TIMELINE 1914 - 1981
Take a trip down memory lane as Griffith Swans history is explored in detail.
1914: The year Australian Rules football commenced in the Griffith district when men who were building the canal which was to supply water to the new irrigation area, decided to form their own football club. Their home ground being on a site 5 km south-east of the present townsite, known as Bagtown or Old Griffith. Along with the established communities of Whitton, Darlington Point and Warangeda Mission Station, a football association was formed. Griffith won the first premiership under Wagga footballer Thos. Rudd, a team that included great players of that era, William 'Pouncer' and Paddy Wade and Les 'Snowy' Anderson.
1915: Griffith complete's back to back premierships. First World War intervenes.
1918: First World War ends. Griffith district players represent M.I.A team against Barellan, Hay and Narrandera in aid of Repatriation Fund.
1921: The Griffith District Football Association was formed at a meeting at Lyceum Theatre, on April 15. Foundation clubs and captain's are Griffith (Jack Wood), Binya (Ken Matheson), Hanwood (George Bruce) and Yenda (George Ballenger). James Murphy kicks the only goal of grand final at Yenda Oval, as Binya, beat Griffith 1.0.(6) to 0.1.(1).
1922: Showman, Steve Dudley leads Griffith to a premiership over Binya 2.6.(18) to 2.2.(14).
1923: Binya leaves GDFA for Barellan Association. The Rugby code takes a solid hold.
1925: Griffith re-form and enters MIA Football League. They are to finish as minor premiers but lose grand final to Yanco.
1926: Local boxing hero Jack Haines kicks eight goal as Griffith beat Yanco, 12.10.(82) to 10.7.(67) in grand final at Griffith Rugby Oval.
1927: Griffith again win flag beating Yanco 5.10.(40) to 4.8.(32) at Whitton, and become outright holders of the Johnnie Walker Cup.
1928: Griffith takes no part in competition football after failing to attend a MIA Football League delegate meeting.
1929-30: Wall Street crash, signals world wide depression. Griffith elect to join Barellan Association (Saturday competition). Frank Polkinghorne, club captain since 1925 resigns at end of 1930. Kamarah win flags in 1929-30.
1931: Nugget Connell appointed captain and Griffith re-join the MIA Football League, along with re-formed Hanwood, and new club Warburn. Warburn withdraws from competition after three matches due to financial reasons. Griffith season concludes one match early with a team walk-off. Leeton wins flag.
1932: The Griffith District Football Association re-forms (Griffith, Hanwood, Warburn and Yenda). Scenic Hill oval opens with friendly match against Aboriginal team from Darlington Point. Hanwood win flag.
1933: Tabbita admitted at Yenda's expense. Griffith replace Connell with former VFL footballer Gerry Beare, and defeat Hanwood in grand final.
1934: Tabbita departs for Merriwagga Association and are replaced by Darlington Point. Young Victorian Western District footballer, Jim Nash appointed Griffith coach. Darlington Point riversiders are premiers defeating Griffith by 4 points. Nash departs for Geelong.
1935: In a effort to improve the standard of football, Griffith link up with Leeton and Narrandera. Former Essendon forward Len Johnson appointed Griffith coach, recruited from North Melbourne. Narrandera East beat Griffith in semi-final. Alf Anstee wins LDFA best and fairest. Leeton win flag.
1936: Griffith sign VFL nomad, Norman Le Brun from Carlton and he proves to be an outstanding leader. Wayward shooting for goal cost Griffith a grand final place. Fivebough win flag.
1937: Brilliant rover Alf Anstee appointed Griffith captain but are defeated in preliminary final to the eventual premiers, Fivebough. Snowy Thompson wins club best and fairest.
1938: Griffith move to Showground. Griffith lose their first six games but go on an eight game unbeaten run. Alf Anstee and Eddie Forrestal star as Griffith beat Narrandera in grand final, 6.10.(46) to 4.5.(29). Bob Hutchins wins club best and fairest.
1939: SWDFL reforms after two year absence and Griffith joins. 18 year old Len Hustler from Collingwood seconds appointed coach but last's only three matches before being suspended 12 months for kicking Ganmain's Roy McPherson. Fred Savage takes over the captaincy. Leeton wins flag.
1940: Griffith again finish in fifth place. Ganmain coached by Norman Le Brun wins flag.
1941: SWDFL goes into recess. Griffith joins LDFA and finish in second place but lose both finals games. Leeton wins flag. LDFA goes into recess.
1944: Norman Le Brun killed in New Guinea by Japanese sniper.
1945: Victory over Japan. Football matches re-commence in Griffith district.
1946: SWDFL football commences with seven clubs after a five season break. Griffith captained by Ben Clarke finish in sixth position.
1947: SWDFL switch to Sunday football. Ganmain leaves for Wagga League. North Melbourne player Geoff Willis was appointed captain coach at £10 a week. Griffith lose narrowly to Coolamon in preliminary final.
1948: Ladies Auxilary formed. Geoff Willis wins initial SWDFL best and fairest Gammage Medal.
1949: Ganmain return to SWDFL. Fred Clarke represents N.S.W. against Victoria. Griffith finish minor premiers under Roy Watterston but lose both final matches.
1950: Former Carlton great, Keith Shea from North Albury was appointed captain coach, were runners up to Ganmain, losing the Grand Final by 32 points.
1951: Former Corowa and N.S.W state player Ken Hansen was appointed captain coach. He fractures hand mid season and team finish in fifth place. Life membership presented to Jack Wood for long service to Club. Players presented with blazers and fountain pens, thanks to Ladies Auxiliary.
1952: Captain coach Tom Roulent inspires Griffith to their first SWDFL premiership at the expense of Whitton,12.15.(87) to 6.12.(48). Jack Luhrs judged best player in grand final by umpire.
1953: Ariah Park-Mirrool joins SWDFL. Griffith enters finals race after fourth place play-off with Grong Grong-Matong.
1954: Ardlethan joins SWDFL. Tom Roulent leaves club at end of the season.
1955: VFL umpires introduced for SWDFL home and away fixtures. West Perth's Wally Price appointed captain coach and he proves a fine mentor of young men.
1956: Turvey Park admitted to SWDFL. First football broadcast on radio 2RG with commentators Jack Luhrs and Dick Bitcon. Griffith unable to avoid wooden spoon in wettest football season on record.
1957: Former Richmond and Port Melbourne forward Tom Allen signs for two seasons as captain coach. Vic Hathaway wins Gammage Medal.
1958: Centenary season of Australian Rules Football. Griffith slip down to nineth place.
1959: Griffith sign South Melbourne ruckman Don Keyter as captain coach at £35 a week. 1956 Brownlow Medallist, Peter Box deemed too good after winning Gammage Medal. League officials decide coaches will be ineligible.
1960: Don Keyter playing for the SWDFL wins a month supply of milk shakes for beating Collingwood's giant Graeme Fellowes for the first ruck hitout of the game. Application from Wagga, Temora and Barellan to join SWDFL for 1961 was rejected.
1961: Griffith president Dick Bitcon propose SWDFL change their name to Riverina League. Len Sexton appointed captain coach. Last season at the Griffith Showground. Vic Hathaway wins Gammage Medal for a second time. Griffith make finals for first time in eight seasons.
1962: Ex-Servicemen's Oval becomes the clubs new home ground. Len Sexton turns on an 11 goal blitz in season opener. Over 200 angry Griffith fans hurl abuse and balls of mud towards VFL umpire Jack Gray after a heavy home loss on July 22.
1963: Fred Mundy takes over the reigns and proves a mean leader. SWDFL defeat Ovens & Murray in VCFL boilover of the century at Albury. Griffith are represented by Len Sexton and Bob Spears.
1964: Former Richmond rover Peter Morris arrives, heralding the most successful period in the clubs history. SWDFL defeat Hampden in VCFL Caltex Championship Final at Narrandera. Griffith are represented by Peter Morris, Len Sexton, Bill Biron and Vic Hathaway. Len Sexton writes his name into SWDFL record books by winning Gammage Medal with 38 votes. Ganmain's Tom Carroll steals grand final from Griffith with a goal, seconds from full time.
1965: Thirds competition begins. Griffith appoint Kevin Kirkpatrick 21, a "tough as teak" footballer from Geelong as leader. Make grand final but are out gunned in unseasonal hot weather conditions by bogey team, Ganmain.
1966: Griffith, again reach grand final but were beaten, this time, by their old rivals Narrandera.
1967: Kirkpatrick stands down as skipper after missing semi-final loss to Ganmain. Sid Robins invited by Hawthorn to attend pre-season training.
1968: Former Camberwell (VFA) prolific goal kicker Ron O'Neill appointed captain coach after first choice applicant Peter Lyon signs for Kyabram. "Gelignite" Ron O'Neill kicks nine goals at Gissing Oval and becomes the first Swans player to boot 100 goals in a season. Griffith go on an unbeaten run of thirteen games and claim their second SWDFL premiership, beating Ariah Park-Mirrool. New clubroom's opened on November 10 at a cost of over $20k.
1969: Three late goals in time-on and a lop-sided free kick count favouring Ganmain deny Griffith certain victory and a clean sweep of premiership wins in all three grades.
1970: Doug Prior replaces O'Neill as coach. Griffith are denied another grand final appearance by a dubious goal umpiring call in preliminary final. Bad day for the Swans as they become the first club to go down in all three grades in finals matches.
1971: Ron Russell (ex. Sunshine, VFA) surpasses all club expectations as he guides his team of young local products to a grand final. Valiant Griffith go down but not without a fight against Leeton's team of imports.
1972: Bruce Forbes represents N.S.W. against Queensland. Sid Robins caps off a great year by taking out the League's Gammage Medal and Club best/fairest awards, the latter for a fourth successive season. Ron Russell's team finish runners-up to Narrandera. Stalwart club secretary and Advocate football/cricket journalist, Neil Griggs dies, aged 58 years.
1973: Trevor Miller succeeds Ron Russell as captain coach. Swans sign Ralph Todd as assistant coach. Wayne 'Chummy' Robins 22, brother of Sid and Ralph is instantly killed when struck by a semi-trailer while working behind Allan Bros "hot mix" truck, 24 miles north of Albury. Swans finish minor premiers but crash out in finals. Suspended reserves coach Bob Spears looks on as his team led by Roy Agresta take out the flag. Letters of protest received over proposed sale of clubhouse.
1974: N.S.W State player and committeeman Bruce Forbes walks out on club after tendering his resignation on April 21. Griffith finish in second place then lose both finals matches. Clubhouse in Gunbar Street sold in November for $12,500.
1975: Griffith sign Cylone Tracy survivors Bob McKenzie, John "Bubba" Tye and Arch Wilkey as assistant coaches. Swans fail to live up to expectations and are knocked out in first semi final. Garry Gardner coached thirds go through season undefeated.
1976: New coach Bob Greenwood arrives in time for the start of the season as the club looks to rebuild. The Swans finish in seventh place and miss the finals for the first time in thirteen years. Bill Tyndall reserves go through the season undefeated.
1977: Woodville's Garry Smart and the Vickery brothers recruited. Trevor Miller returns after one season coaching Mildura. Grand final appearance eludes Swans despite John Vickery 9 goal semi final heroics.
1978: Bob Greenwood is replaced by O&M Morris Medallist Alan "Bluey" Way as Swans captain-coach. Greenwood stays on as assistant coach. Swans lose in first semi final to eventual premiers, Leeton. Kevin Kirkpatrick coaches reserves to a flag.
1979: Ariah Park-Mirrool slam home 30 goals as wine festival hang over takes toll on Swans in season opener. Whitton Tigers leave South West League two games into the season with victory over Ganmain. Club committee support embattled Swans coach, Peter Matuska after several Darwin recruits depart five rounds into the season.
1980: One of Swans favourite sons, Kevin Kirkpatrick promoted to non-playing coach. Griffith finish the season in a disappointing last place. Sid Robins calls it a day after making a record 317 first team appearances for the club.
1981: Cootamundra admitted to League. Grant Luhrs wins the very last Gammage medal awarded. Griffith are badly beaten by Narrandera in minor semi final. Narrandera continue on their merry way and defeat Ariah Park-Mirrool in SWDFL's last grand final.