Changing Guard

Few teams know just how fleeting success can be than Griffith.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Swans lifted Riverina League silverware in September.

After coming up empty handed after Grand Final appearances in 2018 and 2019, the Swans are now staring down the barrel of a rebuild, with a trophy cabinet still waiting for its latest addition.

While current coach Greg Dreyer wasn’t at the helm during those impressive pre-pandemic seasons, he believes the clubs situation serves as a valuable lesson to their young players.

“It’s a good lesson for everyone to make the most of the chances they have,” Dreyer said.

We went a long period where we didn’t make finals and it took a lot of hard work to get the club back to that grand final stage and then in the space of a year we’re back to starting again.”

With just one win to their name and disappointing losses to Leeton-Whitton and Turvey Park in the past two weeks, Dreyer admits they’ve reached the difficult realisation that the dreaded ‘rebuild’ has already begun.

“Turvey were a bottom three side at the time and Leeton-Whitton were at the bottom with us so it’s undoubtedly a really disappointing couple of weeks for us,” he said

We’re definitely in a rebuild and a bit of patience is going to be involved. It can be hard to focus on the process and what you’re supposed to do and not watch the scoreboard but that’s just what we have to do”

Griffith is one of a handful of Riverina League teams coming off a year on the pine due to the COVID-19, and the coach believes they’re paying the price for a disjointed season the likes of which they’ll never see again.

“It was a big shock when we came back, starting the pre-season at a low base given we had the year off and combined with your youth and inexperience, it was a real battle to get us up to speed.

It will be really good to enter a pre-season with a bit of a foundation to work from and collectively I think we’re all really looking forward to that.”

But with adversity comes opportunity.

Henry Delves, the Powell boys, Jack and Tom as well as co-coach James Toscan have been shining lights but left to their own devices much of the year, but green shoots are appearing in the Swans young playing group.

“Blokes like Kahlan Spencer, Taine Moraschi, Jay Summers, Oliver Bartter are really starting to look more comfortable in the top grade despite being just around that 17 and 18 year mark.

You can’t fault their effort, it’s just their decision making under pressure but that will no doubt improve with time which is very exciting for them and us as a club.”

The future leaders of the club now tasked with their biggest challenge yet as they look to bounce back and set the platform for next year against the league’s best side, Mangoplah.

“They were easily the best side we’ve played.

That was the only game that our opponent genuinely flogged us. Every other game we’ve been competitive for a half or so but Mango sorted us out straight away and we were never in it.

We’ve had two pretty bad ones in a row and now we get the chance to respond against the best team in the competition.”