finding Matt Olney, who's clever handball found Jeff Mickan who goaled from 50 metres. At the 14th minute with Turvey Park attacking constantly, finally broke through for their third goal for the quarter with Masterson accepting a handball on the run and kicking truly from 45 metres. Griffith immediately came back with Jamie Bennett reading the play brilliantly, swooped on the rolling ball as it came off a pack of players, ran into an open and slammed home his team's second goal. While Griffith continued to be inaccurate in front of the big sticks with behinds to their key forwards Beriman and Dave Curran. Turvey Park seem to score goals with relevant ease with goals coming from Simon Nimmo, Michael Wheatley and Andrew Loughman, who left his opponent floundering after accepting a pin-point pass from evergreen Warren Sykes. Griffith responded at the 25th minute with Beriman taking the ball from the centre bounce, finding Craig Conlan and constructive handball with Rodney Duncan allowed Phillip Rowston to score a brilliant goal from 45 metres. With time running out for the quarter Bennett snapped truly with his left foot after accepting a quick handball from Griffith's captain-coach Cian Ebert. Quarter time: Turvey Park 6.1 (37) to Griffith 4.5 (29).
Second quarter: Griffith inaccuracy in front of goal continued early in the second quarter when two minor scores were recorded. Turvey Park open up a handy three goal lead after 6 minutes of play with goals from Warren Sykes and Anderson. With both back lines on top scoring chances were hard to come by until Chris Conlan making one of his brief appearances for the game came off the interchange bench to snap a goal from the boundary throw-in. A further goal to Griffith followed with a Rodney Duncan foot pass to the high-flying Matt Olney. Turvey Park ruckman Travis Richards was playing an important part for his team scored a great goal after an excellent passage of play from Sykes and Blair Campbell for the Bulldogs ninth. Not to be denied Griffith came back again with Rodney Duncan accepting a lightening handball from Bennett to find the big sticks from 40 metres. Before you could say "Jack Robinson", Griffith skipper Ebert raced in to score a classic six-pointer to put the Swans one-point in front at the 18th minute. After a period of Griffith dominance, Turvey Park through Loughman out-smarted three Swans' defenders to snap a goal from 20 metres and then score another fine goal from a free kick. These goals seem to unsettle the Swans team and with star centre Phillip Rowston unable to have any influence on the game they began to struggle on and off the ground. With the 42-year-old Sykes cutting loose on the forward line it wasn't long before he has master-minded another goal for Anderson. Although Danny Beriman scored the final point for the first half it was quite obvious to many keen observers and supporters that the Griffith "brain trust" have been unwittingly outpointed by their Turvey Park counterparts with their puzzling use of the interchange bench. Half-time: Turvey Park 12.1 (73) to Griffith 8.9 (57).
Third Quarter: Turvey Park were the first to get their game going with Blair Campbell dominating play found Bryce Campbell who kicked a fine 55-metre goal. Leith Mills received a free kick on the boundary line and goaled after being tackled without the ball by Griffith's defender Shawn Conlan. Blair Campbell then added Turvey Park third goal for the quarter from a handball from Masterson. Griffith came back at the 9th minute as Bennett marked cleverly in front of goals from a Matt Kenny up-and-under for a goal. Big Dave Curran then marked to score Griffith's second goal in a three-minute period. Sykes was then awarded a lucky goal after his long shot for goal had deemed to have fully crossed the goal line according to goal umpire Rick Firman. Griffith players were becoming frustrated, and a small melee developed as Turvey Park's Sykes received a 50-metre penalty and goaled from an Olney side-on collision. Griffith came back at the 20th minute with Bennett again kicking truly after receiving a free kick from a holding infringement by Turvey Park quickly replied as Sykes combined with Blair and Bryce Campbell for Anderson to goal from 40 metres. At the 25th minute of the quarter a change came over the game as Griffith finally received more drive out of the centre bounce through Beriman to such an effect that four unanswered goals were scored. Fighting back from a 35-point debits, Craig Conlan received a handball from Olney and his long kick sailed through the big sticks for a goal. Rodney Duncan throwing himself into the play burst through a pack of players and kicked truly from 40 metres. With Beriman now dominating in the ruck, Olney and Curran took spectacular marks in the forward to raise both flags on each occasion. Curran marked strongly in a pack of players in the forward line, but his unnecessary handball was rushed through for a behind thus ending an exciting third quarter of football. Three quarter-time: Turvey Park 18.4 (112) to Griffith 15.10 (100).
Final quarter: Goals to Beriman (2), Trevor Clarke and Curran from 50 metres out gave Griffith a 13-point lead after ten minutes of the last quarter. Turvey Park appeared to be tiring until the umpire's pet, that old wily, crafty Turvey Park veteran Warren Sykes received a very dubious free kick from umpire Crook "by name and nature". Sykes booted his fourth from the edge of goal square to reduce the Griffith led to seven points. Griffith went forward a minute later for Curran to mark strongly and goal from 30 metres. Griffith began to make a few costly errors when going into their forward line with misdirected foot passes, missed tackles and an easy overhead mark spilt. Turvey Park players seized upon their opportunities from the Griffith mistakes forcing the ball into their scoring zone with full forward Loughman kicking his fifth goal with ten minutes remaining. This was quickly followed by half forward flanker Brent Fraser adding two more goals in a minute, first from a strong mark and kicking truly from 45 metres, followed up with a right foot snap to make the difference seven points in Turvey Park's favour. With time running out Loughman again marked in the goal square to seal Griffith Swans' fete and record a memorable and well-deserved victory for the Turvey Park Bulldogs.
(By Trevor Harrison - Red & White Review Vol. 2, No. 1.).