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"BY THE MAN ON THE FENCE"
WHAT HAS THE SEASON IN STORE FOR SWANS?
ANOTHER football season has come round, and for the past sixty years many of us have had the opportunity of witnessing our mighty Swans perform at Griffith's Ex-Servicemen's Oval against the various clubs which go to make up the Leagues. Years may come and years may go, but enthusiasm for the Australian Rules code all over the Riverina seems to be on even par rather than diminishing, as some of our critics would have us believe.
Supporters of our club can rest assure the players are keen on doing their best, and if they can climb to the top of the table they will do so. But we must recognise that this season at any rate Griffith Swans is starting near the bottom of the ladder. To climb to the top is not an insurmountable task, but handicapped like the club has been, it will be well to recognise the difficulties in the way, and not expect too much.
The club has got together a band of young and enthusiastic players, keen not only in making reputations for themselves but for the welfare of the club to which they have come allied.
Next year (2023) will in all probability see two new leagues, (proposed names) Riverina Premier and Riverina Community? The so called 'powers to be' must have probably thought the Riverina League and 'old' Farrer League, good, no doubt, had served its purpose. But very much depends on how things shake down! Hopefully clubs have shown a desire to progress, sentiment has been done away with, and now after some heartburning it has come to be recognised that clubs must stand or fall by their merits. (March 1, 2022)
PLEASING START TO 2022 SEASON FOR OUR SWANS
HOW pleasing was it with the way Griffith Swans season has started at our home ground against RFNL premiership contenders, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes. The visiting Goannas team should have won the game with something to spare but our Swans throughout gave a meritorious display, playing with all the vigour of youth - full of dash and enthusiasm - and at one brief stage during the game they looked like claiming all four points. When it is recalled how spiritedly the boys attacked in that period after half-time. Many times, during the third quarter were definitely on top and had the Goannas team repeatedly under hot pressure. Good play from Mangoplah when running into the breeze in the final quarter proved the visitors were no doubt superior to our own. (April 10, 2022).
SWANS WIN LOCAL DERBY
INTO battle once again against Leeton-Whitton last Saturday - And what a battle! Naturally, we are in a happy mood, having won our first game of the new season, and we sincerely hope our boys will still continue to play the right type of football, which not only produces goals, thirteen in fact, but is entertaining to the supporters.
There is no doubt that this type of football, means extra burden is thrown on the backline; and with this in mind, there is great credit due to Charlie Cunial and Sam Foley. It also throws extra work on the midfield brigade alike, but Skipper Jack Rowston and all his lads enjoy the extra work entailed by this method.
James Toscan had one of his best games to date. His worrying of the Crows defence had them going all ways, and his high marking was far above any that the Crows defence could muster. Tosco also found time to keep his forward line together and rounded up a good afternoon's work by booting six goals.
In a match that every Swans and Crows player is awarded a credit tag, but I would mention four young Swans' players in particular. Jamie Best did all that required of him at half back and has infused that "never-say-die" spirit into the defence, sibling Ryan, with his fearless tackling, and his constructive football has improved above all knowledge, and congrats to Broden Spencer and Mason Rosengreen on making their senior debut.
I would like to extend thanks to supporters who made the trip to Leeton. It is a good omen for the future, when I note the enthusiasm of those who did not make the journey, by reason of the fact that from 6 o'clock onward there were incessant inquires on arrival back at Griffith as how the Griffith Swans sides had fared at Leeton.
One of our best victories seen at Leeton Showgrounds was my comment, and besides that if they can produce the football played in their first two games, a good game is sure to be witnessed against our visitors Collingullie Demons, Saturday next. (April 25, 2022).
SWANS SHOW "NEVER-SAY-DIE" SPIRIT
THE season is still very young, but in the three matches to date, our Swans have surely convinced us all that they are playing the football that will keep us above the bottom rungs of the Riverina Football League ladder.
While it is hardly necessary for me to say how pleased we all were with last Saturday's game against Collingullie-Glenfield Park; not only for our 41 - 73 loss point of view, but also with the football played by our boys. It would not be fair of me to select any one of the lads for special praise, they played football as a team, the right type of football, and we are all pleased and proud of their display against a good Demons team widely predicted to achieve big things come finals time.
I was also impressed with the vocal encouragement given to the players by all supporters which play no small part in the present achievement of our players. I have purposely mentioned "our" players as I want all supporters to feel when they cheer the boys, that they are part of a happy circle, whether we win, lose or draw you still remain your confidence in our players. (May 2, 2022).
NO SHAME IN DEFEAT SWANS'
P5. W1. L4. D0. This is not a secret code, but the results of our Swans team matches played so far. It certainly does not look over good, but although we have lost each match, except one, they all have been splendid games. I feel sure you will all agree. You'll probably need a good memory to remember our last home game v. Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong. Our 28-93 defeat against the all-conquering Lions was probably "just one of those things" that happens to most clubs at some time or other!
Reflecting on last Saturday's away game with Turvey Park, what a feast of good football was served up by both teams. The Bulldogs were undoubtedly the better craftsmen and controlled the play splendidly, but our Swans were a team of fighters and never gave up. To sum up, whilst the result was disappointing to all concerned, the standard of our play, if kept up, will assure that when the breaks come our way, we will win more games than we lose. There is no shame in defeat, and providing the boys keep up the same style of football as already shown, I am sure, win, lose or draw, club patrons will have a kind word for the Players. (May 16, 2022).
FLAT SWANS OVERWHELMED BY TIGERS
THE Griffith Swans played an away fixture with Wagga Tigers at Robertson Oval, a typical Wagga venue, extremely neat and tidy but almost soleless, last Saturday. The lack of atmosphere, no passion among the players or spectators may have something to do with end result but I'll leave that your own imagination. The home team cruised to an utterly effortless victory like it was a picnic in the park for them whereas our Swans was curiously flat; nothing like what had I witnessed in previous games. Even though we were overwhelmed by a Tigers team that would sweep any opposition off their feet on this form, even though the more the boys tried the more hopeless the position became, at least they never gave up trying. I would like to point out that when a team is losing, the game becomes ten times harder to play and correspondingly takes out ten times as much energy. So even though all Supporters will feel downcast about the result, spare a thought for the players and coaching staff who feel the defeat more keenly. (May 30, 2022).
NO NEED TO EXPLAIN THE HOPPERS WERE FAR TOO GOOD
FOLLOWING our Swans 141-54 defeat at Exies Oval against Coolamon Rovers last Saturday afternoon, you will probably be saying to yourselves - "Well, how is 'The Man on the Fence' going to explain it away this week?". First of all, let me tell you that I have no intention of explaining why we lost. Those of you that saw the game will understand how the fates were against us. I have every admiration for our players who, without exception have done all possible to win though. This is no time for players to get into their heads that they are out of their class because on this occasion the opposing team happens to have a better list of senior footballers. The Grasshoppers are a darn good side. They have youth blended with experience in Jake Barrett, Jeremy Sykes, Joe Redfern and Jeremiah Maslin, and have had the advantage of having played together week after week. I was told by Coolamon Rovers club legend 'Barty', they still have two decent defenders in Marshal Macauley and Alister Clarke to come into the side. Watch out for the 'Greens' come finals time, you have been warned! (June 6, 2022).
SWANS FALL SHORT IN DEFEAT
I suppose you will be wondering what has happened to our Swans last Saturday at Narrandera Sportsground - following the RFNL's general bye for the Queen Elizabeth Birthday holiday weekend (The Queen's birthday is actually on 21st April). We congratulate Narrandera Imperial on their win, (match screened live) I think you will agree this was a good game, but I am afraid we only have ourselves to blame for our 14-point defeat. We had our chances but failed to take them. Inexperience had a great deal to do with our shortcomings but other than that we are not making any excuses, for I told you before the season even commenced, we are facing many difficulties.
Finally, in Greg Dreyer we have a coach whose passion for the club and commitment is unquestionable. I am confident 'Fifty' will lead us to the dawn of a new era but let's not forget these things take time and he needs our support. So, let's get behind the team and keep believing, as things can only get better. (June 20, 2022).
DON'T WORRY OUR SWANS WILL BOUNCE BACK
YOU die if you worry - You die if you don't - So why worry at all? The words of the song came into my mind as I sat down to write these notes. There is a great deal of logic in them, but I am afraid if some of us did not worry we should not get very far. Well then, congratulations to our Swans on their display at Mangoplah last Saturday. The score against us reads as though we received a good hiding. This is not the case. I say this in spite of the score being 123 to 51 against them. Most of you that saw the game will agree, I feel sure, that we were just about as unlucky as we could be - hitting the goal post on four separate occasions. Despite the Senior team current position, our Swans still have plenty going for them, even if it is not on the field. The committee led by club president Paul Rogerson undoubtedly have the club's best interest at heart. They may appear a little muted at times, but they are working flat out to get us to get us home. (June 27, 2022).
SOMEONE'S AT THE BOTTOM OF LEAGUE BUT NOT US SWANS
SOMEONE must be at the bottom of the Riverina League ladder, but I suppose the supporters of that Club, whichever it may be, will grumble and say, "Why must it be us?'. Fortunately, our own Club does not occupy that position at the moment, but I think you will recall that on one occasion this season I had warned you to be prepared for the worse. Well, I take that all back after Saturday local derby win against the Leeton-Whitton Crows as I feel sure it won't be our Griffith Swans in 2022.
On to our exciting game with the Crows - finished almost like a grand finale. All credit to the players on both sides and a draw, in my opinion, would have been a fair result. I expect Leeton people took it (loss) in a sporting way and were full of congratulations. Personally, I look forward to my Saturday and the enjoyment of the game, but do you realise that our senior Swans had only won one match this season before Saturday's win. Earlier in the season we only just sneaked home to beat the Crows at Leeton Showgrounds on the 23rd of April. (July 4, 2022)
SWANS LOST BUT BY NO MEANS DISGRACED
THE game on Saturday at Collingullie, our Swans met with defeat but by no means disgraced. The game at times was a real ding-dong affair - even the keenest 'Gullie' partisan would admit our Swans side was worth a clap or two. For the first twenty-five minutes of the game our hosts were more or less giving us a lesson in how to move the ball quickly but to our credit we held firm. Every one of our boys played well in the second term - continuous pressure put the opposition side back on their heels. We started to play the game that counts - making the ball do the work. These methods soon brought their reward - out scoring the home team by 11 points.
Starting the second half on equal terms, our Griffith boys played like League leaders and again swept down onto the 'Gullie' defence but for little reward. From the ten-minute mark on, our Swans were never in the picture, 'Gullie' took control, piling on nine to two second half goals. We just gave away too many silly goals! I can fully understand why the consistent 'Gullie' team have carried all before them lately. They have a good blend of youth and experience and have in the person of Matt Klemke, who can still give the youngsters a good start. (July 11, 2022).
SWANS' SECOND HALF FADE OUT
I did not see our Swans match at Ganmain last Saturday, but I was none the less half pleased, though the final result was a predicted ten goal loss to the competition leaders. It would have been difficult to forget what ever happened after such a 'first class' opening half of footy, but it is all best forgotten. And if the lesson has been learned good may now come from the evil memory of yet another second half fade out which would have been heart-breaking to our committee, our supporters and, we hope, to our players. (July 18, 2022).
KEEP IT UP SWANS
OUR Swans staged a great victory over the Turvey Park Bulldogs at Exies Sport Oval with their 89 - 61 win. The visitors were no mean team, and that makes the victory all the more pronounced. I cannot remember having a stronger combination this year, and although one would like to pay tribute to Nathan Richards, whose play as ruckman was most impressive, it was a great team effort with every member of the side pulling his weight. Keep up that standard and many teams will go the same way, that being Wagga Tigers, Coolamon Rovers and Narrandera Eagles. The task is not an easy one, but if the boys can aspire to the heights attained last Saturday, plus that little bit of luck which good sides are entitled to, we will come out of this competition with credit. (July 25, 2022).
SWANS TAME TIGERS IN RETURN BOUT
IN a troublesome wind, and a greasy ground, our Swans had a tremendous fight with Wagga Tigers at Exies Sports Oval. Not only that, but we played football that was definitely on a slightly higher plane than that of our visitors, and with a little bit of luck, would have secured half a dozen more goals.
Apart from a few anxious moments during the match there never appeared much likelihood that a weakened Wagga Tigers side would create a surprise. They were keen and persevering, but the longer the game lasted the brighter became the prospects of the Griffith boys.
It took us some time, however, to get that final goal, a 'speculator' from villain turned hero Toddy Argus late in the game, but after that the issue was never in doubt.
The boys are now going strong - touch wood - and last Saturday's return 'bout' was extremely satisfying to everyone concerned.
Indeed, it is quite a change to find people taking a keen interest in the Club.
When matters are not going too well everyone, except the more loyal supporters, avoid football topics entirely.
But now, wherever one goes, the Swans' future prospects are discussed with real keenness! (August 8, 2022).
SWANS CRASHED AT KINDRA PARK
AFTER a spell of two games without defeat our Swans crashed at Kindra Park last Saturday. I know it will sound improbable to supporters who were not there, but the fact remains, we played good football, the equal of the home side in all the arts of the game in the first half. True, the second half was all Coolamon Rovers, but it was those seven successive 'Hopper' goals in the third quarter that brings us back to the same position in which we have found ourselves all season. We have a young team, and they are all overanxious to do well but only experience can really combat it. This Saturday we stage the last of our RFNL matches on the Exies Sports Oval for the year, and I trust you will have the pleasure of watching the Boys have a good win. (August 15, 2022).
SWANS WIN OUT IN ENTERTAINING GAME
HERE we were at Griffith Exies Sports Oval last Saturday - a glorious day for our Swans last home and away competition match against Narrandera Imperial. I think you will agree, the game was very good entertainment with plenty of thrills and excitement galore, both on and off the field. It was grand to hear both sets of supporters entering into the spirit and rallying their players to further efforts. I thought to myself what about the Eagles crowd, "Wow, what an enthusiastic following you have, I sometimes wish our spectators were half as keen."
It was refreshing to see our forwards in such a penetrative mood, and the fact that we scored goals on 17 occasions was largely due to the unselfishness of the whole team. Ollie Bartter and Paddy Payne each claimed four of these goals, but I think they would be the first to admit the help they received from teammates further up the ground. Moreover, Narrandera were not quite such a bad side as the score would suggest. With the slightest bit of luck and help from the umpires might have obtained at least three or more goals.
Taking the game all through, our Griffith boys looked the better footballing side. Their defence was more convincing, while the midfielders and forwards, once on top, played superior football to that of their opponents.
Both teams, more so the Eagles, must have been pleased when the final siren sounded, and towards the finish there were plenty of signs of weariness, due largely to the grueling pace set up prior to the last quarter. (August 22, 2022).