Click on 2019 season to return
"BY THE MAN ON THE FENCE"
SWANS NOTES No. 1.
IT is not really surprising that many are tipping us for the Riverina Football Netball League premiership this season. When one considers the heights, we reached last season in coming so close to major honours I suppose it is to be expected that we will be classed as favourites this time around.
But no one at Griffith is going to say we will win anything. That would not be fair to the other eight clubs in RFNL.
Of course, there is confidence in the camp. There is also a marvellous team spirit, a willingness on the part of each and every one of the players to give 100 per cent for their teammates.
Jordan Iudica decision to stay at the club, along with Ben King and Heath Northey, who have all signed up again, means the continuity hasn’t been interrupted and our aim is simply to repeat the form of last season.
But it is never easy. In many ways we were the Team of the Year for 2018 but never at any stage was it less than hard work to stay at the top.
The RFNL is as much a test of endurance as it is of footballing ability. Clubs have to play up to 19 games in all types of condition and there are so many additional factors like injuries, loss of form, etc., that have a part to play.
No team with serious title ambition can afford a really slack period. It takes a good start, a solid spell in the middle and a rousing finish when the other challengers are snapping at your heels come finals time.
But hopefully our players are tried and tested, and most have been through it all over. They are nearly all senior members now who have played at a very good level for a number of years. They know exactly what is required of them.
There were times during the close season when the club thought about dipping into the player market. There were players anyone would have fancied – but not at the asking price. And in any case would one have spent dollars to pay players of the quality of some of our reserves without being able to guarantee them a place in the team.
We cannot make promises or look into a crystal ball and say what the season holds in store. But we can tell you that everyone at Exies Sports Oval is determined to have something to celebrate with our fans.
Welcome back for what we hope will be another enjoyable season. Give all the players the reception they deserve and take it from there. Up the Swans! (April 10, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 2.
THE visit of Coolamon Rovers today signals the start of a hectic period which leaves us in no doubt that the season is well and truly under way. At stake this afternoon are four competition points and since both sides have definite premiership ambitions an interesting clash is in prospect. Games between these two sides over the years have had that something extra that separates them from other fixtures, and I see no reason why today’s game should not follow a similar pattern.
Hopefully we will be able to field a near to full strength side and of course, I am keeping my fingers crossed that our four selected players returned from their representative match in Canberra unscathed and looking forward to today’s game. Since my first column of the season, we have won all of our three League fixtures, not perhaps the five stars start we hoped for but nevertheless something on which to build.
Can our boys win today, I personally think so, but we have to kick at least six goals while our visitors look on! Go to it boys! There was never a finer slogan for a football side. The men who go to it get the ball, and the other chaps can’t play without it. We give a hearty welcome to our sporting visitors, Coolamon Rovers. One of the oldest clubs in the area. Founded in 1894. There are none better in the game - and if they put “paid” to us we shall be first to congratulate them. Up the Swans! (May 28, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 3.
LOCAL derby games are a highlight of any season and meetings between Griffith and Leeton Whitton have always been a bit special. Today’s clash is no exception and both sides need the points for different reasons. In our case to bolster the challenge at the top and, as far as Leeton Whitton are concerned, to climb away from the danger zone at the other end. With home game advantage we have more than an excellent opportunity to consolidate our position as the only undefeated team in this season’s Riverina FNL competition. That’s not meant as disrespect for our visitors today, the Crows, but merely to emphasise how important it is that we do not slip up front of our own supporters. Having said all that, however, we will go into the game confident because of our displays this season. We have no need to fear any opponents although we do respect them and there is never a question of us under estimating anyone.
It was a marvellous feeling to emerge victorious from last week’s game against Coolamon Rovers which lived up to its billing as the match of the round. It was everything we expected it to be, and I felt we deserved our win. The action hardly stopped for the entire 100 minutes and there was some marvellous, typically Aussie Rules, football to be admired. Both sets of players deserve credit for putting on such a show. We never expected anything less from the Hoppers than a solid fighting performance and I can sympathise with them at losing out. But I am delighted for our boys because they worked extremely hard for the result. Up the Swans! (May 28, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 4.
A visit to our old “bogey” team, Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong always is a highlight in any season but the respective positions of the two clubs adds extra spice to today’s encounter. We go into the game as the RFNL competition leaders, but I don’t want anyone at Exies Sports Club getting carried away about our position.
After all, only six rounds of matches have been played and while we are all delighted to have accumulated 24 points in that spell, we cannot afford to ignore the facts that there are another twelve rounds of games remaining before the final series begins. The Lions have done well again this season and we congratulate them and look forward to a good game.
I hope you enjoyed the game last week with Leeton Whitton. I’m afraid I played “truant” from this game as I went on a journey to Berrigan. My first-hand information is that we won comfortably, but I understand after obtaining a substantial first quarter lead our players eased up – unfortunately - and the next three quarters of the game were very tame. I hear Mick Duncan played well and again showed his superiority over our Crows' visitors. Up the Swans! (June 4, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 5.
WELL, Swannies, here we are again fresh from a darn good hiding at Mangoplah last Saturday. What a day. President Graeme Killalea and the Mango spectators thoroughly enjoyed themselves. How their crowd roared! Not many of them but they knew how to cheer too. It is hard to believe, unless you have seen it, that our boys could have played so badly. There is no excuse to offer, little fight was shown, and unless our players put more energy into their game and go for the ball, and not wait till it comes to them, we shall be in a very serious position of not qualifying for the top spot on the competition ladder.
The famous Wagga Tigers are our guests today, so let's give them some real Griffith welcome! It would be a waste of time for me to tell you all that they have won – I should think everything bar the ‘old’ South West League premiership.
A Club steeped in tradition and always a hard team to beat.
Well boys, our President Jeff Harris and supporters like to enjoy themselves and have something to cheer about too. Give us that pleasure today even if we don’t win by a big margin, we are still 'king of the castle'. Come on boys do your stuff. Up The Swans! (June 18, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 6.
NO excuses need to be made for our boys second defeat of the season by Wagga Tigers last Saturday. For the opening term during which Isaiah Potts scored first with a nice goal, we looked like running the away team off its feet, but for some reason or other, part of our side closed up like a book. Our boys all played hard enough (some of them too hard!), but without combining and consequently became a thing of bits and pieces. Unfortunately for us our defence broke down during the third term and we gave away seven goals.
One must pay tribute to the Wagga players for their fight back. It was a no mean feat after being down five goals at the 4th minute mark of the third term, and Wagga deserves credit for their performance.
I think most people at the game thought we should have had a few more frees throughout the game – I certainly did, but the umpires didn’t, and they are the only ones that counts. And I also think that is enough of a game thrown away!
Our visitors today - They say “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good” - and so we are able to welcome our old friends from Collingullie.
They have had great difficulties, like us in raising a win lately. Great record – six RFL Grand Final appearances since 2012, three of which were won. Hard luck to their coach Luke Gestier suspended for swearing at the umpire last week. So, here’s to a good game.
Up the Swans! (June 25, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 7.
WHAT a day at Exies Oval last Saturday! Rain and a gale of wind. Hardly fit to send your wife out. Under the conditions, some excellent football. We faced the tide and wind in the first term and did well to be only six points down at quarter time. Our boys did take advantage of the elements in the second term scoring five goals to zip, and then outscored the undermanned ‘Gullie’ Demons in the third term when going into the wind by four goals to two. Cruised home in the final quarter to take the four premiership points 99-56.
We visit our friends from Turvey Park today. We have had some real battles with them in the past – in every sense of the word. They once beat us for the premiership flag back in 2002 but we beat them up in grand style the following year. They have really struggled in recent years and have had their ups and downs but still come up smiling. Wally Sykes' son Jeremy is a boy who has made big strides – and still makes them – watch him! Particularly our players!! Just a word to the Griffith boys – Don’t let success fly to your heads – every team will be out to lower your colours – see they don’t! Up the Swans! (July 1, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 8.
IT was a very different Griffith Swans we saw last Saturday at Maher Oval for the return match with Turvey Park, and whilst there is still some room for improvement among the side, it was nice to see the team amongst the goals again. It was in the last quarter that the Griffith boys clicked to bring home victory, 115 to 58. We had some fine players on the day, but the most brilliant of all was young Jack Rowston, who gave a display on his wing that must surely rank with his best ever.
The Narrandera Imperial Club, who are our opposition today and comrades of misfortune near the bottom of the ladder, have one of most colourful records of any club in the area. One of the original members of the old South West League. They were premiers in 1913 and 1914. A further 13 premierships were won until the South West League was no more. Twice in succession on three occasions, last time in 1966-67. Since 1982 when the Riverina Football League came about only two premierships 1986 and 2012 have been won.
Welcome to our old friends from Narrandera, not one of the most fashionable sides these days, but always amongst the triers - Here’s to another good game! Up The Swans! (July 9, 2019).
SWANS NOTES No. 9.
OUR boys certainly wrecked the Mango Goannas good run of games without defeat at Exies Oval last Saturday. This was a game of thrills – mainly happy ones for us. Young Nathan Richards, promoted from the injured list, gave a good display in the engine room – in spite of being hampered by a lack of match practice. Keep it up, Baby Huey! A strong half-back line is the key to success of most sides – Micky Duncan, Jimmy Toscan and Jordy Iudica certainly proved this. Once his nerves settled Jono Gastin, our latest 200 senior game member certainly proved his worth with a sparkling second half display.
Although we won handsomely by six goals Mangoplah proved worthy opponents and should do well come finals time.
We have now practically reached the end of the home and away season, and on Saturday we play what is our last away match. It is fitting that we should meet our old foeman and the endorsed favourites for premiership honours from Wagga. We shall have an opportunity of avenging that last competition defeat at Exies Oval, after we looked like having the match won at half-time. I hope that our boys will not take any liberties with these doughty Wagga Tigers. It’s commitment and goals that count. Up The Swans! (August 20, 2019).