Swans set to soar

Australian football

SWANS great Mick Duncan has won his seventh club best and fairest award – but he’d trade them all in for a premiership in a heartbeat.

The silky-smooth midfielder collected the accolade at Griffith’s presentation night on Saturday at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club, finishing ahead of 2013 captain-coach Guy Orton, who was the runner-up.

It was Duncan’s fourth best and fairest award in a row, and also the ninth consecutive occasion he has finished inside the top three, having also won it in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

But while happy with his own form this season, it won’t hide his disappointment with how a promising year for the Swans quickly turned into disaster as an unprecedented injury crisis took hold.

Duncan was one of just three Swans players, along with Dean Crack and Tom West, to have played every RFL match for the club this year – a statistic which speaks volumes about Griffith’s year from hell.

“I think we used something like 44 players in the first grade side. When you’re chopping and changing the team every week you can’t settle down and do anything,” he said.

“Personally, I had an injury-free year so I was pretty happy. 

“My form was OK but from a footy point of view, it was disappointing. 

“It wasn’t that blokes weren’t trying, it was just injuries that ruined it.

“Basically by mid-year our season was over by weight of long-term injuries. There’s not a lot you can do.’

The Swans have already announced Brandon Mathews as new coach for next year, with star man Orton penning a two-year contract extension.

Orton is currently playing for Northern Territory Football League side St Marys and is understood to be scouting for players to bring back to Griffith with him.

Duncan said the Swans only need “two or three” more additions – and a bit of luck with injuries – to become key players in the 2014 RFL premiership.

“It was said by half a dozen people on the night –next year’s our 100th and everyone’s prepared to work hard over the off-season to make it a memorable year for the footy club,” he said.

“I reckon if training started next week, the majority of blokes would be there. That’s how keen we are.”

Award winners

Football

First grade

Best & Fairest: Mick Duncan

Runner-up: Guy Orton

Most Improved: James Taylor

Most Goals Kicked: James Toscan

Best Utility (Ferg King Memorial): James Toscan

Coach’s Award: Tom West

Reserve grade

Best & Fairest: John Evans

Runner-up: Kim Farrell/Dave Dunbar

Most Improved: Chris Milojevic

Most Goals Kicked: Justin Wade

Most Conscientious Player (Neville Gardiner Memorial Shield): Mitchell Robinson

Best Finals Player: Chris Niven

Coach’s Award: Keiran Hume

Under 17s

Best & Fairest: Riley Holland

Runner-up: Keiran Ruyg

Most Improved: Hugo Diaz

Best Utility: Dillon Evans

Most Goals Kicked (Brian Files Memorial): Brad Moore

Most Promising Player (Ronnie Williams Memorial): Jordan Burley

Encouragement Award (Fred Owen Memorial Shield): Jamie Thornton

Coach’s Award: Ben Lewis

Netball

A grade

Best & Fairest: Peta Larkin

Players’ Player: Anna Korovata

Coach’s Award: Maddie Testoni

A reserve grade

Best & Fairest: Tennille Scott

Players’ Player: Hannah Dodd

Coach’s Award: Maddie Aird

B grade

Best & Fairest: Maddie Robinson

Players’ Player: Daisy Tyrell

Coach’s Award: Georgia Campbell

C grade

Best & Fairest: Tania Bailey

Players’ Player: Taylor Chambers

Coach’s Award: Caprice Centofanti

Special awards

Most Conscientious Player/Clubperson (Netball): Caprice Centofanti

Most Conscientious Player/Clubperson (Football - Joan Hicks Memorial): Jono Gastin/Dean Catanzariti

Most Conscientious Player/Clubperson (Bill Simmons): Mary Fuller

100 game milestone: Dean Crack, Matt Crack, Jono Gastin

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