GRIFFITH NOTES: "The Sou'Wester" April 15, 1979 - No. 1
By Swan: Another new season with all clubs full of hope and optimism for better things in 1979.
We welcome Peter Matuska as our new coach along with his wife Carol and handsome son Adam. Peter already has engineered a new feeling within the club and given the right kind of breaks, we hope to be amongst the finalists this season.
A big group of new players has joined with the Swans with Garry Smart back with us as assistant coach after a season of football last year overseas. Peter Dwyer (Pat's brother), Peter Arnall, Laurie Saunders, Trevor Drake, Mark Nolan (Wagga Tigers), Ian Minchin (Ariah Park), Paul Smith, Peter Biggs, Glen Kruger and Fred Dermott are new names in the South West this season and we bid them welcome to our club.
Our trial matches have been keenly fought and we wish to thank Temora, Jerilderie, Whitton and Ardlethan for joining in pre-season preparation. With a new president Pat Cudmore and a new secretary Mary Collins, the Swans are new and shiny and looking for a big year of football.
BOMBERS SERVE WARNING IN FIRST ROUND
By Jack Luhrs
Step aside South West and make way for the 1979 premiers ... only football ill fortune or injury can stop Ariah Park from taking out the top Australian success of the Riverina. The Bombers rammed home the message as a warning to all other clubs when they thrashed Griffith last Sunday on the Ex-Servicemen's Oval, 20.24 (204) to 19.6 (120).
Not since 1963 has Griffith taken such a pasting and for it to happen on their own ground where previously it had been their habit to humble the Bombers, made it all the more galling.
And before the impression is created the Swans are a mob of no hopers, this aspect should be put right at the start.
Griffith is a good side and will play a big part in the ultimate decision of the premiership.
That they were soundly beaten serves further to indicate the class of the Bombers victory.
Ariah Park exploited the Swans' weaknesses and perhaps too much of the festival spirit the day before did little to help the Swans' chances.
The Swans' have a hole a mile deep in defence, and through this and the big gap in the centre of the ground, the Bombers poured the bulk of their attacking power.
And without a counter to duel Gammage medallist, Jimmy Prentice as the best man afield, Griffith were drubbed into their most humiliating defeat in over a decade.
It could have been a different story and for the first quarter of the match it shaped as though it would be.
The Swans booted nine goals in an electrifying display.
Full forward Darrell Collins backed the judgement made to him to prove a top player of the future, booting three goals of his six for the game in this period.
Leading by 35 points at the end of the first term, the Swans gradually lost the initiative in the face of the growing confidence of the opposition.
Jimmy Prentice did little to win the tap downs in the centre but he picked up more than 30 kicks in general play, as well as finishing with seven goals, to round off one of the best performances ever seen on the Ex-Servicemen's Oval.
But just as damaging was the power line established in midfield by Billy Pleming.
Failure to cover Pleming allowed the Bombers a ready run at their flow-on, back-up game. The fast, fit and eager Ariah Park made the chances of Mark Newton and Peter Manning so much easier to dominate at full forward and centre half forward.
Newton bagged nine goals despite a good checking game from youngster Greg Hill, filling in the place of the injured Ian Wade. Newton is clearly the best full forward in the league and it was in no disgrace to Hill in the finish, when he was placed out on the flank to allow Steve Best at full back late in the game.
Griffith ironically gave their best goal kicking display in years despite their big losing margin.
The 19/6 helped to boost the score to one good enough to win most matches, but a number of their goals came from Ariah Park errors to act as a sobering counter.
Griffith made a game for it for the first quarter where their high standard play showed the side is a strong one , and capable of big things this season. It is clear however, some players need to apply themselves and give more thought to both their pre-match preparation and their role on the day of play.
Peter Matuska gave them the lead with his sound rucking display and his big marking in the forward line enabled him to finish with five goals for the day.
Yet the Swans were beaten around the packs through Prentice and the clever roving pair of a Terry Haddrill and Col Fisher.
With Phil McGarry at centre half forward, the Swans appears to have the answer where his long kicking is of a great value and his ability to take the big grab.
Subdued in the two previous trial matches, Garry Smart came back with a fine game and aided by three goals kicked by Nifty Brand. the Swans retain some of the best rucking power in the business.
However, they will struggle against top sides like Ariah Park and Narrandera until they are able to spread their strength evenly around the ground.
(The Area News - Wednesday April 18, 1979)