GRIFFITH NOTES: "The Sou'Wester" August 5, 1979 - No. 15
By Swan: While we may not have played our best football last Sunday against Narrandera, our grit and endeavour had to be called premiership favourites struggling to beat us.
We had our chances but again we missed too many opportunities when within scoring range
None the less we again showed we have better days coming as our younger players gain in confidence and ability.
It was good to see the effort put into the game by Ian Wade after his recent run of bad luck with injury.
Our Reserve Grade shook clear into competition leadership and we were more than pleased to produce this result with the finals not that far away on the same playing arena.
Drew Luhrs gave us a really big effort in our win and our whole side deserve special mention for their combined team play. Our Under 19's showed plenty of courage, but sometimes that ingredient by itself is not enough. However, we still look forward to bigger games from our boys and we know we have turned the corner with our problems.
On the League front, the continual break in the competition is doing nothing for the game in our opinion. We believe the League is at its lowest ebb ever with poor games, dull competition, waning interest ... and the frequent breaks are doing nothing to help.
1980 could be a vital year for our code and unless the game takes a move forward, the damage sustained could be a liability for years to come.
Beres Sexton spotlight on 'Rules'
As in all sports there are many people who gave many hours of their time to the administration and organisation in the running their respective sports. These people receive little recognition for their effort.
On such person is Rod Manning whose devotion to schoolboys' football has been significant.
This week I would like to take a look at his career and his association with schoolboys football.
Rod was born in Barellan and in a football career that lasted 10 years he played in four premierships sides - with Barellan in 1947 and Sandy Creek in 1954, 55 and 56.
As a point of interest, the three premiership sides that Rod played in when he was at Sandy Creek were the first three the club had won.
While playing he regarded the Irvins, Males, Bandys, Ron Overs, Claude Hillier, the Geddes and Merv Stiller, as just a few of the best players.
Rod went to Yenda in 1958 and with three other men decided to call a public meeting to get a football club started in Yenda.
From 15 to 20 people turned up to this meeting and it was decided there and then that an Australian Football Club would be started.
Rod recalled that this was not the first rules club in Yenda. The first played in early 1920's, and early 30's.
Harry Roff was one of the coaches in those days.
Jack Kloot was the first non-playing coach of the side in its first season - 1960, while he was still playing for Griffith.
Other coaches of the team in order were - Ted Heslop who came from Broken Hill, then Bob Spears in 1962, the year they amalgamated with Beelbangera.
Other local players to have coached Yenda were Gordon Browne, Doug Geddes and Bill Tyndall.
In 1960 a schoolboys' competition was started, with Yenda and Sandy Creek playing the first game, with it eventually snow balling until every side had their own team.
Yenda won the first schoolboys premiership twice in 1961 and '68 when they went through the year undefeated.
Rod's main involvement with the Yenda schoolboys before they folded at the end of the 1968 season was as coach and president at various times.
His involvement with Griffith schoolboys started the year the under 14's went through undefeated, which was five years ago.
The next successful side that Rod was associated with was the victorious under 15-years team which won the premiership last year 1978, when coached by John "Ducky" O'Donnell.
Rod agrees that the present numbers within the Mod Rules and schoolboys is the best he has seen in the years he has been associated with them.
Rod is hopeful that Narrandera, Leeton and Whitton will continue to increase the numbers of their juniors to make the Leeton zone a strong competition.
He would like to see an under 14 years and under 16 years competition operating and the third 18 brought back to an under 18 years competition.
He realises that this would be rather difficult for some of the smaller towns.
His son Graham is a member of the Griffith seniors and is regarded as a player with an excellent future.
Last year Rod's family had the misfortune to experience the loss of their son, Ian, who was also a member of the Griffith Club.
It is dedicated people like Rod Manning, who enable junior sports to flourish.
He will continue with his association in sports for many years yet.
(The Area News - Wednesday August 8, 1979)